Friday, March 26, 2021

Clean up on aisle five

On Monday afternoon, I headed down to the succulent bed on the front slope I partially replanted last year to tuck in three small plants I'd picked up during my last spin through my local garden center.  As I rounded the corner, I immediately noticed that something was off.  On closer examination, a task I thought would take a few minutes turned into something much more time-consuming.

Here's a look at the area of concern shown in a photo taken earlier this year:

I featured this combination of Aeonium arboreum, Aeonium 'Kiwi' and Crassula lycopodioides in a February post.  I liked it because the plants had knitted together so well.

Here's a photo taken shortly after I realized something had happened:

The sharp contrast of sun and shade makes this a poor photograph but it's the best I can offer to show what I saw when I first noticed the damaged Aeonium stems

As I pulled out broken Aeoniums, I recognized the damage couldn't be put right with a few well-placed pruning cuts.  I don't know what happened.  Maybe a raccoon jumped or fell out of the tree above?  Maybe a coyote chased a cat or a rabbit through the succulent bed?  I was just grateful there was no blood in evidence, nor any furry bodies to bury.

I'd cleared up this much before taking a break for lunch, already recognizing that I was going to need to take out more

This is just a sample of the broken stems.  I filled 5 plastic trugs with debris before I was done..

I took cuttings of the rosettes and stems that still looked presentable

By the time I got around to replanting, I'd pulled about half the succulents in the corner area.

This is the area after I was done cleaning it up.  I removed Aeoniums growing under the self-seeded white-flowered Osteospermum, as well as some that had obscured the Lomandra 'Platinum Beauty' on the upper right.

I replanted the area, using some of what I'd saved during the cleanup process, as well as fresh cuttings from other areas of the garden

Perhaps I should've pulled all the Aeoniums and started from scratch but even Aeoniums take awhile to bulk up so I left what still looked good and crossed my fingers that the new cuttings will fill out quickly to blend with the older plants. 

The photo on the left shows the front slope area I replanted in November.  The photo on the right shows the area as it looked on Wednesday evening after rehab of the corner area on the right. 

I've noticed that most of the cuttings I used when replanting this south end area of the front slope late last year are growing more quickly than the tiny succulents I purchased to flesh out the bed.  One notable exception is what I think is Sedeveria 'Fanfare'.

The growth of this Sedeveria has outpaced its cohorts.  I love its semi-spiraled shape too.

Other projects this past week included finishing up the interface between the back patio and the flagstone path.

I dug in the additional flagstones, removing more of the awful asparagus fern roots in the process.  This photo reveals the problem I have with self-seeded alyssum (Lobularia maritima) but I'm not going to do anything about that until the Ginkgo tree I've ordered is in place, at which time I can make a decision about what I want to grow beneath it.

I cleaned up this area, adding another Yucca 'Blue Boy' in the process.  I'll probably pull out the Aeonium 'Kiwi Verde' behind the new Yucca after that succulent finishes blooming, replanting from cuttings to give it a fresh start. 

I've already replanted the Aeonium 'Kiwi Verde' on the this side of the flagstone path using cuttings.  I also added plugs of creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum 'Elfin') between and around the newly laid flagstones.

I gave myself the gift of another Japanese maple last week and got that in the ground this week.  It seems happy thus far.

I've learned the hard way that Japanese maples require protection from the strong winds we routinely experience here.  I think this coral bark maple (Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku') should be well protected behind the hedge.  I have another of the same variety planted alongside the garage in my cutting garden area, which offers a similar exposure.

I have two more plant orders due to arrive within the next couple of days, which should keep me busy this weekend (if they actually arrive on schedule).  As I'm now considered fully immunized, I may put future mail orders on hold while I reacquaint myself with the garden centers I haven't visited in over a year.  I'm looking forward to a little retail plant shopping therapy.

Best wishes for a pleasant weekend.


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


28 comments:

  1. I'm sorry this happened, but your garden is still spectacular.

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    1. Thanks. I'm counting myself lucky that at least the destruction didn't involve some plant that's hard to replace :)

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  2. I was oohing and aahing when I saw the first photo you posted, only to be appalled by the mysterious damage. Looking on the bright side, you created a more harmonious area with what you planted in November; hopefully all the smallish plugs will mature together.
    Here is to a lot of retail plant shopping therapy!

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    1. It's funny that, even now, I'm nervous about wandering farther from home than the supermarket!

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  3. Oh, ouch, sorry about your damage, but love your post title. ;)
    At least your aeoniums root easily and will fill in eventually. "It's always something" in the garden, isn't it?
    Glad to hear you've attained 'immunity' and retail therapy seems like an apt reward. Have fun! :)

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    1. Yes, I suppose the critters couldn't have chosen a better place to wreak some havoc ;)

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  4. Congratulations on being fully immunized! Plant shopping will be fun and makes gardening a lot easier. Your title is clever, however, to have such beautiful large Aeoniums broken would be discouraging. Have the best weekend!

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    1. I found a country and western song with exactly that title and briefly considered adding a link to the song on my post but it was a story of unrequited love so it wasn't actually on point...

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  5. Five plastic trugs-ful! Wow. Yikes. But it looks great after all your work!

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    1. Those trugs were also very heavy to lug to the green bin, Beth. It surprises even me just how heavy water-filled succulents are.

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  6. I can’t imagine how horrible this must have been to see, you made quick work of cleaning it up though! Also I love that little sedeveria, that’s one I’ve never heard of!

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    1. I'm very happy with that Sedeveria, Loree. It's definitely worth looking for.

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  7. Well done, Kris. It was a lot of work but you will enjoy the payoff as things start taking off. Congratulations on your shots - I get my first one Monday if they have vaccine available. The reminder notice had warnings that an appointment does not guarantee vaccine.

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    1. I hope your vaccination process goes smoothly, Barbara. Mine was fine (after the frustration involved in securing a reservation) but my husband had a bump with his first shot (scheduled 3 hours after mine because that was how fast reservations were going when I made arrangements for the 2 of us). The pharmacy's computer system went down and the staff took 3 hours to figure out a workaround for him and the 5 other people then queued up. Thankfully, our second shots were uneventful.

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  8. Do you think the damage could have been from an errant deer strolling by? I have exactly 1 Aeonium in my front yard which is kept tightly pruned by the deer. btw - your rock wall in those shots is looking fantastic.

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    1. A deer in a garden here would probably make at least the local news, Hans. We have coyotes, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, possums, gophers, bunnies, and peacocks but no deer. Thanks for your kind remark about the rock wall - unfortunately, those are about the largest rocks I can manage.

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  9. Best post title of the year ! Any of your scenarios for the damage seem pretty plausible-succulents break so easily it wouldn't have to take much ! I sympathize with you re: sweet allysum. It was planted by the original owners of the house probably around 1984 and efforts to get rid of it have been futile.All I can do is keep thinning out it's ranks !

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    1. I never realized what a weed alyssum is until I moved here, Kathy. The seedlings on my back slope are even worse, despite my efforts to knock them back as soon as they began to appear. I keep trying to naturalize California poppies down there but the blasted alyssum seedlings choke out everything else.

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  10. ''Clean Up On Aisle Five'' pops up on my computer screen from time to time when I'm doing my weekly online supermarket shop when there is some sort of glitch so your post title had me intrigued 😂 What a shame about the damage Kris which I hope that your tender loving care and time heals. I made my first trip to a garden centre this week since 2019 which I really enjoyed. We thought that we would go before Easter when the garden centres over here always get extremely busy.

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    1. I've been lucky by comparison, Anna. My closest garden center (about 6 miles away) opened up in April 2020 after a closure of about one month and it's remained opened ever since. I stayed away when things were really bad from mid-December until March and I've never tarried when I visited but at least I had that opportunity. I haven't visited any of the several other "local" garden centers within an hour's drive, though. It's going to feel a little odd to return.

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  11. Oh, to leisurely stroll through a garden center - I can't wait! You did a wonderful job in getting that bed back into shape - it looks great. I once helped to repot a large asparagus fern when I was volunteering - that one experience was enough and pretty much turned me off ever owning one myself, lol!

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    1. Yes, as if the rampant bulbous roots of asparagus fern weren't bad enough, the darn plants also have wicked thorns!

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  12. Rotten varmints, they do cause havoc in the garden one way or the other. I think your refreshing the area is going to look smashing. (no pun intended)
    I have that Japanese Maple too. I think it is so pretty and it holds up well against my pruning and lack of attention. Great fall color. I thought about you when the news was showing the Port of Los Angels being clogged up with freighters. Have a great weekend.

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    1. Sadly, the Port of Los Angeles has been clogged with container ships for months now, Lisa. With COVID-19 rates coming down and vaccination rates picking up, I'd hoped the harbor backlog would be diminishing but there's little evidence of that yet. At least it's not a Suez Canal-type problem.

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  13. The creature who does the most damage in my garden is...me.

    Animals pratfall, too. Maybe a racoon teasing a cohort took a fall?

    Retail therapy...sounds fun!

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    1. The damage did suggest some kind of panicked activity, HB.

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  14. I've got tons of nursery flats deployed to protect emerging lilies and seedlings -- not a great look but it does help minimize damage. Usually when plants get big they're left alone here -- my vote is for something rampaging through that area in a panic.

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    1. I use overturned plastic flats extensively to protect seeds and seedlings too, Denise. I was considering removing them in one area until I had a couple of bunny sightings.

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