Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Tell the Truth Tuesday (Late Edition)

Some years ago, Alison of Bonney Lassie called on garden bloggers to fess up about the messes in their gardens.  She presented her own in posts entitled "Tell the Truth Tuesday."  In midsummer, in an especially dry year, I have plenty in my garden to which I'd like to turn a blind eye, the window boxes attached to my lath house among them.

Here's what they looked like last week after I pulled out the dead plants:

Box #1: In the end, the 'Evening Glow' Coprosmas were the only plants really worth saving

Box #2: I cut the Coprosmas back and transplanted them in other areas of the garden.  They might survive.

Tempting as it was to add fluffy flowering plants, with water at a premium in drought-stricken California, I thought I should use something that doesn't need water two or more times a week to survive the heat in a small box.  Our last water bill shook me up as the total expense was much higher than I'd expected.  My husband dug below the total to determine that, while our usage this period somewhat exceeded that we used over the same period last year, it was on par with what we used in July 2020.  That said, the cost of the same amount of water is now nearly twice what it was last year.  While I feel slightly better to learn that I hadn't actually gone completely overboard with my water use, it still has me thinking twice about what I plant.

So here are my replanted window boxes:

The boxes are filled with identical succulent plants

They get sun at different times of the day

Here's what I used:

Clockwise from the upper left: Echeveria scheideckeri (aka jeweled crown, a hybrid of Pachyphytum bracteosum and Echeveria secunda), Echeveria shaviana (aka Mexican hens), Crassula swaziensis 'Money Maker', and Senecio radicans 'String of Bananas' (now formally classified as part of the genus Curio, which appears to include a number of plants formerly classified as Senecio)

I'm guessing that more and more succulents are going to creep into my garden in the coming year as our water challenges continue.  Last week the federal government issued the first restrictions on use of water from the Colorado River.  Arizona farmers will be the first group directly impacted but this will effect Southern California all too soon if drought conditions continue.


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

27 comments:

  1. Your renovated window boxes look beautiful. I particularly like the silver color of Echeveria scheideckeri that will highlight the window box plantings from a distance. It is not easy for me to use the genus name Curio instead of Senecio.

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    1. I don't think all Senecios are now Curio but a lot of them are. That includes my new plant crush, Senecio/Curio ficoides 'Mount Everest'.

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  2. I also love the concept of “To Tell the Truth on Tuesday.” I have many examples.

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    1. Yes, it was a good meme. Alison has stopped blogging but hopefully she'll return someday. She has a great garden and a wonderful sense of humor.

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  3. Not only will you be saving water, you will not be working as hard to maintain the boxes. Flowering plants need constant attention. A spent bloom is an eye sore and dead-heading is constantly needed. I think the succulent-filled boxes look splendid: gently contrasting shape and color... just a fresh bright sight. I love it.

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    1. Thanks! I was afraid it looked a little flat (in shape) but I'm hoping some of those plants gain a bit more height in time.

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  4. "Tell the Truth Tuesday"--I like that idea! Your window boxes look great. More and more drought-tolerant native plants are finding their way into my garden, too. We aren't as dry as you are (and we have massive rains sometimes, too). But the native prairie and woodland plants seem to handle the extremes better than some of the shallow-rooted, traditional garden plants. I'll save those for pots near the house. ;-)

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    1. I'm trying to do a better job segregating plants based on their water needs myself, Beth. At this point I plan to keep the generally thirsty plants in my cutting garden but I'll halt my experiments with moving some of those (e.g. dahlias) into my borders.

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  5. Shocking that the cost of water has doubled, ouch! Your new box looks beautiful and won't drink so much– thank goodness for succulents!

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    1. My first thought when we received that water bill was that we might have another pin-hole leak. I need to pay more attention to the CCF volume per month than the bill total as I expect the latter will continue to climb as the water problems worsen.

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  6. I think the boxes look great, Kris. I miss Alison's blog. I always thought that was a great name for those posts.

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  7. I agree with everyone else, the new improved window boxes look beautiful. In our cool climate I make all sorts of arrangements with succulents as they require almost no care. The downside is I have to make hard decisions about who gets to come indoors for the winter.

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    1. I'm lucky not to have to worry about toting our succulents indoors or placing them under cover. I've seen what Loree of dangergarden goes through each year.

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  8. Planting window boxes with succulents is not something I've seen very often, if at all - such an awesome idea...and they look great!

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  9. I have been reading about the drought out your way. It is a frightening event. I wonder if it is possible to recover from this climatic event. Our world is changing. Your choices to replant the posts are good. I think they are pretty toghther.

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    1. I suspect that any recovery, if even possible, will take eons rather than months or years, Lisa. I was unnerved when California lifted its 2015 water restrictions as I knew one good year of rain wasn't a cure.

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  10. I heard about those Colorado River restrictions. Ugh... here it comes... For what it's worth, I think you work wonders with succulents as well as perennials, and your new box planting shows it. It's beautiful!

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    1. I believe this is the first time access to Colorado River water has been restricted like that. It's definitely not a very good sign of things to come.

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  11. Your new boxes are fabulous Kris, and water responsible. You're so lucky that good looking succulents like those are hardy in your area.

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    1. As the two boxes receive differing amounts of sun, it'll be interesting to see if one fares better than the other.

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  12. I like the (flat) tapestry effect, with colours and textures.

    Senecio to Curio I think is mostly these succulenty ones, which are so different to the ragweed daisies which are staying Senecio.

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    1. Thanks for the clarification of the Senecio-Curio classification, Diana.

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  13. New planter looks excellent.

    Lucky that Arizona had an excellent monsoonal season, for the benefit of the native plants and wildlife, if not the corporate farms.

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    1. I'm saddened that we got increased humidity as a product of that monsoon season without any real rain. Dare we hope for heavy rains here this winter (even at the risk of flooding and mudslides)?

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