Although we haven't had any truly horrific heatwaves this summer, the very dry conditions have been hard on my garden. There are several areas in serious need of rehabilitation. When the temperatures have been tolerable outside, I've started chipping away at cleanup activities. I've got a lot more to do, especially in my back garden, but as I begin to contemplate what I should plant this fall to replace the dead and the dreadful, I thought it would be a good idea to supplement my Bloom Day assessment with a survey of my foliage plants.
Starting with the area facing the street, I identified a few standouts.
|Agave 'Blue Flame', cut back last year when it started spilling over into the street, has recovered from surgery and is actively producing new pups|
|The Agave colorata pup I planted last year took on a pretty pink blush (although one leaf, not visible from this angle, bears a scorch mark)|
|I had to include a photo of this dragonfly which remained perched on the tip of the Agave colorata for a long period, even as I bent in to snap photos. My best guess is that it's a Mexican amberwing but I'm by no means sure of that identification.|
|The two Agonis flexuosa (peppermint willows) flanking the street provide much needed shade for the front garden, although they could use a bit of trimming|
In the south end garden, I took note of the following:
|With the death and removal of the native Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) on the southern perimeter of the garden last October, this Aurunticarpa rhombifolium is thriving, providing at least partial screening of neighbors in the distance|
|I haven't quite decided whether I like the Dasylirion longissimum here but, as it'd be very hard to remove, it's likely to remain in place|
|I liked Graptopetalum 'Fred Ives' so much in this area, I ended up using it as edging all along the flagstone path in this area|
|In contrast to many of my Leucadendrons, 'Summer Red' has remained relatively compact|
The front garden is holding up fairly well. Although there's room for improvement here and there, here's what stood out as looking good:
|Tradescantia spathacea (aka Rhoeo ticolor or oyster plant) is new to me. I've found that it too can handle dry conditions, as well as both sun and shade. I'm considering using it more extensively as a ground cover in one dry shade area.|
The garden areas on the north side of the house are also doing well overall.
|Dahlia foliage isn't generally worth mentioning but I find the dark foliage of 'Waltzing Mathilda' particularly attractive|
|One of my oldest Mangaves, 'Lavender Lady' deserved mention|
|After severely pruning Psoralea pinnata in early summer, I worried that I'd butchered the tree-like shrub but it's recovered well|
My biggest issues of concern are in the back garden but of course there are foliage standouts there too.
|The Ginkgo tree had a difficult spell with the heat earlier this summer and it lost a lot of leaves at one point. I stepped up the water and the leaf drop stopped but it appears to be preparing for an early fall.|
|I cut back the two Leucadendrons shown here, 'Safari Sunset' and 'Devil's Blush', later than I should have this year but they've finally sprung back|
There are many issues to be addressed in the back garden. Here are two of them:
|A gardener, trying to be helpful, decided that the largest of my 'Bright Star' Yuccas needed a drastic trim and left it looking like this|
That's it for my foliage review. I'm looking forward to getting my hands dirty in the garden this weekend. Our temperatures are expected to remain on the cooler end of the summer spectrum through Sunday, before soaring again with the return of our Santa Ana winds on Monday. I hope you're able to enjoy pleasant weather this weekend too.
All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party