Thursday, January 19, 2017

Another Lawn Removal Example

We pass by this home whenever we take a trip to the home improvement store.  New owners reworked the front yard about a year ago and I've been meaning to get a closer look since then.  On today's shopping trip, I finally did.  This was originally a nicely maintained yard with lawn and a few Archontophoenix palms.   I think the previous owners reduced the lawn size somewhat and added some 'Iceberg' roses to spruce it up, and it looked even better.  New owners remodeled it again, and the design is now lawn-free.  
Iceberg roses there on the side, in the foreground.  
 This is a busy street so the owners had screens put up in front of the windows, perhaps for privacy.  Once upon a time, this was a dead-end street that was very quiet.  An old citrus orchard was transformed into housing and the street was no longer dead-end and no longer quiet.  

Not sure I'd do the screens--busy or not, would you want to look out on a fence?   Looks okay from the sidewalk, though.  There's a good wide path to the front door past a section of decomposed granite, blocks of plants, including yellow-foliaged Euonymous, five conical conifers, and four 'Desert Museum' trees that could use some (properly done) re-staking.
 The "annual color" at this moment is red Cyclamens, just barely visible.  Last summer it was purple Petunias.  
 To the side of the home is a block of formally arranged Salvia leucantha, Buxus, Red Pennisetum clumping grasses, Phormiums, pink flowered groundcover Roses, and Hemerocallis.

Here's that formal block from the side:
  Materials on the mailbox enclosure could be better.  The hellstrip is very narrow and is done in decomposed granite. 
 The hellstrip on the side of the home has several Lophostemnon conferta aka Tristania conferta common name Brisbane Box trees underplanted with clump grasses, Cistanthe grandiflora, Cordylines, and a lone Agave (not clearly visible): 

 I would have gone with Myrtus instead of Box (better heat resistance, less thirsty), and something besides pink ground cover roses (they don't do well here).  The Salvia leucantha spreads over time so that grid of them won't be orderly forever, but overall, very well done.  We enjoy seeing it every time we pass by. 

We may exceed or at least reach our historic average rainfall this weekend--over the next four days several more inches of rain are predicted and we have already received close to ten inches of rain since October 1st.  Will lawn removal projects continue if drought takes a few years off?  

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bloom Day January 2017

Above, yet another round of flowers from Echeveria 'Pollux'
On this day in 2014 it was 85F and bone dry here.  This year is much different.  Three days of sun ahead, then according to the latest from NOAA:
Looks like we need a few more model runs to
build any confidence for amounts and timing next week, but by next
Sunday, count on having several more inches of rain under our belts,
with more snow to brighten the mountain tops.
Wheee!!!  Happy plants, happy gardener.  No shortage of flowers due to no shortage of rain.  The rose pruning, Salvia trimming, and clean up are going full speed during this dry interval.  A pruning bouquet:  'Ambridge Rose', 'Lady Emma Hamilton', 'Easy Does It', and an errant Shasta daisy celebrating the rain:
 Geranium 'Tiny Monster'
 Nice but 'Rozanne' is still the champ here:
 Prime time for Grevilleas.  'Superb':
 'Coastal Gem'
  'Robyn Gordon'
 'Peaches and Cream'
 Aloes! A. ferox:
  A. cameronii x A. hardyi (guessing):

Aloe marlothii's impressive candelabra has just appeared.  The color of the stem reminds me of Arctostaphylos bark.
 A close up of A. vanbalenii
 The first from 'Moon Glow'
 The new growth on Kalanchoe orgyalis is sporting tiny flowers:

 The row of Agave desmetiana flowers are now about 8' tall
 Flowers on Echeveria coccinea finally opened.  The cool weather has slowed everything down except the gardener.
 Gaillardia peeking through Leucadendron 'Ebony'
 Huh.  Is the Phylica blooming?  Look at those little white starry shapes--are those flowers?  Cool!
I will close with an out of season flower from Graptoveria 'Fred Ives'.  Fred is celebrating, too.  
Happy Bloom Day!  See more at May Dreams Garden Blog.

Friday, January 13, 2017

At The End Of The Rainbow

Pruning, raking.  Out there, having fun!  At the end of the rainbow is the garden. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Not Everyone Is Happy About The Rain

 Get my paws wet? 
Not me!

When you are as gorgeous as Natasha you can do as you like.  The rest of us are thinking about the California Drought Map, which about a year ago looked like this:

 The darker the color, the worse the drought.  White means "no drought".  The one published today looks like this:

 It's getting better here!  Get your paws wet!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wednesday Vignette January 11, 2017

A January Monarch.  A few days ago I saw it as a fully developed caterpillar and wondered if it would survive.  This is, after all, January.

Two days ago, still a caterpillar, it was hanging motionless on this Agave titanota leaf.  "Might not make it,"  I thought.  Nights are cold--the high 40's F.  But it did, becoming a chrysalis. 
 One battle at a time.  

Visit Flutter And Hum for more vignettes.

Monday, January 9, 2017

The Color of Clean Foliage

It rained yet again over night:  another 0.4".  We've luxuriated in cool, rainy, overcast weather since mid-December, though yesterday was an exception--mostly sunny and 78F.   I got a photo of clean, clean foliage and yellow Aloe vanbalenii flowers glowing softly in late afternoon sun.  The colors of clean foliage, of blues and aquas and all the shades of green, none of it darkened with grime.

Indulge us please, those of you who have not gardened in five years of drought.  We're joyously delirious. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

More Gardening Than Garden Blogging

 Above:  not a bad pairing--Leucadendron 'Ebony' with Phylica pubescens

Our first few weeks of winter have been outstanding:  plentiful rainfall and no heatwaves.  The soil is still so dry here it sucks the rain up like a sponge.  I've been enjoying long hours in the garden in between the rains.  
'Munstead Wood' is this year's impulse-buy rose:
 Planted onion starts.  Rain watered them in.  We're at over seven inches for the season, half way to "normal", and the season is only starting. 
 Enjoying the Aloes.  This Aloe came up in the garden of its own volition. It appears to be a cross between Aloe cameronii and Aloe hardyi.  This is its first flowering:
 Quite a nice plant for a volunteer seedling!
 The Grevilleas are enjoying the rain, too.
'Peaches n Cream':
 Argh, there's a dog hair--there's always a dog hair...
 'Robyn Gordon':
 The Ranunculus tubers I planted weeks ago are up and look good.  Each tree in the garden is getting a big soaking of collected rain water.  The lack of heat waves makes for happy plants and an even happier gardener. 
Rose pruning time

 Getting plants out of pots and into the ground
 Watching the three Leucospermum seedlings try to grow.  They are all still alive.  This one in the sunniest warmest location looks the best:
 The hills are even showing a tinge of green.  How long has it been since we had really green hills?  Five years?
 Enough with the blogging.  I'm already back out there.  :^)