It's finally cooled down and the air quality, while not good, is much better. Yesterday was the first day that actually felt like fall to me here in coastal Southern California. We're expecting temperatures to rise again starting Sunday but, for now, I'm taking advantage of the improved conditions to get started on some garden projects. Two trees are slated for removal and others are to be trimmed on October 29th but I felt I could get a bit of work done on my front slope even before the tree service crew troops in.
The initial focus of my attention was the south end of the moderate front slope across from my lath (shade) house. It hasn't looked great for some time but a den set up by a gopher earlier this year at the slope's base made things worse, which finally pressed me into action. My husband actually kicked things off when, just before the last heatwave, he decided to remove the three 'Mutabilis' rose shrubs I'd been talking about taking out for months.
|This photo was taken shortly after the roses were dug up but their absence isn't all that noticeable|
|The roses, which came with the house, had never done well. The photo on the left shows two of the shrubs (one nearly dead) before they were removed and the photo on the right shows the emptied space.|
The day before yesterday, I started removing masses of dormant Aeonium arboreum from the area, as well as the Honey Euryops (Euryops virgineus) that partially hid the gopher's den.
|The Euryops had grown too large for this spot and in any case I couldn't do anything to clean up the mess the gopher had made without removing it. I took cuttings of the plant in the hope of getting viable plants to put elsewhere or give away.|
|At one time there was a fairly neat mound outside the gopher's den but I flattened it considerably since I started working in the area. The photo on the right shows the tidy opening the gopher had made.|
There's still a lot to do before I'll be ready to replant the area. I have to dismantle the portion of the dry-stack curb the gopher tore apart and refill his hidey-hole with the dirt he excavated. I'll also try to remove still more of the asparagus fern roots that riddle the area. Then I plan to create flatter planting areas using the rock we saved after dismantling the indoor barbecue in our dining room during last year's home remodel. That may be the toughest step as the rock we have isn't ideal - I'm hoping I can break some of it into smaller pieces. When that's done, I'll add some planting mix and/or compost and replant.
I've got a few ideas in mind for replanting the area but I'm not hurrying the plant selection process.
In the meantime, I'm happier having a cleaner slate.
|The photo on the left shows the area as I photographed it for my October 2nd wide shots post. The photo on the right shows it when I completed my initial cleanup yesterday.|
I'm sure I can find a few other things to take care of before the heat returns and the tree service arrives. Best wishes for a pleasant weekend of gardening to all!
All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party