Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Blurred Impression

 In the garden, our eyes may search out the composition painstakingly planned, with objects man-made harmonizing with those nature created.  It is deliberate, static, certain.  
 The sight of a dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) resting on an Aloe barbarae, creates its own composition without any intervention. We just try to remember the bird's name, and lose the moment it landed on the leaf to fluff itself.  The thought has interfered with the moment. 
In the eye's greedy search for beauty, the eye and brain may be forced to work:  does this "go" with that?  Ah, the orange matches the orange  Thought makes satisfaction a labor at times.  Work worth doing?
That labor is a whole different experience from the instant, brief perfection of a blurred impression.

Monday, August 29, 2016

In A Vase On Monday

 Another great meme rarely participated in, because I'm just too disorganized.  It worked today because it was incredibly obvious and easy what, on this day, belongs in a vase.  Two stems of Leucadendron, three stems of Craspedia globosa, and a stem of Lagerstroemia 'Dynamite'.  The Leucadendron red and the Lagerstroemia red agree;  yellow is an ideal contrast.  Simple.  I can handle simple.  Complicated...not so good. 
Visit Rambling in The Garden for more from-the-garden bouquets.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

That Slow?

While blogging about Lagerstroemia 'Dynamite' recently I looked back on some old posts containing 'Dynamite', and noticed this shot from July 2014 that included the native Quercus agrifolia seedling I'd planted from a sprouted acorn.  The oak seedling is in the wire rabbit guard on the right.   The rose is still there, as is the Aloe striata on the lower right of the photo:
 photo phorm9244_zps9e4a132f.jpg
The previous photo was a shock, because I'd taken a photo of the same area just prior to blogging:
  Wow!  That's a difference of only two years.  Are oaks all that slow?  Huh.  How 'bout that?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Favorite Plant August 2016

 It was completely obvious the first week of August what the favorite plant of August would be:  Lagerstroemia 'Dynamite'.
The past week or two or three I can wake up in the morning, walk to the front door, and look out at this:
This gave me time to prepare a post--I usually miss the Last-Friday-Of-The-Month meme date.  Not this month.  No other plant can possibly come close this month, so no thought or comparison required--simply emotion:  amazement, and joy,  joy,  joy.  
 The other 'Dynamite' (on the right of the photo below, not blooming) which looked desperately stressed after June's Big Broil heat wave has improved with some extra water from the hose.  It may be okay after all.  Whew!
 Perhaps it is best only one of the 'Dynamite's looks like this--mind-blowing delirium would otherwise ensue.  Hmm...maybe it has, anyway.
The stressed 'Dynamite' is starting to flower also.  I will give it extra water every two weeks for the rest of summer. 
Speaking of Lagerstroemias, the little Lagerstoemia 'Black Diamond Red Hot' aka 'Ebony Embers' has grown since planting.  It's waist high, and has a few flowers of its own:

When I saw the black Lagerstroemias at Home Cheapo again this summer, I ended up buying another.  The foliage is too pretty to have only one.   I decided to put the new one near the other, in a hot sunny spot which Lagerstroemias need.  I moved one of the 'Joe Hoak' Agaves (bottom red arrow).  The top red arrow points to the first 'Ebony Embers':
 Planted.  The new 'Ebony Embers' is how small the original one was last year. 
 'Joe Hoak' went up to an empty spot on the slope next to another 'Joe Hoak'.  Adding another drip line to ensure little 'Joe' would get some water took additional time. 
 Oops! This post has strayed to an entirely different subject from Favorite Plant August, but isn't that what happens in the garden?  You do one thing, and all sorts of other things start to need doing, despite efforts to remain focused.  
  Click on to DangerGarden to see what other plants find August prime.  Unless I got the meme-day wrong. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Wednesday Vignette

Blue foliage, but the late afternoon sun melding with new growth creates a golden corona on Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon'.

More vignettes at Flutter And Hum.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

This Week In Dead Plants And Virulent Pests

Adenanthos sericea ssp sericea died in the last heat wave.  Insufficient water--the roots were all dried out.  The top growth had quadrupled in size since purchase, but the root system had not.
Just a month ago, it was fine:
 Last week's field trip to the Eichler neighborhood forced a stop at a nearby nursery, so another Leucophyllum candidum 'Thunder Cloud' got the Adenanthos spot.  I dug up the soil in a large area, bringing up some of the decomposed sandstone from below.  Sharp drainage!
Good luck, kid.  
  The two out front are doing beautifully.

First flower from the Japanese Anenome, distributed as a freebie at the Portland Fling.  The plant has wandered a bit, coming up here and there and dying off where it had been the previous year.  
It looks like it has Chilli Thrips damage.  Chilli Thrips is a nasty new pest that has appeared in Southern California.  It's ruined most of my roses the past couple of months.  Damaged plant tissue is puckered, browned, and shrunken.

And I thought the drought was bad.  I'm meditating on what to do about this.  I avoid all pesticides except in dire cases.  Is this dire?  

At least the Leucadendrons are not affected.  Oh, such a red as this!
It takes my mind off the roses. 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

More Eichler Landscapes

Just about a year ago, I blogged about some front yard landscapes in a neighborhood of Eichler homes.  There are a couple of neighborhoods of these iconic Mid Century Modern homes nearby.  It was finally time to visit the other nearby Eichler neighborhood and see what sort of front yards they had to offer.  

This first home had been recently redone and was really a gem.  Note the facing brick that makes a splendid addition to low walls.  Though it is new, it is perfectly in the spirit of the original home. 
The hybrid desert tree, x Cercidium 'Desert Museum' has been the It tree the past year or two in Southern California.  Every new landscape seems to have it.   Joining 'Desert Museum' in this garden are Agave attenuata 'Nova', Anigozanthos, Dasylirion, a bronze Cordyline, Furcrea macdougalii.  Along the front of the house, an unexpectedly poor choice of three Aloe barbarae--a wonderful plant, but its eventual size is too large for the space selected.  Did they not know that?  A flaw in a gem of design.  

 They cut the concrete pavers to follow the angle of the driveway.  That's an elegant, subtle detail. 
Too bad about the Aloe placement, but otherwise beautifully, beautifully done.

This home was a door or two down.  Also a well crafted project, though not quite as good as the first.  Again, x Cercidium 'Desert Museum' is the tree, this time a pair of them, along with Aloe 'Vera' and burgundy Pennisetum setaceum 'Rubrum'.  The colors in the burgundy grass were perfectly matched to some of the paint colors on the house.  Well done!

 Yes, it happened to be garbage day. 
 Here's another home, with yet another 'Desert Museum' on the far right, a few Agaves, a pair of Euphorbia turucallii ("Sticks on Fire"), and some small clumps of dead blue Fescue 'Elija Blue'.  It needed a little maintenance. The structure that cast those diagonal shadows was present on several homes in the neighborhood, so it is an orginal feature.  Adding shadows as a visual accent to a home is not all that common in home building;  it gives you an idea of the wonderful thought-through visual style of these homes. 
 Yet another xeric landscape.  I love how the color of the Echinocereus grusonii cactus is echoed in the color of the front door. 

 Another, this one with a planter of Cor-ten steel and five blue Agave Americanas.  There were a trio of Euphorbia milli (or topped Ocotillos?) against the house, some tufts of painfully thirsty grass, and that was it for plants.  The blue of the Agaves was echoed in the blue door. 

 Another home nearby went with three massive Agave americana (and their offsets), around a trio of palms on gravel hills. 

Another.  This older landscape would not have been nearly so effective without that globe of a pot and its Aloe topper placed exactly where it needed to be.  The elements would not have been balanced without the pot.  Amazing how one minor feature could make the composition click.

 Next, another older landscape, with cloud-pruned shrubs. 
The somewhat flatted round shapes of the cloud-pruned shrubs make perfect accents to the long horizontal and vertical lines of the home:
 This addition of roses and a Cycad to a succulent/gravel design is out of place with Euphorbias, Agaves, and Cistanthe.  The Phoenix roebelenii on the far left works well;  its a classic companion to succulents, but the  And yes, I love roses.  Just not here.
 Only lawn.  However, the Cypress and Podocarpus behind the home add a perfect back drop, and even the power lines echo the wide low horizontal quality of the home.  
 Let's add to a lawn a palm, perhaps Mediterranean Fan.  That's almost enough.  Why distract too much from such stylish design? 

 This garden mixes a cloud-pruned olive tree with silvery ground cover and blue Agave americana.  Again the blue door to echo the plants, and the shadows.  The touch of orange in the fire hydrant is somewhat good!  A touch of orange somewhere on the house may knit the hydrant in--acknowledging its presence.  Wouldn't that be cool?

There are three styles that really seem to agree with these Eichler homes--the minimalist xeric style, (several examples of which previously shown),  a cloud-pruned shrubbery, and a lusher tropical-with-palms.  
Here's an Eichler with the tropical look.  The stone-faced wall isn't nearly as memorable as the texture on the very first home, but the lush happy palms and cycads look great. 
 Even a Caryota, looking very happy.
Another "tropical" look, with palms, cycads, Strelitzia nicolai, Philodendron, and Musa (banana).    It works.  
  The splash of orange in the door is the only non-green color, and it's enough.  And you know exactly where the front door is. 
 Grass, hedge, a single palm, and two pots of Sanseveria.  The shadows again.  It's all this house needs.  The simplicity works. 
 And the garbage cans match the front door!
We were so enjoying wandering this neighborhood.  There were ideas to admire, analyze, and enjoy.
 Note the diagonal line of shadow.  How simple, and how beautiful.

  Then, walking in a dreamy haze of admiration, we unfortunately spotted this: 

  Oy!  Oy!  Oy!!!

Steady, steady now.  Take a deep, deep breath.  Think back to that ultra-cool wall just down the street...and take a deep, deep breath.
 Whew.  That's better.