|This photo was taken around 2:30 yesterday afternoon as the marine layer was just beginning to lift. The longer the marine layer remains in place along the Southern California coast, the cooler the daytime temperatures we enjoy.|
One of the first things on my "to do" list was replanting a small pot on my south patio. The Aeonium that served as its centerpiece had bloomed out and the whole pot looked sad. It was a very simple project. Harvesting succulent cuttings to fill the container was the most time-consuming aspect.
|I collected 3 tiny pups of Mangave 'Jaguar' to start with and filled in with cuttings of Aeonium arboreum 'Velour', Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi', noID Aloes, and Hatiora salicornioides|
I also planted an empty pot with three succulents I picked up on my last trip to my local garden center.
|For once I stopped myself from stuffing the pot with a lot of extra plants. This palette consists of Crassula platyphylla, Graptosedum 'Vera Higgins', and Sedum rupestre 'Angelina'|
These projects led me to address the driftwood piece I decorated with succulent cuttings back in November 2017. It held up reasonably well for 2 years but I'd recently noticed that it had almost entirely fallen apart. As with the first succulent pot featured above, I relied heaving on Aeoniums to cover the driftwood.
While I was working on the driftwood piece in the area adjoining our garage, I decided it was time to remove a large sweet pea shrub (Polygala fruticosa) that had seeded itself in the succulent bed there.
|The Manfreda maculosa and noID Sedum in the pot were waterlogged during our rainy season but are looking good now and deserve attention|
In the same area, I removed several overgrown and damaged Aeonium arboreum along the path we use to haul our garbage bins out to the street for pick-up.
|I took cuttings from the plants I removed and simply stuck them in the soil. In time, they'll form clumps like that shown on the right.|
In the cutting garden on the other side of the garage, I bit the proverbial bullet and pulled out the last of the cool season flowers in my raised planters. With the Nigella, Orlaya grandiflora and larkspur (Consolida ajacis) gone, it looks rather bare now but there's lots of potential there.
|In addition to strawberries, I've squeezed two tomato plants ('Early Girl' and 'Sungold') and a pepper into pots|
Yesterday morning, while engaged in my ongoing battle with the resident gopher, I also cleaned up the overgrown plants that were eclipsing the agaves and other succulents in my garden on the south side of the house.
|In addition to some form of grass weed, I pulled masses of self-seeded alyssum and cut back the creeping blue-flowered Wahlenbergia 'Blue Cloud' by more than half|
While I'm pleased with the more streamlined look of the succulent bed on the right side in the photo above (if not with my progress in battling the gopher slowly moving through the bed on the left of the flagstone path), I'm alarmed at the appearance of the tree-sized shrub in the background. That's a toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), a California native and the City of Los Angeles' official plant.
|I can't recall ever seeing the toyon's leaves turn red like this. It's an evergreen shrub. It flowered as usual earlier in the year but whatever berries appeared to be developing seem to have shriveled. I'm hoping this was a response to the two very early heatwaves we had this year, and not a sign that the tree is dying. I found one article suggesting that this may be a natural response to stress shown by certain native California plants (as described here). The reddish foliage is more widespread than suggested in the article so I'll be watching the tree closely and will call an arborist if it shows further signs suggesting decline. It sits atop a steep slope overlooking a neighbor's driveway and removing it won't be easy.|
While the toyon isn't behaving as expected, I was pleased to notice a neighbor's Jacaranda in full bloom. My own dwarf 'Bonsai Blue' Jacaranda has failed to produce a single bloom but my neighbor's tree was doing what it should do in June.
|We have a peek-a-boo view of the flowering Jacaranda above and beyond our hedge (left). A short walk up the street got me a better view (right).|
I'll close on that note. Best wishes for pleasant weather to see you through the weekend.
All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party