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!
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.