Rain, especially heavy rain played on repeat over weeks, does a lot to freshen a garden in drought-afflicted Southern California. With the rain now done for the foreseeable future (i.e. at least two weeks), it seemed an appropriate moment to take stock. I focused on foliage and, not surprisingly, succulents.
|Wide shot of my south side garden, which predominantly, but not exclusively, consists of succulents|
|Closeup showing Agave 'Blue Flame' (front), A. 'Blue Glow' (left, background), and A. americana var. mediopicta 'Alba' (right, background)|
|A second closeup, featuring more 'Blue Glow' Agaves, backed up another Agave 'Blue Flame' and a second A. mediopicta 'Alba'|
|This is a closeup of my largest Agave 'Blue Glow'. You'll notice that it's now sporting the start of a bloom stalk. I'm surprised it took so long to do so. It sprouted pups from its side over 6 months ago and its leaves gradually flattened afterwards, both signs of pending bloom. |
|I took this photo of an Agave 'Blue Flame' in the street-side bed from the area behind it. This view emphasizes its wavy leaves.|
|These are my largest Agave ovatifolia. The one on the left is my oldest, planted in 2012. It might be 'Frosty Blue', although I didn't have it labeled as such. The 2 photos on the right are different views of my Agave ovatifolia 'Vanzie', planted in 2015 from what I vaguely recall was a 4-inch pot.|
|This clump of Agave attenuata on my back slope was started from pups taken from my front garden. Those pups are in turn generating pups of their own, a small number of which are shown on the right.|
|It only takes cooler temperatures and a little rain to pump up the Aeoniums. Clockwise from the upper left is one of the dozens of clumps of green Aeonium arboreum in my garden, A. 'Cabernet', A. 'Sunburst', and A. 'Zwartkop'. The clump of 'Cabernet' was accidentally beheaded when I had our trees trimmed. I planted it in a sunnier location and its promise was realized.|
But succulents aren't the only plants that are flaunting their fresh foliage.
|This is the mass of 3 Acacia cognata 'Cousin Itt' on the south end of the back garden. I cut it back several months ago and moved the ceramic fish up in front of them. You can barely see the front tip of of one of the 3 fish here as the others have been completely swallowed up again.|
|Cordyline 'Can Can' seems to be happiest in a pot|
|Drimia maritima (aka sea squill) has responded to the rain by reappearing, as it always does. I have 5 bulbs planted at the bottom of the slope. I should have clustered some more closely but, with time, hopefully they'll multiply on their own. I never got any blooms last fall but maybe they'll do better with the increased rain this year. |
|Echium webbii (left) has flushed out again, showing off its silvery best. A noID Echium (possibly E. candicans) self-seeded along our south property line (right).|
|Hebe 'Purple Shamrock' is at its best this time of year|
|Leucadendron 'Ebony' has been enveloped by Leucadendron 'Chief' again but you still can't miss that dark foliage. The latter will be pruned once it finishes "flowering."|
|On the back slope, calla lily foliage (Zantedeschia aethiopica) has popped up everywhere. I had only 1 or 2 flowers last year but I'm hoping for better this season.|
We also have a fresh green carpet of moss in a few areas.
|The picture on the left is of a moss-covered path in the front garden. The photos on the right were taken on the back slope.|
Another storm, lighter than the previous ones, moved through Northern and Central California on Wednesday and, unexpectedly, reached far enough south to give us another 0.05/inch of rain yesterday. My "water year" to date rain total (counted from October 1, 2022) is 10.83 inches. If we get more before our rainy season ends in early April, it may be a good year. Earlier forecasts suggested that we'd be relatively dry from January through March but, as January was a big surprise, maybe the rest of the season will be too. At present, all I can say for certain is that we've already had more rain this water year than we had in total during the last one and more than double what we received the year before that. In the meantime, I captured what rainwater I could for later use.
|All 3 of my rain tanks are full so I have 475 gallons of rain stored for use as needed later in the year. I've also been collecting rain from the rain chain in plastic trugs like those shown here and using their contents to water the drier areas of my garden. I've already filled and emptied these several times over during the course of this month's storms. I'm in the process of redistributing the contents of these trugs now.|
Best wishes for a pleasant weekend. We're looking at ten mostly sunny days ahead here, which is a nice change after a nearly continuous stretch of rain.
material © 2012-2023
by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party
Stunning photos Kris! Your garden is clearly very happy with the rain, but really it's your placement and care that shines in these photos. Your numbers comparison to the previous years had me thinking about how thrilled the plants in unwatered and uncared for areas (nature) must be with the rains. That is of course if they haven't been washed away in flooding and landslides.ReplyDelete
Thanks Loree. Given that the storms came in such quick succession, we're lucky in a sense that we got so much less rain than many other parts of the state, although I may be bemoaning that fact if January's rain is the last we get until October/November. We have soil erosion issues in parts of the peninsula but we haven't experienced problems here and the geological survey conducted before our home renovation indicated that we're on solid ground even if some of our neighbors aren't.Delete
Love those wide shots. Everything looks so happy and healthy. Looking at your combinations tells me I need more pale yellow or dark purple foliage. Too much straight green in my garden. Always so pleasant to spend time in your garden, even if it's just digitally.ReplyDelete
Thanks Linda. You're always welcome to visit in person if your travels bring you this way :) I never had much in the way of burgundy or yellow/chartreuse foliage until we moved here - it does help carry the eye, especially when flowers are few.Delete
'Cousin Itt' fabulous as usual. 'Blue Flame' especially beautiful.
Isn't it wonderful with everything thoroughly washed clean and looking so refreshed? An unexpected joy. The only kind of weird thing is thinking, "Oh, what needs watering?" and then being able to say, "Nothing!"
Have a great weekend!
Yes, it's nice not to think about watering. I spread the rest of the rainwater I'd collected in trugs today even though nothing actually needed a boost. I plan to rely on my collected rainwater instead of the irrigation system for as long as my back and knee will handle my toting cans of it around.Delete
It all looks so wonderful, Kris. Amazing what rain can do, and hoses can never do the same job. You have such a lovely variety of colours, which blend so well together. You have interesting plants I can’t grow because of frost, but if the climate keeps going the way it is, I might be able to grow them before too long!ReplyDelete
It IS hard to judge where we're headed in terms of climate these days, Jane. One article I saw several months ago suggested that Los Angeles may be more like Baja California by mid-century. In the meanwhile, I keep adding more succulents to my garden.Delete
Your post today reminded me of a cool meme I used to look forward to, "Foliage Followup", that followed the GBBD meme.ReplyDelete
Fantastic plant combinations in your south side garden wide shot. I feel the real magic is created by Aeonium 'Sunburst'! That pop of brightness is like shining a light on the blue agaves, creating a gorgeous tapestry.
Love that Leucadendron 'Ebony' too. I suppose it looks so good partly because of the contrast with its crowding neighbors. It's all about the plant combinations...
I loved Pam Penick's foliage followup meme too, Chavli. I participated monthly until she pulled the rug on it. I still do periodic foliage posts, although not on any regular schedule. Aeonium 'Sunburst' is a terrific plant. I only wish it was as prolific at my plain green Aeonium arboreum.Delete
It's a joy to see such green! First we had so much rain some of the local roads and fields flooded (such a change from the drought we had in the summer!), then that was followed with snow and ice.ReplyDelete
Snow and ice are foreign concepts here, Nikki. We claim we're "freezing" when our temperatures are in the low 60sF (15-18C)!Delete
The garden looks fabulous after all that rinsing. Takes a lot of rain to fill trugs so you really must have been getting a lot. We have been hearing about all the rain, and the problems it's causing, that California is receiving. We live in a very dry summer climate and a workshop I attended discussed how the best place to store water is in the soil so water away.ReplyDelete
Some of those trugs filled within 2 minutes from the rain chain because the rain came down so hard and fast, Elaine. My sandy-leaning soil doesn't hold water as well as I'd like. Time for another truckload of compost! Luckily, my 3 rain tanks are completely full.Delete
Your garden looks very happy. Yay! I had to chuckle with the term "winter foliage." While we have some winter foliage here, it's much different, of course, and currently covered with a little snow. Happy almost February!ReplyDelete
Yes, my reference is simple to the season rather than the circumstances that guide gardeners in colder climates with their winter-hardy and evergreen plant selections ;Delete
As always, your winter foliage is amazing! I love the combinations of texture and color and the Agave have me in awe. Thank you for the morning smile!ReplyDelete
And thank you for visiting, Lee.Delete