Friday, July 17, 2015

Summer Scenes & Recent Acquisitions

Last Monday morning.  Uh oh.  We immediately went through the mental drill--where the Important Documents and the dogs are, (and in my case, a few favorite potted plants) should we be told to flee.  We turn on the TV and look for coverage.  We note which way the wind is blowing--faintly, and away from here, yay!  We watch the color of the smoke--when it all turns white, the fire is close to out. Sudden bursts of black means new fuel is going up in flames.
Local TV news coverage indicated it was about 2 miles from here as the crow flies, but in an area of very little vegetation--easier to control.  The water dropping helicopters (there's a water source, Irvine Lake, right there) and a retardant-dropping airplane roared by.  Watching those pilots fly is very impressive.  Oh boy, the MD-87 retardant dropper just roared by!  Cool!  He was hauling!
 Hopefully, yes:
These fires often start when the engine of an automobile catches fire, or when an idiot throws a lit cigarette out the car window.  Dry foliage on the side of the road ignites.  I never found out what started this one. 
There's the retardant-dropper.  He was moving so fast I barely got a photo.   About 20 minutes later, the smoke turned white.  A summer scene.
 
I prefer this type of scene in summer:
 Or this:
 But back to gardening, which I haven't been intensively working at the past couple of weeks.  Instead I finished building the side gate and then painted the gates, garage doors, doors, and door trim.  Went blue this time instead of the green (it looks better in person--its more muted than the photo).  The patina-y greeny iron fence return on the right I sprayed black. 
 July gardening is always mostly a matter of spot watering the most heat vulnerable plants, enjoying Dahlias, lounging in the shade by the koi pond, and shopping for new plants for autumn.
Here, enjoy this:

One thing I did manage was removal of the big old Salvia discolor.  Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon' got the space.  I wanted it in the ground growing instead of sitting in a pot drying out.  

There are three newer Salvia discolors in the same area--one blooming, two seedlings, all offspring of the original.  It's year-round food for the hummingbirds.  

It's important to consider what is going to lose a food source when you pull out a plant.  There are two other Salvias there to supply nectar as well, until one of the discolors grows to the size of the old one.

Sitting by the pond, tossing food pellets to the koi, always a pleasure.  The July sun does glare, though.
 Shopping for new plants--fun, yet exasperating.  Speaking of Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon',  I mail ordered it at a not-cheap price, then saw it in five-gallon size for the same price at a garden center last week, and over the weekend there it was in one gallon size at Rogers for one third the price.  Typical.  
Seven of them sitting there, laughing at me:
Same thing, almost, with Fatsia 'Spider Web', which again I bought for a not-cheap price mail order last winter, and there it is at Rogers, five times larger and better and the same price. 
The punch line being in a moment of drought-exasperated loss of patience, I tossed the one I bought mail order, which was almost 100% green, not spider-webby at all.  What can I say?  

A Roger's 20% off coupon arrived in my email--always a challenge not to make use of. What came home was Agave nizandensis, Adenanthos sericea, and Dorycnium (dor-ik'-ni-um) hirsutum, which I remember more easily as "hairy canary". Almost right on the coast,  Late To The Garden Party has had success with Dorycnium, so we'll see if it likes conditions a little inland as well.  

 A bit difficult to plant--the bees were at the flowers while I was putting the plant in the ground.  It got the spot Erigonum grande var rubescens 'Rosy Cushion' vacated by dying during the last heat wave.  I was not thrilled with 'Rosy Cushion'--the reddish flowers had a brownish cast that was not appealing: 
To my surprise, the flowers of Erigonum grande var rubescens do not have that brownish cast--they are far prettier:
 The plant is only about 6" wide.  I got it a month ago at a plant trade.  It's fenced off because the rabbits found 'Rosy Cushion' delicious, though I think the coyotes have cleaned up the rabbit problem.
 Sweet!

 But back to more recent acquisitions.  Agave nizandensis--I was waiting for the right specimen to come along at the right price.  

 I've only killed Adenanthos sericea once, so it's time to try again.  Adenanthos cuneatus has improved now that it has a water supply.  A. sericea is a coastal plant, but it's not that hot here--it might be happy.

 Adenanthos sericea.
 I guess I have been gardening--the potting table we picked up for free at the side of the road has been busy.  How did I ever do without a potting table?  I used the table to re-pot most of the little succulents on the patio.  They are much happier and I feel far less guilty.
Agave nizandensis got the pot Agave 'Shadow Dancer' occupied.  'Shadow Dancer' got the pot I bought at the Huntington C&S sale:
A last, non-plant acquisition.  The same house that provided the free potting table had a matching rolling cart waiting for us this weekend.  With two shelves!  I could roll our new plants from the car to the patio.
 
There were actually two of the rolling carts--but one is plenty.  Good karma to leave one for someone else. 

20 comments:

  1. Just picked up a two gallon Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon' from the Ruth Bancroft Garden. I bet in the next month, I will find one at a local nursery for half the price. Although, my membership to Quarryhill Botanical garden is paying off: I can subtract the price I would have paid for admission from the price of the plant. So many justifications:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And supporting the RBG is a good thing! It's a beautiful place.

      Delete
  2. Only once in my life have I experienced planes flying overhead to quench a fire burning frighteningly close to the house (back when I was a kid, in the hills outside Spokane). Such a horrible feeling, I can't imagine living with it off and on all summer.

    Agave nizandensis, wow. I guess I am going to head to the Annual Cactus & Succulent Society Show and Sale today at Portland Nursery. I'd been on the fence - then you remind me there are fabulous (unknown to me) agaves out there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're sort of used to it, which is seriously weird.

      Oooh, a C&S show. Have fun!

      Delete
  3. Long Beach's most recent excitement was manhole covers blowing up due to an underground electrical fire. Driving out of town to work in Torrance I was one of the drivers on their own as far as street lights -- intersections weren't coned, no traffic cops directing traffic, just colorless street lights and everybody on the honor system, and you know how that works with some members of humanity. I just saw a nice 'Spider Web' too, with the proper webbing, so I might pick one up in fall. Moon Lagoon is fast once you get it in the ground, so that's the right idea. I just found that same agave too at Reuben's recent sale. And lastly, how busy you've been! Everything looks great.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw that LB power outage--didn't hear about the rapidly ascending manhole covers, though. Dreadful traffic, made worse? Looking forward to seeing what Moon Lagoon is going to do--and it's all your fault. ;^)

      It's fun being motivated. I need to do it more often.

      Delete
  4. You don't stand still even when the temperatures climb, do you! The fence looks great and I'm glad the fire didn't get close enough to send you packing. Your post (thanks for the mention) sent me out to check the status of my Dorycnium. Mine (I now have several) have been slow to bloom this year - the largest one has only a few flowers so far and the smaller ones nada - however, there are tiny seedlings popping up all about. I dug up a couple of these too early for a friend and they didn't make it so I'm letting the others bulk up a bit before popping them in a pot. I hope they do well for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The TV on watching cars burn on I-15. Holy moly. Oh gosh. Wow.

      Anyway, thanks for the comments on the Dorycnium. It seems like a neat plant.

      Delete
  5. Lots of cool new acquisitions. I was excited to see the 'Spider Web' fatsia; for me that was the "it" plant of last year's Garden Bloggers Fling. I still haven't seen one locally but I'll keep my eyes open. It would look great in our backyard under the bay trees.

    I've been dreading the sight of smoke clouds but fortunately we've been spared. But the summer is not over by a long shot...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The 'Spiders Web' really entranced me...kinda broke my heart. Maybe it's just not meant for this garden.

      Scary summer...I have cleared some stuff out because of the drought...maybe I need to do some more...watching TV seeing cars burn on the I-15. Wow. Wow. Wow.

      Delete
  6. Buying small and expensive and then finding the same much bigger and cheaper...I just keep falling into that trap over and over again! A bird in the hand, you know...I just can never be sure that I will, in fact, locate that plant again. Recently, I've been contemplating whether or not I should expend tons of money and effort in trying to import Viburnum plicatum "Kilimanjaro Sunrise" from Britain (just so I can be sure of getting it and also to get it into the ground a season earlier) or just wait until it shows up via some more mainstream retail source.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see why you would want that Viburnum: beautiful! Is it that much different from the species?

      There are those plants you see once, hesitate and never see again...but I am inclined to think they are ones that fail in most gardens. Then there was the Strange Case Of The Digiplexis, which was EVERYWHERE last spring, but only the leftovers were for sale in a few places this spring. Turned out to be an expensive annual for me.

      Delete
    2. The most notable thing about this Viburnum is its (reputedly) strongly vertical/narrow habit. The species and most cultivars will become about 14 feet diameter over time--if this one stays to 6 feet or less in diameter, that would be kind of awesome.

      Delete
    3. Narrow habit is a virtue worth searching for--we can fit more plants in the garden that way. :)

      Delete
  7. The sight and smell of smoke is always alarming in Summer it really puts me on edge. I am glad that you are all OK.
    You have done a wonderful job with the gates and I think the blue is lovely.
    Your plant and puppy photos are beautiful, I love the new pot you bought and that rolling cart is a good find, gosh you find some great items in your neighbourhood. :)
    xoxoxo ♡

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so sweet, Dianne. Thank you for your always kind and thoughtful comments. I like the blue--it is more cheerful than the green was, and it's nice to be cheerful.

      Delete
  8. Your drive-by acquisitions are quite the coup. It would be tempting to join the koi in their refreshing pool. I wonder if they would mind?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was shopping for a potting bench for a long time, but it seemed ridiculous the prices I saw for something that will sit outside with dirt all over it. "Free" was my kind of price!

      Delete
  9. I think I would find it hard to garden with what was happening on the horizon. I pray your state gets rain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Surprisingly it's been a chance to work on gardening better. A gift, really. But yeah, we're all praying here, even those of us who don't pray.

      Delete

Always interested in your thoughts.

Any comments containing a link to a commercial site with the intent to promote that site will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding on this matter.