I've been under the weather, literally and figuratively. Our heavy marine layer has been a persistent presence since early April. At best, we get a little sun in the late afternoon. On the positive side, we've picked up about 0.08/inch of precipitation in the process in the past week. On the negative side, for someone who's lived in sunny Southern California her entire life, the persistent gloom is getting old.
|Photo of my south side garden looking southeast toward the invisible Los Angeles harbor|
From a figurative perspective, I've been fighting with my knee problem for a couple of weeks now. A compression sleeve has helped there but then last week I developed an incessant cough. I tested negative for COVID, but whether I have a sinus infection, an out-of-control allergy, or something else is unclear. I saw a Nurse Practitioner and we developed a multi-faceted plan but I still feel crummy. Oddly, however, I seem to cough less when working outside than I do sitting at my computer.
|Before and after shots of my back slope looking up from the bottom of the stairway. The photo on the left was taken last Saturday. It was floriferous but treacherous to navigate. Pruning the out-of-control bay laurel hedge is a job I leave to the gardeners but they could hardly get to it. I cut back and pulled anything that impeded the stairway and the path between the hedge and the lower border as shown in the second photo. Unfortunately, that included cutting down the Echium webbii, which was too big for the space. I still need to remove its trunk but that's a task for another week.|
|After months of doing nothing, the cutting garden flowered, seemingly all at once. Plants are crowding one another and falling over. I cut back the contents of the raised beds enough to allow me to walk between them but I'll need to start pulling plants out soon to make room for the dahlia tubers that are sprouting in their temporary pots. I'm also fighting mildew and rust, a byproduct of our high humidity levels.|
In addition to working off and on in my own garden, I've continued to take daily walks around the neighborhood. I thought this is a good time to share photos of one neighbor's front garden, which I consider a master class in planting on a slope. It's looking particularly colorful at the moment. Here are a couple of panoramic shots:
|View of the long, sloped front garden border looking downhill|
|View of the same border from the other end|
As the panoramic views hide a lot, I'm providing a series of closer shots.
|Driveway adjacent area featuring noID orange roses, Pittosporum tobira, and Plectranthus neochilus|
|The next segment, featuring among other things: Calandrinia spectabilis, Polygala myrtifolia, red 'Knock Out' roses, Salvia leucantha, and Strelitzia|
|A closer look at the Geranium incanum, Oscularia deltoides, and Salvia leucantha surrounding the steps|
|Some sources indicate that Calandrinia spectabilis and C. grandiflora are synonyms for the same plant, others differentiate between the 2. If they're different, I'm not qualified to clarify the distinction.|
|Repeats of many of the same plants with the addition of a variegated Agave americana, Echium handiense, Gazania, Lavandula multifida, Phlomis fruticosa, and Phormium|
|Closeup of red 'Knock Out' rose. There are some pink ones in the mix elsewhere.|
|The succulents become more prevalent in the last sections of the border. There's a wide range of Aeoniums, as well as Agaves, Aloes, a massive expanse of Bougainvillea, and Sencio amaniensis.|
|This final section is made up of succulents with Bougainvillea as a background. There are a few Agave 'Blue Glow' (including one that bloomed earlier and shows no sign of dying back), Agave lophantha "Quadricolor', Aloe arborescens, and lots of Euphorbia tirucalli 'Sticks on Fire'.|
That's it for me this week. For those of you in the US, best wishes on Memorial Day and enjoy the unofficial start of summer (whether you have any sun or not).
All material © 2012-2023 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party
Oh, what a job that must have been clearing your path. That couldn't have helped the knees much. I hope you can shake that cold/allergy away quickly - a nice shot of sunshine might help! Your cutting garden is gorgeous. I love the fullness of it. And your neighbor's slope, serious envy here. I want to fill mine in - I pulled everything out last year and redid it. And it looks young and empty at the moment. Beautiful, hope you're feeling better soon.ReplyDelete
My knee's been a moderate issue for some time but an intensive session on the back slope a month ago made it far worse. However, laying off it awhile and using a brace has helped a lot, although I need to pace myself. The neighbor's slope is a mature garden. We've been here for 12 years and and, though she's regularly tweaks and maintains that space, I think the core plants were in place many years before we moved into the neighborhood. I suspect your "young and empty" slope will improve with every passing year as it settles in, tz.Delete
The gloom gets me down and I should be able to manage it since it's a near constant for part of the year here, I can't imagine the effect it would have on me in SoCal. I hope your cough passes and your knee improves. Is it the kind of thing that might require surgery?ReplyDelete
Oh, I've been told I'm looking at a full knee replacement for some time, Loree. I got by fine with joint fluid injections for a long time but, with both knees now crunching bone-on-bone, the time for that is looming. However, the average recovery period for a person in my situation is 6 months and I'd really like to go to the Puget Sound Garden Fling next year.Delete
I do hope you recover quickly. This is the time to be outdoors, not sick.ReplyDelete
When overcast sky is called "gloom" I doubt one can feel joy.
I love it, look forward to it, it fills me with energy: moderate heat, no sweat, no hats, no sun screen... plus blooms last longer.
I find your neighbor's garden beautiful. Must be delightful to walk by it and be inspired or just breath in the stunning tapestry.
Our "morning" marine layer has many names, Chavli. While it's most common in June (which accounts for the name "June Gloom"), it can show up in other months. "May Gray" is another common name - "No Sky July" and "Fogust" are less common terms for it and I recently discovered that the term "Graypril" has been added to the lexicon. I'm fond of the phenomenon myself but its positives fade considerably when it's continuous over 8+ weeks and it hangs on into late afternoon or never leaves at all :(Delete
This neighbor's garden is a joy in an area filled with more mundane front gardens. Her back garden is pretty special too but I haven't had a chance to properly photograph it.
Wow your cutting garden exploded all of a sudden! Nice surprise.ReplyDelete
Your neighbor has a fabulous garden. Slopes are tough and she did a great job.
I love this kind of weather. Thick marine layer and rain are my favorites.
Sorry to hear you have not been feeling well. I struggle with a bad knee off and on--the weather seems to affect it, but yours sounds worse. Hope you feel better soon.
The cool season blooms were very late while the dahlia tubers, though planted later than last year, are sprouting earlier. Quite frustrating as that creates a planting space problem. As to the weather, I love rain, whenever it comes, and I appreciate the marine layer when it's a morning phenomenon that keeps the afternoon temperatures down. It's the all day/every day schedule that's bringing me down. Will I miss it when the heat soars? It altogether likely I'll be eating my words.Delete
Sorry to hear about you feeling under the weather. Hoping you feel better. The before picture on the back slope reminds me a little bit of the coastal hillsides near Santa Barbara that were covered in Dudleya and tons of flowers. Your neighbor has a very nice, colorful garden. They've done a great job with contrasting forms and colors.ReplyDelete
It's clear that my back slope wants to go wild, Jerry. At some point, I may just have to let it do that ;)Delete
Sorry to hear you've been under the weather. :( But your garden looks AMAZING, as always! You can have some of our sun, and we'll take some of your rain. Weird that our "normal" weather patterns for this time of year have flopped. We're close to entering a drought, which is SOOO unusual for S. Wisconsin in May. Next week the highs will be in the mid- to upper 80s. If we don't get some rain, so many plants will be fried. Fingers crossed.ReplyDelete
I hope Mother Nature comes through for you on the rain and maybe cuts back on those high temperatures too, Beth. I read an article last week that suggested temperatures this summer may be running high across much of the country :(Delete
Sorry you're not feeling well, Kris. I've been down this week too, and of course it had to happen during the very best weather we've had this spring. All the names for the "Gloom" made me laugh. My favorite was Graypril. I tend to like that subdued light. For one thing, photos turn out far richer. Mind you, eventually everything gets old. I hope you soon feel well enough to let your inner sun shine.ReplyDelete
I hope you're on the mend yourself, Anna. I'd swear that "Graypril" name is a new addition to Wikipedia! I know I've looked up their definition before and I'm sure I would've noticed it.Delete
Working on the back slope is not helping your knees any. I remember walking the path down the slope with you and thinking it's quite the treacherous descent Do be careful! We've had a rash of sore throats in April and now a couple of family members have tested positive for Covid -- so glad your test was negative. Here the spring winds are a thing, just a gale every afternoon.ReplyDelete
It's hard for me to ignore the slope in spring but I've tried to pace myself, Denise. Once the temperatures soar and the fire ants get active, I'm unlikely to go down there are all. I never had a sore throat or a fever for that matter but the cough came on strong and still hasn't entirely loosened its grip; however, I have a past history of acid reflux and I'm guessing that could be the problem, although a sinus infection and/or aggravated allergies are also possibilities...Delete