My biggest project this week was tearing up my cutting garden to make
way for cool-season plants. Because our winters are exceptionally mild and frost-free, there are a lot of plants we can enjoy through the fall and winter months. With one exception, I removed all the
remaining dahlias and zinnias. I saved several of the dahlia tubers I'd like
to replant next year. All but a few are already tucked away in the
garage to wait out their dormant period covered in perlite.
|This is what the area looks like now. I added fresh topsoil,
planting mix and a little fertilizer to each of the raised planters. The beds are relatively bare but, as the seeds I've sown germinate and as I add plugs to get a jump start on the season, the beds should look a lot greener within 6 weeks or so.|
|In mid-October after one of my rants about raccoons, commentator Sally recommended using hardware cloth to deter them from digging. I had to work around some things (like the metal supports the sweet peas climb) but I'm giving it a try. I used the leftover material my husband bought earlier to make cages to keep the rabbits at bay. I pinned the metal screening in place with lawn staples.|
|In addition to 3 foxgloves, I've sown Nigella papillosa and Orlaya grandiflora seeds in bed #1 (left). I've sown 3 varieties of larkspur (Consolida ajacis) in bed #2 (middle). I've sown 7 (!) varieties of sweet peas in bed #3 (right). Once my Anemone coronaria bulbs come in, I'll be adding them to bed #3. I also plan to plant snapdragons in a couple of the barrels once the varieties I want are available and add more Digitalis plugs here and there.|
|I pulled one Dahlia 'Lavender Ruffles' but this one in a barrel is still going strong and has numerous buds. I'm allowing it to stay until it either plummets into decline or my snapdragon plugs become available. |
The cutting garden cleanup wasn't great fun but I'm glad to have cleared the area and happier still that I've finally sown the seeds I've had sitting in a drawer for over two months.
Most of my other projects involved succulents in one way or another.
|I showed these replanted areas adjacent to the garage a couple of weeks ago. Since then, the raccoons have dug them up repeatedly. This week I added defenses against digging. So far, so good.|
|I planted up one of the Agave vilmoriniana 'Stained Glass' bulbils in this pot sitting in the cutting garden, It'll probably take years to bulk up but I thought I'd give it a good start.|
|I added several more plants to this succulent bed on the north end of the back garden. The additions include: Mangave 'Aztec King' (1), Kalanchoe marmorata 'Partridge' (2), Echeveria agavoides (3), and noID Sansevieria (2).|
|I pruned back the Cistus plants spilling into the flagstone path on the south side of the garden last week, removing the dead undergrowth. That revealed Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' succulents I'd forgotten were there. I cut the elongated stems and replanted selected rosettes. Hopefully, the Cistus survive their pruning.|
|I picked up another flat of Ruschia lineolata 'Nana', adding some between the flagstones on the south side where the creeping thyme has died out. Unfortunately, I ran out before filling all the empty spaces but I'll wait to see how what I've added here does before buying more.|
|I've grown Gazanias in these areas along the front walkway for years but, as our drought has worsened, they haven't done as well so I'm trying cuttings of Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi Verde' and more Ruschia here|
|I finally got around to wiring a handful of stray Tillandsias to the front grate of this chiminea, tucked in a corner of the front garden next to the bromeliad-succulent bed. The chiminea came with the house but it's not in good shape and we've never lit a fire in it.|
I'm not the only one working on my garden. As I walked through the neighborhood late Wednesday afternoon, I looked up and stopped in my tracks when I saw this:
|The front slope of this home has been carpeted with a wrinkled rug of faux lawn since we moved in years ago. I've always thought the home deserved better but, as more locals resort to covering their gardens in plastic in response to our perpetual drought, I didn't think this would change. Half the area is still carpeted in fake grass but the rest is now planted with Agave attenuata and other succulents. There appear to be 2 Magnolia trees and juniper or something similar edging the wall as well.|
I'll end this post on a sunny note with a photo of the Senna bicapsularis I'd been worried wasn't going to bloom this year.
|I foolishly planted this large shrub between a fence and the concrete stairway leading down our slope in 2011. I cut it back by half early this year and feared it might not survive. It has, although it's still much too tall for the spot it's in; however, it's a host plant for the cloudless sulphur butterflies so I'm going to hang onto it as long as I can.|
Best wishes for a pleasant weekend.
material © 2012-2022
by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party
A bed with 7 varieties of sweet peas sounds dreamy. I would lay in the middle of it daily and inhale deeply for a session of aroma therapy. Sweet peas has the most amazing fragrance and childhood memories.ReplyDelete
Your old chiminea is gorgeous! Those I've seen up till now are rather common terra cotta.
I love sweet peas too, Chavli, as evidenced by the fact that I can't seem to limit myself to the number of seeds I can actually fit into the space I have available. However, if you were to lay in the middle of that bed, you might find yourself toe-to-toe with a raccoon ;)Delete
You are impressive! My Dahlias are still growing, believe it or not, so I haven't removed them from the pots yet. I will next weekend if our forecast is correct for "normal" November weather. That Senna is lovely. I'd hold on to it, too. :)ReplyDelete
I'm glad the dahlias came through for you, Beth. I'm sorry that Mother Nature is going to close the show down.Delete
You’ve been so busy, Kris, and I hope your pest excluding measures work for you. Nice to see that neighbours have added proper greenery to the front of their house. The houses on each side of us have recently sold and I’m living in hope that the new neighbours will plants some trees!ReplyDelete
I hope you get your wish, Jane! I'd love to see more trees planted in my area. Unfortunately, we have a foolish "view conservation" ordinance in my community that values neighbors' views over the health of our ecosystem.Delete
That racoon thing must be so damn frustrating ! I have them here -along with skunks- but neither of them have ever actually dug up a plant. And in winter they go away. I hope that hardware cloth barrier works for you ! We will have rain this weekend and the 1/10th we got last week was a bigger deal in the Sierra where chain requirements were in play--sure would be great if we got a nice snow-pack up there this year.ReplyDelete
The skunks and possums present no problems but the raccoons and the rabbits are very bothersome - they're both relentless! Right now, we're showing a projection of rain on Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday is showing a 90% chance but we've been fooled before when the event is still that far out. I've been scrambling to get my bulbs planted and seeds sown to take advantage of it anyway...Delete
I hope your latest raccoon deterrent works! I planted up a small section behind my garage before we went to New York, and thankfully realized all the moss I included was going to be a magnet for squirrels foraging and hiding snacks. I laid plastic trays over the area and it kept them out. Critters!ReplyDelete
Good plan! Unlike raccoons, I've found that squirrels tend to avoid impediments on the ground despite the gymnastics they perform getting into bird feeders. The squirrels seem to have given up on guavas and have taken up burying 'Fuyu' persimmons here but they only dig down about an inch ;)Delete
Blankety-blank raccoons! But a chance at even a little rain Mon-Tues raises the spirits considerably. Your raised beds look all ready for winter and spring beauty.ReplyDelete
Best wishes for a lovely weekend backatcha!.
Some critter, presumably an annoying raccoon, dug around in one small exposed area beyond the edge of the wire "cloth" one night but, with relatively little uncovered, he/she didn't persist. I hope to get the few exposed areas planted soon but that may not happen until after next week's rain. I noted that the chances of rain have dropped slightly since I reviewed the forecast yesterday but they're still running high.Delete
Wow. That is a lot of effort to deter raccoons. I know I would be doing the same if they were as persistent here. I think our raccoons are distracted by the creek that runs through the property - they never get too unruly except during apple season. Nice to see artificial turf replaced with real plants, though I am not sure that the grid pattern is the best for showing off agaves. Having a hard time picturing what that will look like in a few years.ReplyDelete
The raccoons have been out of control here. They used to focus on our backyard fountain - they do love water! - but after 10+ years maybe they've finally figured out that there's not actually anything to eat there. Their current obsession is the grubs buried in various parts of the garden. There are grub killing pesticides but I haven't gone that route. As to the neighbors' new plantings, I'm just pleased they've added something living to the area.Delete
You have been busy! I look forward to seeing all your cool season blooms for upcoming IAVOM - particularly the seven varieties of sweet peas!ReplyDelete
Last year it took forever for my sweet peas to bloom, Horticat. I'm hoping for an earlier show this time around ;)Delete