Friday, October 22, 2021

Fall is the time to plant

In my part of the world, fall is the very best time to plant.  The soil is still warm but air temperatures are cooler so plants can develop good roots underground without getting stressed above ground.  Combined with the prospect of rain, conditions couldn't be better.  My area doesn't experience freezes so there's no risk in that regard. 

I've been on a plant buying spree.

This is what I brought home from Seaside Gardens last Saturday

and this is what I brought home from Terra Sol on the same trip

I've made a few trips to my local garden center too.  And I'm expecting a mail order delivery today as well.

There's plenty of space for my recent purchases and more to come since I cleared the native aster (Symphyotrichum chilense) and the Liriope spicata out of the bed extending from our backyard fountain.

Photo of the area cleared in late September

Many of the new plants went into the bed shown in the foreground of the above photo (on the west side of the flagstone path).

I'm going for a blue and white mix with a touch of yellow in this area but there's a lot of space yet to fill

The preexisting plants in this area include blue-flowered dwarf Jacaranda 'Bonsai Blue', Barleria obtusa (just now beginning its annual bloom cycle), and Echium webbii.  The Coleonema pulchellum 'Sunset Gold' develops small pink flowers but its foliage is chartreuse year-round.  Achillea 'Moonshine' bears yellow flowers from late spring through early summer.

New plants, top row: Agave attenuata 'Ray of Light' (2) and Lomandra 'Platinum Beauty' (3)
Middle row: Hybrid Salvias 'White Flame' (7) and 'Mysty' (3)
Bottom row: Cistus 'Little Miss Sunshine' (2) and a still unidentified plant I picked up on a whim (3)

I hope the unidentified plant doesn't turn out to be a weed!  I like its growth habit and bees love it.  Many Salvias don't do well for me but Salvia 'Mystic Spires' has been an exception and, like that plant, Salvias 'White Flame' and 'Mysty' are both hybrids of Salvia longspicata x farinacea so I have high hopes for them.  The agaves will take time to develop in size but the Lomanda 'Platinum Beauty' should reach mature size relatively quickly.

These are the Lomandra 'Platinum Beauty' I have growing in the front garden after just over 2 years in the ground

I continue to cut back and tear out plants in the back border on the east side of the flagstone path.

This area has always had mostly blue, purple and pink flowering plants.  That color scheme will probably continue, albeit with a different, more drought-tolerant mix of plants.

Just this week, I've removed the Echium handiense 'Pride of Fuerteventura' I'd planted in 2016.

This Echium is native to the Canary Islands and it has much longer bloom period than other Echiums in my experience; however, it got just too big for its spot at the front of the border and very woody.  The photo on the left was taken in February and the photo on the right was taken this week.

Having had surprising success with cuttings of Echium handiense last year, I took  more before we dug out the parent plant.  (The cuttings on the right came from a lanky Pseuderanthem 'Texas Tri-star' which I haven't previously succeeded in propagating but I'm trying again.)

This is one of my Echium handiense seedlings from last year.  Planted in an exceptionally dry area in my street-side succulent bed, it's already grown a foot tall and wide with very little supplemental water.

I dug up a large sweet pea shrub (Polygala myrtifolia) too.

This photo was taken in May.  The plant looked a lot worse in October and it'd also grown too large for its spot at the front of the border.  While it's pretty in bloom, it also proliferates like a weed.  It's out but its progeny is doing fine in another area.

Two plants from last weekend's shopping trip went into the vacated spots.

Westringia fruicosa 'Morning Light' (left, aka Australian rosemary) filled the spot previously held by Echium handiense.  It grows about 3 feet tall and wide and produces small white flowers.  Grevillea 'Pink Midget' (right) filled the spot previously occupied by the sweet pea shrub.  The Grevillea should grow no more than 2 feet tall but has a spread of 4-6 feet.  It has tiny mauve pink flowers very similar to those of Grevillea sericea.


I'm also looking to order some more plants by mail to help fill in more of the east border, notably Melinus nerviglumis.

Also known as ruby grass, this plant (shown here in my north side garden) stays a manageable size and looks good in and out of bloom

Other purchases were popped into areas elsewhere in the garden.

Correa reflexa 'Cape Nelson' found a spot in an area where the backyard border merges into the south side garden.  Having lost one Correa this summer, I couldn't resist this one.

Mahonia 'Soft Caress' found as spot in a partial shade area between the back border and the north side garden

Two other plants, gifted to me by Denise of A Growing Obsession when she was reorganizing her plant collection, found spots too.  Dombeya burgessiae has a partially shaded spot in one of my front borders.  Sonchus palmensis, a relative of the dandelion (!) was squeezed into an area in the back garden between a Grevillea and a Melianthus.  (Let the battle for space begin!)

The mail order plants delivered today will go in this weekend, along with pile of Freesia bulbs dislodged in the process of removing the asters.  Now, if we could only get some rain!  There's a small chance of drizzle this weekend with a greater prospect of real rain next Monday.  Fingers crossed!  Best wishes for favorable weather wherever you are this weekend.


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

20 comments:

  1. Lots of good planting, Kris! Hope that rain materializes...my garden could really use it too!

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    1. Weather Underground is currently showing a 99% chance of rain by noon on Monday, although they're only projecting 0.37/inch. A rain dance may be necessary, Denise!

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  2. I think your mystery plant was identified on your Instagram account picture. dustingimbeldesigns called it Grindelia. kgravestock said its a lovely weed for them called gum weed. You have lots of work but it's the fun kind creating rather than maintaining, although that's always ready and waiting for us. I guess the maintaining came first when you cleared out the bed.

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    1. Gum weed seems to be a common name for Grindelia. I've done some online sleuthing to try to get a species name as the descriptions vary quite a bit in terms of size and requirements. I may need to move them further apart to start with ;)

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  3. Beautiful new additions! Planting and improving is the best part of gardening, don't you think? May they grow well and prosper. :)

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    1. The areas of my garden that seem the most successful are those utilizing large succulents and shrubs suitable to Mediterranean climates but, as you know, I like flowers and those have generally landed either in the cutting garden or the back garden. The additional requirement in the back is to keep the plant profiles on the lower end of the spectrum so as to avoid annoying my husband by blocking too much of the view. I care less about the view but marriages are a series of compromises...

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  4. I agree your mystery plant is a grindelia. Judging how tall it is and how thin the stem, it's probably Valley Gumweed, G. camporum. They flower non-stop during warm weather and are a favorite of small pollinators. When it gets cold, cut it back to the base, it will grow back into a two foot ball in spring. They will self-sow if you don't mulch. They are tough plants, and easy to grow.

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    1. Yes, thanks Sue! I saw Dustin's comment on IG this afternoon following publication of my blog post. It's definitely a Grindelia. I did some reading online and ruled out G. stricta based on the taller stems you mentioned but I'm vacillating between G. camporum and G. squarrosa. One source I read said that the phyllaries on the latter are unique in pointing downward, which looks to me to be the case with the flowers I've seen thus far but I'll continue to watch how the plants develop.

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  5. Its such good fun to replant a new area. I didn't see were you planted the lovely White Flame Gazania...
    I'm impressed with the rooting success of Echium handiense: with a name like 'Pride of Fuerteventura' I hope you'll find a good new spot for this plant.

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    1. I wondered if anyone would notice that omission! The Gazanias went into an area leading to our front door. I already had the same Gazanias in that area but the plants had become scruffy. I pulled many of them and, while I took divisions, I couldn't resist buying 8 healthy specimens at Seaside to fill in empty spots.

      When I looked for recommendations online for propagating the Echium, cuttings weren't mentioned, which is why I was surprised they did so well. I planted 2 of those last year and will probably plant a couple more this year when they root but I expect to give the rest away. The only place I've ever seen this plant is at my local botanic garden's fall plant sales. While other botanic gardens have held sales, mine has put all such events off until next spring.

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  6. That's a lot of empty space you had to fill, what fun! I'm thrilled you're growing a Sonchus palmensis, a plant I wish I could grow here.

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    1. Planting an empty area from scratch was actually easier for me than filling in an existing area - I've been tempted to do a wholesale clean-out of some areas ;) The mature size of the Sonchus presented a challenge but hopefully it'll do well squeezed into the space I finally selected.

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  7. As I write this late Saturday afternoon we have had 1.37 collected in my rain gauge so far (I installed digital gauge in Sept) with 3 to 4 inches expected tomorrow.No more watering til Spring 2022!Congrats on finding Cistus 'Little Miss Sunshine' I've bee searching in vain I finally took cuttings last month-I wan to replace my two C. 'Mickie' with 'Little Miss' My cuttings have rooted so we'll see how they do over winter.

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    1. I'm envious but, as Gerhard commented, 4 inches of rain in a single day can cause its own problems. I hope it comes down at a steady but gentle rate! We got 0.02/inch of rain early this morning and our Monday forecast predicts a whopping 0.37/inch :(

      In retrospect, I wish I'd picked up 3 'Little Miss Sunshine' at Seaside as there seem to be none locally but maybe I'll follow your example and try cuttings.

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  8. Oh happy planting Kris and I hope that that predicted rain falls from the skies 😄

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    1. Thanks Anna. Rain is still in the forecast. In fact, the odds on Weather Underground currently gives us a 100% chance but unfortunately the total is projected to be about 1/3rd of an inch.

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  9. Exciting time creating a new planting bed. Blue and yellow is one of my favourite colour combos. The yellow Colonema is stunning. Hope you got some of that rain that is moving along the west coats.

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    1. So far, we've received just 0.07/inch of rain, Elaine, but the main show isn't expected until around noon. We're not going to get anything like what Northern California received.

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  10. Enjoy the Dombeya - it should appreciate a little shade - trimmed mine today as it arches over the path.

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    1. So far so good with the Dombeya, Diana - despite our ongoing dry conditions.

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