Friday, October 2, 2020

Wide Shots - October 2020

I've been conducting a quarterly big-picture overview of my garden for some time now but taking photos during a heatwave when the garden is dry and tired wasn't easy to get excited about.  Still, as the removal of two trees, one dead and one nearly so, is pending it's a useful time to take stock so, starting with the back garden, here we go.

This is the view from the north end of the house looking in the direction of the back patio.  I cut a Melianthus major below the Arbutus 'Marina' on the left down to the ground last week because it looked dreadful and it would've been trampled anyway when the Arbutus gets trimmed later this month.  The mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin) to the left of the patio will be taken out at the same time.  I'm hoping to plant another tree in the same general area but that'll require major changes to the panting areas surrounding the patio.

This is a view of the same area looking in the other direction.  The mimosa tree is just outside the frame on the right.

I cleaned up most of the dried up aster (Symphyotrichum chilense) stems in the area surrounding the fountain but I still need to do something to corral the plant's rampant rhizomes.  I'd also like to remove the Liriope spicata to the right of the fountain but then I've been talking about that project for a few years now.

View from the patio looking south: There's a large bare area in front of Callistemon in the mid-section of the area on the left (outside the view of this photo).  I have a pink-flowered Ceanothus slated for that area but I need to juggle some of the existing plants before it goes into the ground.

This view of the back garden from its south end shows the mimosa tree slated for removal in the distance.  I tried to save it two years ago by removing the front part of the tree that had been damaged by shot-hole borers.  Other major branches died back this year and now the remaining trunk is caving in on itself.

Continuing clockwise around the house, next up is the south side garden.

This is the south side garden from the east end looking west.  I need to replace the Zinnias I planted as temporary color in the bed on the right with something yet to be determined.  I'm thinking of a shrub, possibly another Leucospermum.

This is the view from the small patio off the house on the south side looking at the succulent bed on the right.  The tree-sized toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) in the background on the right is dead, probably killed off by the same pathogen that causes sudden oak death.  It'll be coming out but because of where it sits atop a steep slope overlooking a neighbor's property I can't have the stump ground out, which means I can't plant another tree there unless I move other plants out of the way.

View looking at the south side garden from the south end of the front garden

Continuing in a clockwise direction around the house moves brings us through the main level of the front garden.

This area is looking a little jungle-like to me but I haven't decided whether I should cut anything back.  The Magnolia tree in the distance and the Arbutus outside photo's frame on the left will be thinned, which may be enough for now.

I'm planning to replant those wine barrels under the Magnolia soon and I may replace some of the wood mulch surrounding the tree with creeping thyme and other herbs.  Wood mulch is flammable and this area is right next to the house.

View from the driveway looking at the front door

A longer-range shot of the front garden taken from the garden area on the west side of the driveway

This is a view from the garden area on the northwest side of the driveway looking toward the house

This succulent bed is one of the areas I'm most unhappy with at present.  I generally start with the smallest plants available but this area looks so piecemeal to me I may need to consider either using larger succulents or adding gravel or non-succulents to knit things together (stealing the term from Loree Bohl's article in the current addition of Fine Gardening magazine).

On the other side of the garage we come to the cutting garden.

The dahlias are sprinting now but a lot of the top-heavy blooms have been taking nose dives during the current heatwave

Passing through the gate in the fence shown in the last photo brings us to the northeast side garden.  The gravel path through that area takes us down the back slope.

There's bare ground in this area that needs covering

View from the top of the slope looking down. The area to the left of the hedge on the left belongs to a neighbor.

I didn't actually venture down the back slope to take any photos as, after three rounds with the fire ants just this summer, I don't go down there without protection: long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and boots.  The best I can say of the area is that the ivy covering the steep upper area wasn't badly burned this year (although it may be looking worse after the current heatwave).  I was down there briefly last weekend and cleaned up most of the lemons that dropped from the tree following the last heatwave but the area in general is in need of a serious clean-up, which I'm putting off until it cools down again.

Back on the south end of the garden on the main level, I'll conclude this tour with the lower level of the front garden we skipped on our first run through.

View looking down from the main level of the garden to the area below surrounding my lath (shade) house:  It may not be readily evident but my husband recently removed three 'Mutabilis' roses from the slope below the path.  I intend to cleanup the area still further and add rock salvaged during last year's remodel before replanting the slope (after our annual tree trimming exercise).

View of the same area from the flat area adjacent to the street: The shrub front and center (Euryops virgineus) has to be pulled so I can repair the stacked wall area torn apart by a gopher when he constructed his den.  A lot of the succulents will also be torn out and replanted but that work is on hold until the Arbutus at the top of the slope has been pruned.

The Xylosma congestum shrubs added a few years ago to continue the hedge on the left have beefed up dramatically this year but I haven't yet filled in the spaces left following the removal of two bloomed-out agaves in 2019.  I'm planning to cleanup and replant this area during the cool season too.  The Agave 'Blue Flame' on the right is spilling into the street so I need to pull out the parent plant and let the pups take over.

I'm still waiting to hear back on the date for removal of the two trees but that'll probably happen sometime this month or early next month.  Five other trees and one cherry laurel hedge will be trimmed at the same time.  Once all the debris is cleared, then work on some of the projects I've mentioned will start in earnest.  By that time, hopefully temperatures will be cooler too.

Best wishes for a pleasant weekend.


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


20 comments:

  1. Sad about the trees but you gave it your best. Look forward to seeing what you decide to do in those areas. Your garden looks quite large. How big is it? Must admit to drooling in envy over your gorgeous clumps of aeoniums. Hope it cools down soon.

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    1. I'm already fretting about what to plant in the general area of the existing mimosa tree, Elaine, especially as my husband is layering my concerns with some stipulations of his own. Our lot is just over half an acre, which while not nearly as large as I once wanted, is a very good size by the norms of Los Angeles County. The variations in level make it look bigger still.

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  2. Thank you for the overall tour of your garden areas. It was a nice diversion for me as news regarding White House associated positive tests is continuing to grow. Although your garden is large, it looks well planned and well maintained. What you call your “jungle-like” area also looks wonderful to me. Adding gravel to your succulent bed sounds like a great idea. I look forward to seeing your plant for this area. As you know, I like the “Honey Euryops.” Will you propagate or get another Euryops virgineus? I wish you a fantastic weekend!

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    1. One of the reasons I haven't already dug up that honey euryops is that I'd like to take cuttings and I've been hesitant to start that with our temperatures still running so high. I'll be sure to pass along a rooted cutting or two to you if you'd like them. You know how big that plant can get but mine has been in the ground about 2.5 years so, with pruning, I think it can be kept on the smaller side ;)

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  3. Everywhere you look are beautiful gardens and wonderful views. Lovely Kris. You do a fantastic time of maintaining all of it. What I envy most is your lovely paver driveway. I'll take one of those please.

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    1. That driveway takes up a fair amount of what I'd prefer to use as garden space, Cindy, but, as my husband's truck doesn't fit in the garage and I have to back out my car without hitting it, I need all the maneuvering space I can get!

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  4. I always love your wide view posts, Kris– seeing all sections of your garden at once. It's great to see how the beds are maturing from when you planted them a few years back. You must be anxious about the collateral damage that is due to come from the tree removals. We're due to get a new roof in three weeks and while we'll be heading into dormancy, I'm still anxious about the possible damage that may occur. Needs must as a new roof is necessary!

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    1. Ugh! We had our roof redone last year during our remodel and cleaning up after that wasn't fun, Eliza. My tree service is very good and they try to avoid crushing stuff but it's still a lot of guys with big feet taking down big branches and stomping on fragile plants in the process. There's always collateral damage.

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    2. We put a second floor on our house 20 years ago, and I still have bad memories of the collateral damage. Plantings are now 20 years further along– ugh, is right! I may have to leave the premises during the two days they are working!

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    3. It is unnerving to watch your garden being trampled even when unintended. I hope you - and your garden - come through reasonably unscathed, Eliza!

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  5. Dry and sunburned or not, your garden looks great, every area being lovingly cared for and carefully designed, despite raccoons, ants, and summer's heat, Cooler weather will surely stimulate a new burst of beauty.

    With this morning's news, working to tamp down the Schadenfreude. Anxious for the Bidens.

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    1. You're better than I am in that you experienced schadenfreude, while I'm suspicious as to whether we're looking at another carefully crafted diversion strategy. It's sad when you can't entirely trust even news like this coming out of the White House.

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  6. Oh, thanks, I really needed this. I don't think I would mind the heat if I had that view--in fact, I know I wouldn't! I lived in So. Pasadena for a summer, and it was fabulous--no hotter than here in S. WI, and it felt better because it wasn't humid. 90s and dry is so much better than 80s and humid. In fact, if I had to pick another place to live besides my current location, it would probably be somewhere between LA and San Diego. Amazing part of the world. I'm so sad about the wildfires, though.

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    1. A friend of mine recently said she'd been unable to identify any area that didn't have its share of weather-related issues and disaster exposure, asserting, in short, that we need to accept the negatives with the positives here. However, my husband surprised me this week with an out of the blue statement that we might need to consider moving north, by which he meant the Puget Sound area. (His brother lives on Vashon Island.) Although we've talked about that off and on for decades, I was rattled by his pronouncement. Admittedly, climate change has made it both hotter and drier here, which is becoming increasingly challenging, but the northern climate also imposes limitations.

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  7. I enjoyed reading the bit about you not getting to a project you have mention several times. With your magnificent garden I am sure you are busy alll the time. I on the other hand am a rather lazy gardener. I always have plans not acted on. ha... Love seeing all your succulents. I am always amazed how large they are. Here they are usually small starts that never get very big before winter.

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    1. Even now, when so many activities have been side-lined, there's still only so much time available to work in the garden, and weather (and recently, air quality) also limits what's practical to tackle. Removing that Liriope spicata - which I knew I never should have planted in the first place! - always seems to get shuffled to the bottom of the list when things like cleaning up after tree removals shakes up the priorities.

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  8. When I see your pictures, everything looks so nice!
    You have bare soil without cover, gravel cover reduce evaporation.
    I have started to add mulch, wood chips, but you are not allowed to use it due to the risk of fire, I guess.
    Thank you for all the kind comments you make to me.
    Mariana

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    1. We are allowed to use wood chip mulch, Mariana, and I have done so in a variety of areas within my garden. However, with our increasing sensitivity to fire concerns, I am thinking of alternatives. Sadly, wildfires seem to be a permanent issue here.

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  9. I looked at your photo "Front_sucbed4R_20200930_c" and thought "oh that's beautiful!", then read your caption...this succulent bed is one of the areas I'm most unhappy with at present (and then I went on to read your lovely link to my FG story!). The huge Agave attenuatta and the arbutus bark carry that area for me, but I understand your frustration.

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    1. Well, the parts of that succulent bed you most like came with the garden, Loree, so I can take no credit for anything other than maintenance. The plants I've added are slower growers. I probably should just need patience as there was a time that the succulent bed on the south side was full of puny specimens too.

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