Sunday, March 1, 2015

Finally The West Slope Reveal!

Mulching complete!  Now that the west slope is nicely mulched, it is time to reveal it.  Prepare to be underwhelmed because the plants need to grow.  

Sigh. Doesn't look much like the design drawing...
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A dozen (or more) 'Blue Glow' Agaves, seven 'Bright Star' Yucca,  three Cordyline 'Festival Grass' (which will get almost 6' wide (1.5 M) each), and three Russelia equisetiformis look lost in space right now. 
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The silvery green, feathery blobs are California poppies.  Along with the three volunteer Lupins, they are meant to add a little color and interest until the Agaves and other plants grow larger.  
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I'm a bit sad.  It doesn't impress.  I had to remind myself of what the front slope looked like at the start:
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Repeat after me:  the plants will grow, the plants will grow...

Leaving that slope aside, around the corner is a slope planted within the past four or five years--very simple and effective, though smaller than our west slope--just Agave attenuata and (bad!) invasive Pennisetum setaceum, so I won't envy it, I won't, I won't...
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I'm not sure the Pennisetum was intended.  It may have invaded on its own.  Next door to that slope is another interesting treatment on a nearly vertical slope.  The homeowners added a synthetic "rock" wall made of reinforced concrete to match the real rock.  The real rock is on the left and the added concrete is on the right:
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Can you see the difference?  I marked the seam in red:
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Not bad!  There are two added planting cups in the synthetic portion, each with an irrigation line.  I drew a red line just under the irrigation line so you could see it better:
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Good solution to stabilize a vertical slope.  
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Nearby that is a plant new to me, a California native very similar in look to plants known to gardeners by the common name "Dusty Miller" (of which so named are several different plants of multiple genus and species).  I think this is Constancea nevinii, aka Eriophyllum nevinii.  Cool, and very xeric.  This particular plant is shaded by a nearby Schinus.  In fuller sun it would be much more white/silver:
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I think I want that plant--maybe there's a place on that too empty slope...Oh, there I go again.  All the years and trouble of thought, work and planning to have a large area with a cohesive "design" of plants, and I'm ready to add random plants to it.  No!  No!  No! 
Are you yelling at me?!?
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No, not you, Boris.  Well, at least the slope is mulched and planted.  It's time to move onto the next project.  I'll add in small areas of succulent groundcover, like Sedum 'Coppertone', which is what the design intends, as the poppies and lupines die off, but I'm officially calling the painfully prolonged Fall 2012 Project DONE. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy 1931 - 2015

Leonard Nimoy's last tweet: 
"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory."

Thanks for all the memories, Mr. Spock.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Aloe Seedling Graduation

 Almost done mulching.  I'm also moving a few plants around.   It's time to put one of last year's Aloe seedlings onto the slope, before hot summer weather arrives. 

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Mama Capitata, with winter-red leaves, is nearby:
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Eleven months ago, it was one of these:
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 Time will tell how many years it takes to bloom.  
Update:  the rest of the seedlings, still in the nursery bed.  Compare the size of the 'Blue Glow' Agave seedlings above them, which have finally grown a little bit, but remain tiny:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mulch Madness Some More

Early morning scented by orange blossoms.

The piles are smaller
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The brown blanket larger
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Here is roughly the same area in November of 2011. (I moved one of the Yuccas last year):
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A gorgeous late winter morning
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Aloe 'Roikoppie' has its first bloom.
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Old 'Joe Hoak' is about finished--he's a wreck. 
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Joe's last flowers are open.  The Dasylirion looms behind.  Back and forth.
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What a beautiful morning, scented with orange blossom and the forest-floor tang of fresh mulch.  Fill another bucket. 
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The first roses of the new season.  What a beautiful morning.
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Back and forth, back and forth, with my buckets of mulch.  What a beautiful morning.
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Saturday, February 21, 2015

Mulch Time

The annual mulching marathon.  Only six cubic yards this year.  
The first thing to do is get it off the street.  A pile to the back...
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Three piles in the front...
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Then the fun really begins.  
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A fresh, even mulch makes a plant stand out clearly.  
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Lots of distractions to enjoy while lugging all that mulch around.  
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With this scenery, seems more like fun than work.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Lupine Saga

Many years ago we bought a large package of annual native Lupine seeds to toss around on the slopes.  The purchase happened to occur in spring, the exact wrong time to toss around native seeds in California.  Autumn is the correct time, as the winter rains begin.
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So the package sat in the hot garage for years and years.  I kept meaning to throw the seeds out on the slopes in autumn, just as the winter rains began.  Somehow I never got around to it.  Then as the years passed, I kept meaning to throw the package out, but never did. 
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Finally when we were redoing the west slope,  I decided it was time to finally throw out those old, old seeds.  
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Then it occurred--why not throw them on the slope?  Too old to grow, but they would add to the organic material--better there than in a landfill.  So I threw them on the slope.  
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We ended up with three plants, which is three plants more than zero.  Better late than never.  

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

San Diego In Winter: Cactus/Succulent Show

Glorious winter's day Saturday.  All of San Diego who were not at the beach seemed to be in Balboa Park enjoying mild warmth and bright sun under a blue, blue sky.  
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There were people selling pottery and flowers, athletic dancers doing flips and spins, a man playing a digital accordion with great skill.
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Thousands of people enjoying a peaceful day.
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Off in a small corner of the park, happy plant nuts were enjoying the San Diego CSS winter show.  
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Beautiful plants in beautiful pots
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Beautiful plants in old plastic pots.  It's the plant, not the pot, that counts.  First place:
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This could have been bare root--who cares about a pot when an Agave looks like this?
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Not a huge show, but many unusual plants.  This is Whiteslonea crassa, and it's in bloom. 
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Whatever this is, it belongs in "Star Wars":
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This Leuchtenbergia principis was a winner.  The owner had added a handwritten "for sale" sign to it.  I haven't seen that at a plant show before. 
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There's just something about a Pachypodium with ruffled leaves...
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Or a Boophone.  
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This being San Diego, a fish-under-the-sea theme seemed appropriate for a dish garden display.
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Some of the roundish things are rocks, and some of them are plant.
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Ah!  The Aloes!
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Aloe erinacaea
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This was a fascinating Aloe, marked as Aloe hybrid x divirculata 'Scallops'.  The rounded marginal teeth were striking.
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 The Haworthia table
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A Dudleya
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Fun stuff
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The plant sale was crazy busy.  I got a Leuchtenbergia principis at a great price (not the show one for sale) and a Alluadia dumosa.  Back at home I looked up both.  The Leuchtenbergia is a cactus that lives nestled among long dry grass in dry grasslands.  It has evolved such that its spines look like dried blades of grass--this adaptation has so well disguised it, that at this point it is not yet an endangered species. 
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Alluadia dumosa--the best comment I read on the internet went something like this:  "Well, it's ugly, but it's not hard to grow."  Here's a trophy table Alluadia dumosa from the Intercity show a couple of years ago.  
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Ugly?  Really?  Nahhh...

Mine isn't quite at the trophy-table level yet.  
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A warm winter's day spent with my Sweetie, looking at plants.  What could be better?