Friday, February 5, 2021

Odds and Ends

I don't know about you but I've had a horrible time concentrating on anything of late.  The political situation is calmer, albeit not without tension.  The Coronavirus news is still bleak, although the rate of new infections here finally seems to be falling.  I've spent all too much time online chasing down leads on vaccinations, only to have those searches come to nothing.  And, feeling like every departure from the safety of my home and garden contains more risk with new variants of the virus circulating, I've been foregoing all non-essential trips.  I haven't been to my local garden center since mid-December and, in addition to going stir-crazy, I'm out of even basic supplies like potting and planting mix.

Yesterday, I tackled a couple of small projects I thought I could handle with materials I had on hand.  I found a package of moss a friend had given me so I decided it was time to do something about the sad cat topiary the same friend gave me years ago.

The cat was decorated with a dozen or so succulents when my friend gave it to me and I'd added a few more but keeping the moss damp proved challenging and the succulents didn't last.  This is what it looked like after years standing unattended in one of my garden beds.

I took the wire frame apart, pulled out the old moss, and stuffed it as tightly as I could with new moss, thoroughly soaked, before rewiring the frame together

I thought stuffing the frame was the hard part but affixing succulent cuttings proved more difficult.  I used Aeonium 'Kiwi' and 'Kiwi Verde' cuttings I've saved when cleaning up my succulent beds.  I didn't have sufficient cuttings - or patience - to do more than you can see here.  My husband rolled his eyes when he saw my "finished" product.

After running out of patience with the topiary project, I turned to an easier project, replanting the hanging basket affixed to the screen on my south side patio.  I'd emptied the basket of its sad contents several weeks ago but I couldn't think what to plant there.  It occurred to me that the Mangave 'Bad Hair Day' I'd removed from the succulent bed in front of the garage might be happy there.  I have two other, healthier specimens of the same Mangave and this variety is definitely happier in a pot than in the ground.

The Mangave had experienced a infestation of woolly aphids when planted in the ground and hadn't received the water it wanted in its original spot.  I'm hoping it'll be happier here.  Without any potting soil, I refreshed what I already had in this basket with homemade compost.  I filled in with succulent cuttings while the Mangave (hopefully) fleshes out.

I cruised the garden this morning to check what's happening, toting my camera along and clicking photos between dead-heading and watering seedlings and other things that looked thirsty.  My irrigation system is off but, with very sandy soil, some plants need a liquid infusion even just ten days after a decent rainstorm.  In any case, here are the highlights of my ramble through the garden.

These Aeonium arboreum cuttings were green when I placed them here before the last rain.  Many Aeoniums develop a reddish color when stressed but I was surprised to see these turn first a pinkish lavender, a color I've never seen in an Aeonium, and then this burgundy red.

In my cutting garden, the Anemone coronaria 'The Bride' corms I planted in late November are finally coming up, bearing blooms with almost no stems.  I read that Anemones can take time to develop longer stems but I've never seen anything this extreme and, as cutting garden material, it's disappointing at present.

In contrast, Anemone coronaria 'Lord Lieutenant', purchased from the same company but shipped and planted weeks earlier, are much more satisfying

Arctotis 'Pink Sugar' already thinks its spring

For some reason, hellebores seem to bloom later here than they do in the UK or the Pacific Northwest - or perhaps it's just an aspect of the varieties that grow well here - but the first flowers have made an appearance at last.  This is Helleborus 'Red Lady'.

A couple of daylilies have made appearances as well.  This is Hemerocallis 'Russian Rhapsody'.

The Osteospermums have flourished since the return of cooler temperatures and a little rain.  This Osteospermum '4D Silver' stood out in part because of the way that the inner petals cast shadows on the outer petals.

The ornamental pear (Pyrus calleryana) never dropped all its leaves and is still dropping its annoying fruit but it's now covered in flowers that looked particularly pretty against our clear blue skies

There's no rain in sight and the weekend is expected to sunny, warm and dry, conditions I expect will make gardeners in much of the Northern Hemisphere envious.  While acknowledging my luck in the weather department, I still wish we had some rain in the forecast.  Our seasonal total (counting from October 1st) is just 2.74 inches, which is pitiful.  On the bright side, though, today I nabbed COVID-19 vaccine appointments for my husband and me for late next week!  Maybe that'll improve my focus and my outlook moving forward.

The rain brought out the moss that covers this dirt path every year.  How long it'll last will depend on how much more rain, if any, we get.

Whatever your weather, enjoy the weekend!


All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

26 comments:

  1. Hello Kris,
    I am a little jealous that you have so many beautiful flowers in the garden at the moment. The new decorated cat is gorgeous. It´s good that the figures of infected with Covid are going down in your part of the world. It´s wonderful to have a garden, special in times where we are going trough. I am gratefull every day that we can say my health is okay. All the shops are closed in Holland since 10th of december. The only thing I miss is the gardencentre. I don´t have to buy anything but it´s so wonderful to breath in the colors of the flowers of the plants and bulbs in bloom at this time of the year. Hope our time will come soon that things are going back to normal again.
    Stay safe!! and take care!!
    Marijke

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    1. I think I would have gone insane by now is I did not have my garden to work in, Marijke. Stores, including garden centers, are still open here but, since mid-December, the only places I have visited have been the grocery store and the post office. Hopefully, I will feel more free to move about once I get both vaccinations, which should be early March.

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  2. It looks like spring there. The pear tree is so pretty. Great job on the cat - I love it. I hope you can get a vaccination soon. It is difficult here as well.

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    1. Spring, or our version of it, does come early, Phillip! My first vaccination is current scheduled for late next week. If things go according to plan, I should get the second in early March. Just registering for the first dose feels like a major accomplishment.

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  3. Congrats on nabbing vaccine appointments. Here we are so far down the list that it probably won't be until September when we qualify to get ours. With all the hype re: the virus it's too easy to become paranoid about going out. Tough situation all around.

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    1. I've been much more paranoid since December than I'd ever been during the months before, although I've been very careful since our first lockdown in March. I'd begun thinking it was going to be late spring before my husband and I could get vaccinated here, even after California officially opened up to include more people. It's very frustrating and I hope the dam breaks and the supply of vaccine is available to you sooner rather than later, Elaine.

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  4. We do actually get our second shots this week! There is certainly at least one benefit to being "elderly"!! Love those anemones; I've never been able to grow them.I was actually out gardening...well, cleaning up.. today and oh it did feel good.

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    1. I didn't have much success growing anemones myself until I began planting them in my cutting garden, which gets more water and attention than the rest of my garden. Soaking the corms before planting them also helped a lot.

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  5. Keeping my fingers crossed for the cat, but just in case it doesn't survive I liked it empty, too. Think of it as a wire sculpture? Congratulations on the appointments - hope it all works out.

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    1. The cat essentially was a wire sculpture stuffed with desiccated moss for years, Barbara. I need to find a spot where it'll get watered by the irrigation system on a regular basis. I don't want to have to stuff it again anytime soon. As it is, I'm not sure how long it'll take for my fingernails to recover. Plastic gloves would have been a good idea!

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  6. Just realised I haven’t checked at all if Hellebores are already in bloom here, I’m sure they are. Hope things settle there soon and you’ll feel confident going out again. Looking forward to seeing how the Aeonium kitty looks like later in the year :)

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    1. Aeonium kitty will probably need a regular soaking to survive. I'm not counting on those succulent cuttings spreading on their own but maybe I'll add some more now and then when I'm feeling more patient.

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  7. I am happy to hear that you have an appointment for a vaccination. It made me feel better about the cv business. Waiting for the second jab is about as frustrating. I have to wait 4 weeks because I got the Moderna. That is ok really if it all works. I sure hope so.
    I like your car. Maybe you will get a second wind and fluff her up a bit more later. I have never had luck with those things. I like seeing your moss walk. Mine dried up to nothing this past summer. It looks spritely now. Amazing how that works.

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    1. The provider scheduled to give my first vaccination is also using the Moderna vaccine. Supposedly, we'll be scheduled for our second dose appointments when we receive our first shot. I hope that happens - some of the people I know who got their first doses early on also had a hard time scheduling their second shots but it seems to be running smoother now, at least as long as the supply chain works properly.

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    1. I told my husband some people liked the succulent-covered cat, Lisa. He rolled his eyes again ;)

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  9. Gosh, definitely looking like spring at your house, Kris. My heart leapt to see your daylily blooming, something we don't see until July!
    Just so you can feel even more appreciative of your good weather, tonight's low will be around 15F and 4-6" of snow expected tomorrow. In truth, I have been enjoying the cold this week, snowshoeing the trails in a balmy 25-35º weather. If you dress warmly, it really is wonderful!

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    1. I often get stray blooms on daylilies in winter for some reason - Hemerocallis 'For Pete's Sake' also had a bloom yesterday but I didn't get a good photo of it.

      I imagine that if I put on enough clothes to be comfortable in 25-35 degree weather, I'd be entirely round and unable to move. Theoretically, though, snowshoeing does sound like fun.

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  10. Concentration trouble here also. All the doomscrolling of the past year did damage.

    Your craftsmanship on the cat topiary is your usual meticulous perfection, but it looks like a cat who is extremely upset because someone glued Aeoniums onto her.

    Perhaps woolly thyme, instead??

    Great you got vaccine appointments! My neighbor when she got her first dose, they scheduled her 2nd appt while they were waiting to see if she had a reaction or not (she didn't). I think they are getting their organization in better shape.

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    1. I didn't glue the Aeoniums on the cat but rather stuck the stems into the moss, inserting more moss when necessary to hold the stem in. But the cat may not have liked being stuck either!

      Re the vaccine appointments, yes, I think things are getting smoother, although locating vaccination sites through the LA County portal can still be frustrating and time-consuming. Despite registering for alerts with various sources, I got my tip to try selected local pharmacies on the fly from friends.

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  11. Perhaps the cat would prefer - something smaller, furrier. The Aeonium leaves are lovely, but not 'cat'.

    With the South African variant, they now say we have to wait, till they get a more effective vaccine. Months longer?? Life goes on, very cautiously.

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    1. That's disappointing news on the vaccine, Diana. The word here is that the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine performed well in trials in South Africa. J&J is currently seeking emergency use authorization here. Maybe they'll do the same there?

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  12. Oh, the cat is cute! So many amazing, colorful blooms in your garden. 'Pink Sugar' is really special!

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    1. I love 'Pink Sugar', Beth - even though I can't use it in a vase because the flowers close in low light.

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  13. I love your new kitty. Knowing cats don't like water, I can just see you chasing it around the garden trying to keep it properly soaked and the Aeonium 'Kiwi' happy :-D
    You have so many blooms in the garden, it feels like a bloggers bloom day post!

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    1. You must not be used to my Bloom Day posts! I tend to go overboard...

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