Wednesday, January 22, 2020

January Projects

After the holidays, I threw myself into cleaning up my garden, focusing first on pruning plants I'd allowed to get completely out of control during our remodel, as well as pulling plants too woody or beat up to prune into shape.  I spent so much time pruning (admittedly using tools too small for the purpose on occasion) it appears that I threw my right wrist out of whack.  I don't have a medical term to describe what I did but I'm seeing a doctor on Friday to get an assessment.

I haven't stopped work in the garden but I did shift my focus to tasks that put less strain on my wrist.  Having reduced the large shrubs adjacent to the patio on the south end of our house by more than half, I mulched the soil, pulled out scraggly succulents, and filled in with a mix of succulent cuttings and California poppy plugs.

Reducing the height of the "dwarf" Agonis flexuosa 'Nana' shrubs, means I can once again see the harbor while sitting on the south patio (not that I sit much).  Although I expect the shrubs will flesh out again within months, the area looks a bit bare to my eyes at the moment.  I may plant more California poppies to provide additional spring color.


Next, I tore apart an adjacent area that had been overrun with Bulbine frutescens to make room for a Leucospermum that had been languishing in a large pot.

Bulbine frutescens is a succulent groundcover that spreads by rhizomes to form large clumps.  I planted 3 yellow-flowering and 2 orange-flowering plants in 2014.  This is what they looked like last May, when they'd gotten completely out of control, swallowing everything around them.

Digging the clumps out wasn't hard but it took a good deal of time to remove all their roots to clear the area for the Leucospermum

This is about two-thirds of what I removed

I saved a small number of divisions of the orange Bulbine for use elsewhere in the garden

I dug up that sorry-looking 'Amazing Red' Phormium and added planting mix to the bed

Leucospermum 'Sunrise' didn't bloom last year in its pot near the front door in partial shade.  It'll get full sun in this spot and I hope to see some flowers next year, if not this year.


Yesterday, I freed another Leucospermum that wasn't living up to its potential from its pot and found it a new home in a sunnier location as well.

I cut back and moved some groundcover Lantana to make room for Leucospermum 'Spider' here along the front slope.  The planting is "cozier" in this area than is ideal but I'm going to allow the plants to sort things out among themselves for the time being.


My next project will be filling the two pots left empty at the entry to the house.

At present, I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to put in these 2 empty pots


I'm lucky.  Winter in coastal Southern California allows me to work in the garden almost without a break.   We're looking at a nice stretch of mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-60s over the next 10 days, perfect for working in the garden (as long as the doctor doesn't put me on the sidelines).  There's no rain in the forecast for the rest of January but then we can't have everything.


All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

24 comments:

  1. Good for you! It's looking great! You are doing EXACTLY what I should be doing out there. I did do some planting, so things are looking somewhat better, but I'm nowhere near done. And, I got some flagstone for Christmas, so there is that backbreaking work waiting for me, too. I can't wait, though - it will look sooooo much better once those are in!

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    1. Ugh! Moving flagstone isn't fun. I hope you have reinforcements lined up to help.

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  2. Looking forward to seeing your freshly planted pots.
    Are the doors new too?

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    1. No, the front door and side panels were there when we moved in, Diana. They're not exactly geared to the mid-century modern era of the house but I do love them.

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  3. All of this work and with a sore wrist. I really feel like a slackard. I hope your wrist is nothing serious. Gotta baby that part.
    I wish I could do some things in the garden. Our freeze and thaws don't make for easy winter projects. It is to get into the low 40's a few days before the temp drops. I might get something accomplished outside.
    Your view is outstanding. I can't wait to see what you plant in those pots.
    I really admire those firestick plants in your garden. They always catch my eye. I never see them so large and colorful here. Cheers.

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    1. I can't imagine working outside for long with temperatures in the low 40s, much less lower, Lisa! The Euphorbia 'Sticks on Fire" are flashy but I know they can easily get out of control in our climate. I've seriously seen them grow taller than the roof of a one-story house if left unattended.

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  4. You have been quite busy! Must feel good to get things done.
    Sounds like your wrist has tendonitis from repetitive motion strain, which I get often in season, usually from pruning. Rest and ice usually works for me, but the rest is tough to do when there is much on the to-do list. I wear a wrist compression wrap and magnets (from Nikken in Irvine) and that helps a lot. Hope it feels better soon!

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    1. Tendonitis or something in that vein was what I suspected, Eliza, but ice and rest (some rest, anyway) didn't make much difference this time. Then 2 of my friends brought up the possibility of rheumatoid arthritis, hence the doctor's appointment.

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  5. I have the orange bulbine, it is a lovely thing. Two empty pots? Oh dear Kris,you are just going to have to go out and buy some plants for them. Such a chore but it has to be done! Look after that wrist.

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    1. Despite the reference to spreading by rhizomes, I was surprised at just how dense the Bulbine can get in my climate. As to the empty pots, luckily, I have a nursery outing scheduled next week and another pilgrimage to Santa Barbara County scheduled a few weeks after that!

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  6. Oh dear, sorry about the wrist, but wow you've made progress! Have you ever had your garden on a public tour? It is so incredible. If the Fling is ever in L.A., I hope your garden will be featured. :)

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    1. No, I've never hosted a public tour - those aren't common in this area, Beth. There have been several conversations about a LA Fling but I'm not anticipating any movement on that score in the foreseeable future.

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  7. I so hope your wrist will be fine. I can't imagine with your ability to year round garden, not having your right hand at it's full potential. I am grateful that I broke my hand in the winter. It has affected my Etsy business, but not any gardening, which after all is the most important thing. I should be totally better by the time I need to start gardening. Please keep us posted and I wish you the best news and recovery.

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    1. Thanks Cindy! I'm taking comfort in the fact that it doesn't really hurt much - it just looks weird.

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  8. You have what I call 'Gardener's Syndrome' where you enthusiastically go gung-ho in the garden resulting in some kind of injury. Hopefully it just needs a bit of rest. Garden is looking great though.

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    1. It's really hard to rest at this time of year, Elaine, especially when I let so much go during our remodel. The best I can do is a day off here and there.

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  9. You've been busy! Yesterday we had measurable rainfall every hour, all day long. Ugh. I can't wait until I can get out there and get some work done. I hope you get good news on your wrist...nothing long term.

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    1. I can't imagine that much rain! The last storm passed us by entirely and it looks like the one on Sunday will as well. The doctor believes the wrist problem is a ganglion cyst. The best treatment is avoiding repetitive stress - *SIGH*

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  10. It's so nice seeing you work in your garden in January. I just keep gazing out the window contemplating spring, even through it's balmy in the 40'S!!! I hope your wrist is feeling better soon.

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    1. I don't think I even have a coat heavy enough to handle your "balmy" weather, Lee! Stay warm!

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  11. No idea Bulbine could spread so. Had one, it died of thirst.

    Hope all is okay with your wrist. My right(!) wrist was hurting pretty bad because of overuse to spare the squished fingers on the left hand, but it's feeling better lately.

    Enjoy the day, it's a gorgeous one.

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    1. The Bulbine was clearly all too happy in that particular spot, HB. I think it's growth exploded as a byproduct of last year's wonderful rain. We're in for an entire weekend of fantastic weather by the sound of it, although I'd be happier if that front expected to pass through on Sunday stopped here for awhile. Right now, it doesn't sound as though we'll get single drop of rain.

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  12. I always enjoy the feeling of satisfaction when I finally get a messy garden area cleaned up. If your wrist problem turns out to be tendonitis, you may want to check out tools designed to lower the strain of gardening on aging gardeners (e.g., Green Heron Tools: https://www.greenherontools.com/).

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    1. The doctor diagnosed a ganglion cyst yesterday, Jean. Managing repetitive stress is the key treatment. I actually have some ergonomic pruners but I still managed to overdo things. I need to learn to pace myself!

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