Above. A one-time lawn became an area of not-super-thirsty roses and Hemerocallis over ten years ago. Now the same area has become an even less thirsty area of Aeonium, Aloes, Proteaceae, and Salvias. A new Grevillea, 'Peaches and Cream', replaces Rosa 'Flaming Peace' which moved to a location that better holds moisture. It has not yet flowered.
Below: the first indication of a Protea 'Pink Ice' flower. Wheee!
After recently measuring the amount of water used by each irrigation zone, I decided to radically reduce irrigation minutes on three of the zones on the north side of the house. With that reduction, and by watering only the mandated twice per week, and taking "navy" showers, we will more than meet our 36% required savings--leaving wiggle room to hand water plants in obvious distress on hot days. The trick of course is to save only the mandated 36%, but not more. It is cynical beyond belief, but the fact of the matter is: use it or lose it. If further cuts are made it will be that much more difficult to cut further. As we approach each billing date, I'll make sure we save just enough, but no more. I've been checking the water meter every few days to see how we're doing.
To reduce the water need of three north side zones, I removed some plants (roses, sigh) and moved others. Laundry grey water will supplement drip for the Syzygium hedge. Fishy pond filter water, once sent to roses now removed, instead will go to the Pittosporum 'Marjorie Channon' hedge and to remaining plants in the back. I still need to convert the hedge's drip system from homeowner drip to Netafim. I will I will I will. Soon. So much to do.
I removed the failing Azara microphyllas (another sigh) and moved Buxus 'Green Tower' into their spots. Quite an improvement, if the boxwoods survive their move. They have so far, but it's been cool and overcast. Light, quick sprays from the hose to keep the foliage hydrated on hot afternoons. This must continue until their roots start growing and functioning again.
The Buxus were here:
Now they are here:
If the Buxus survive they will finally make a good screen for this spot. I had Pittosporums here (moved; doing well on the east slope), then I had the Azara (too dry for them), now the Buxus. Third time the charm?
What to do about the Pittosporum tenuifolium 'Marjorie Channon' screen on the north side has required thought. The plants have been badly affected by the neighbor's untrimmed Eucalyptus and Palm trees that hung over and dropped torrents of litter down upon them. Then there was the shade. Pittosporum tenuifolium is not fond of shade. Last year the palms and Eucalyptus got some trimming, and one palm was removed. The Margies were a mess, though. The tree trimmers tried to be careful but large branches and palm fronds showered down.
Hanging over them, but now not as badly:
Then too late I discovered a different neighbor's trumpet vine was growing into the Margies, shading them further. When the Euc branches came falling down, the vines that entangled the Margies caught the falling Euc branches and snapped branches and stripped the Margie leaves. Insult to injury.
Trumpet vine tangles:
I hacked all the vines coming into the yard to send the vine elsewhere. I noticed it is now invading a Eucalyptus instead. Maybe it will strangle the Euc. Wouldn't that be nice?
I thought about removing the damaged Marjories. As I pondered, I admired another shrub, Common Myrtle: it sprouts new foliage from bare wood, a virtue not all plants have. Conifers such as Cypress and Juniper--once the branch is bare, it's bare forever. But Myrtle can produce new growth from a branch that has been bare for years:
And, while Myrtle-and-Marjorie-pondering, I discovered, so does Pittosporum 'Majorie Channon':
Based on those sweet new sprouts, I decided to rehab-prune the hedge instead of removing it. The Marjories have been there since 2006, so they have a well-established root system, and have modest water needs. They can handle a summer much better than could a newly planted hedge of anything--even a tough native. So I've been cutting out dead wood, removing all the litter--working to rehab the Marjories and bring them back to beauty and health.
No good deed goes unpunished--hacking away at the Marjorie mess I accidentally nearly pruned off one of my fingers a couple of days ago. Rapid production of terrible curse words, delivered at an extremely high volume. So too, blood. Not to worry, finger reassembled and healing up. In the meantime, typing and re-habbing more slowly.
The Drakensberg daisies continue...
The Pentas begin...
And the Sweet Peas are done and gone. Sweet they were.