Friday, January 6, 2023

Wide Shots - January 2023

I took advantage of a morning lull in the rain on January 2nd to take photos of my garden for my quarterly wide shots post.  The garden is well-saturated and, at present, the longer-term forecasts suggest rain may continue off and on through the middle of the month.  Previous forecasts have suggested that the remainder of our rainy season (February-early April) could be relatively dry but it seems all bets may be off for now.

I'll follow my usual route around the garden starting at the back of the house.

View from the back door looking in the direction of the Los Angeles harbor, which has been invisible for much of the past week

View from the back patio looking north.  I pulled a lot of succulents from the bed in the foreground because they'd gotten out of control.  This area is on my list to be reworked.

South end of the front garden looking north.  The succulent beds shown here are finally fleshing out.

Wide shots hide a lot, as demonstrated by this view from the back patio looking south.  I cleaned out the plants that didn't handle the summer well and there are quite a few holes, which I look forward to filling once the garden centers replace holiday items with new plant stock.

This view of the back garden from the south-side patio shows more of the empty spots.  I planted a lot of bulbs throughout the area but most haven't made an appearance yet.

View from the south end of the back garden looking north.  I'm looking forward to the day that the 2 Yucca 'Bright Star' pups barely visible in the foreground on the right have as much impact as the more mature specimen nearby.

Pivoting to the left, we face the south-side garden, which has one of my densest succulent collections.

View looking west.  To my surprise the largest Agave 'Blue Glow' on the left, which has been showing signs of preparing to bloom for months, has yet to produce a bloom spike.

View of the south side garden from the side patio looking south.  I still need a tree to fill the spot left empty by the dead native Toyon to hide the house and the sad Eucalyptus trees in the distance  My first candidate didn't survive.  I'm now considering a crape myrtle or a dwarf olive.

This is a shot of the lower level of the front garden from the south end garden looking west

This shot from the lower level shows that the area I replanted in late 2021-early 2022 is filling out at last

Moving back up the path from the front garden's lower level, we look out on the front garden's main level.

View from the south end looking north.  Despite periodic trimming, the Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' in the foreground looks like it's taking over, which perhaps it is.

This shot from the middle of the front garden looking south shows that it's still possible to walk between those Acacias, if only barely

View from the front door looking at the area under the Magnolia tree.  I received another half barrel (as requested) for Christmas but I'm now debating exactly where to put it.  Meanwhile, I'm unsure that the Echium candicans 'Star of Madiera' in the distance (right) will survive beyond this year's bloom cycle.

View of the front of the house.  I spent 3+ hours pruning the 2 Leptospermum 'Copper Glow' on either side of the front path during the course of the past week but I think they still need a little more off the top.

Bed on the right side of the path

View of the path from the driveway to the lower level of the front garden.  After several rainstorms, the path's now covered in moss.  If you look closely, you can also see that the flower stalk on Agave 'Multicolor' has grown taller since I discovered it in late November but it hasn't actually bloomed yet and my guess is that won't happen until warmer temperatures return.

This is a view of the area on the other side of the driveway adjacent to the garage, looking northwest.  I consider this one of the most sorry-looking areas of my garden.  I've yet to find the right mix of plants to compete with the roots of the ornamental pear tree and the Xylosma hedge.

I'm also unhappy with this succulent bed on the other side of the trash can path.  I'm thinking of replacing the struggling fan aloe with a larger, more vigorous aloe variety or perhaps a trio of matching agaves.

Bed on the left side of the path to the front door

Broader view of the north side of the house.  I pruned the climbing rose planted against the chimney while my husband was away on an errand and his truck was (briefly) out of the way.  The shrub on the chimney's left is one of the 'Wilson's Wonder' Leucadendrons the gardeners pruned like a hedge a month or so ago.  I'll do more to reshape it after it "blooms" this winter (assuming it does).

Next up is the cutting garden.

The raised planters don't look like much at the moment, although 2 of the foxgloves planted there have already produced flower stalks and the seeds I've sown have sprouted in all 3 beds

Beyond the fence is the north side garden.

North side garden looking toward the the cement block stairway that leads down the back slope.  I started pruning the Leucadendron 'Chief' (behind the guava tree) 3 weeks ago but I haven't yet made much of a dent in controlling its size.

I took this photo from the concrete stairway looking back toward the house mainly to show how floriferous the prostrate rosemary is at the moment

Pivoting to the left, we look at the back slope.

View of slope looking down in the direction of the property line (beyond the lemon tree).  The rosemary here is also in full bloom.

View looking back up the slope.  In November, I spent several hours cleaning up the back slope, including cutting all the Centranthus and artichokes to the ground.  I actively avoided work on the back slope when the weather was warm so as to stay out of the way of the fire ants.


Hiking back to the driveway, we get views of the street-side succulent bed.

This bed is looking okay, although I think the Euphorbia 'Sticks on Fire' are on the verge of getting out of control

This broader view from the street shows the Aeoniums sticking out from underneath the Xylosma hedge.  Aeonium arboreum throughout the garden have sprouted bloom spikes.

That's my quarterly update.  If our current streak of rainstorms continues, I may have a wonderful spring story to tell about the garden come April when I publish my next quarterly wide shots post.

All material © 2012-2023 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


  1. Your street-side views are such a gift to the neighborhood. In fact everything is looking absolutely wonderful. If I attempted wide-shots right now it would be a very sad story indeed. So you wrote that perhaps the Echium candicans 'Star of Madiera' may not survive beyond this year's bloom cycle—is that because you're tired of the plant, or is it sick?

    1. The Echium isn't sick but it's become very woody, Loree. You can only tip prune this Echium and eventually it loses its shape. While the non-variegated form seems to self-seed readily, that doesn't appear to be the case with this variegated variety. If it comes out this year, I'll try to replace it. Maybe I'll even try propagating this one from a cutting this spring - I've been successful propagating Echium handiense that way.

  2. Everything is looking so happy and lush already; blessed rain. Have you ever considered moving the terra cotta pedestal planter to replace the fan aloe? In the photo it seems to compete a little with your gorgeous Agave ovatifolia...

    1. That's not a bad idea, although the pedestal in the north-side garden has been slowly disintegrating for years now and, if the rain continues at its current rate, it may be gone soon without much help from me. It'd probably be a good idea to start over with a new pedestal and pot in the front garden's succulent bed. Thanks for the suggestions!

  3. Lovely! I wish I was there...although we've had "mild" weather (for us) this January.

    1. "Mild" for you is still very cold by my assessment, Beth! Our recent atmospheric river/pineapple express/bomb cyclone was a relatively warm system and I think the next one, due to arrive Monday/Tuesday will be more of the same.

  4. Your rosemary looks great! Such a beautiful plant. Here the goldfinches are always at the neighbor's rosemarys (between spa treatments)--seeds to eat??

    Your might look at the root system on your Kumara--perhaps re-rooting it would increase it's health and vigor.

    The rain does work its magic. Your garden looks much lusher now and all the different greens of the foliage contrast well.

    Have a great weekend!

    1. I've never noticed finches going after the rosemary here but perhaps I haven't paid enough attention. If/when I pull the fan aloe, I'll try potting it up to see if that helps it make progress. It was a division provided by a friend years ago and it was in a pot for several months before I put it in the ground but maybe I didn't give it enough time.

    2. Mine is looking chirpier since I move it to more sun and less competition.

    3. My fan aloe might like more sun but it didn't look good even when it had no competition. Hoover Boo may be right that it didn't have an adequate root system when I planted it. Some time in a large pot might help.

  5. The garden looks like it is drinking up all that water... there's bound to be a positive response! Eliza

    1. I've already noticed positive impacts from the rain, Eliza! I just hope that the next 3 storms due to arrive in quick succession don't turn a positive into a negative.

  6. Even at the dullest time of year your garden shines!

    Your back slope would make a great spot for aloes and agaves. Hint, hint.

    1. I actually added one Agave 'Blue Flame' cutting, as well as a handful of assorted aloes (all relatively small at time of planting), to the back slope last year. 'Blue Flame' has been almost too vigorous everywhere else I've placed one but it's barely hanging on. Maybe I should have started with a larger, more well-rooting cutting. The aloes struggled last year but I think the recent rain has helped. If I ever gather the energy to clear the mass of ivy creeping over the property line, agaves would be a perfect addition there.


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