Friday, September 4, 2015

Further Adventures In Lawnlessness

 The above project made a good start with a wide path, but the edging is all ahoo.  It's difficult to get that plastic edging right, and it can pop out of the ground if we get a heavy rain.  Many small succulents, lavenders, blue fescue, and Dymondia were meticulously planted, but left unwatered, for unhappy results. 
 Nice tree--could not figure out what it was. 
 Across the street, a beautiful young Ocotillo, but the front garden was almost all concrete. 
 All the concrete will keep the Ocotillo warm.  I guess that's something. 
 Next door to the big driveway, a home-crafted garden to replace the lawn, the lawn being dead not so much due to the drought as to due to the very, very large and mature tree.  The tree roots make growing a lawn difficult.  The homeowners made it a stone and succulent landscape.  It's not without quirky charm. 
 The tree is really, really big.  The prevailing winds would likely push it away from the home, if it was ever to fall.  Thank goodness.
 Homey and personal.  Pathlights askew add to the charm.  I like it. 
A half block up the road, these homeowners made an effort.  The plantings look a little skimpy, but only a little.  I actually thought about dropping off a few spare Agaves.  The one in front looks so lonely.  The trio of Lagerstroemia 'Natchez' trees are placed such that they can attain full size without topping or pruning.  Since the home faces west, the trees will shade the home in the late afternoon.  The light tower is untypical, but interesting. 

 In this instance, I like the meandering path.  It allows for perusal of the plants--a few more interesting plants would help. 
 The homeowner of this next property was outside gardening, which encouraged me to stop in the hope of a chat, but she barely had time to talk, as her phone rang, and then visitors arrived.  She did mention being somewhat worried about the health of her succulent plants should we get strong rains this winter.  Somewhat haphazard, but the individual plants were good. 
 This whole area on the other side of her driveway was the best bit.  It's fun and colorful.  An Aloe clump center front, with orange Sedum nussbaumerianum 'Coppertone'.

 Her visitors arrived right after I did, so no chance to talk further.  She did advise me to go look at another example of lawnlessness down the street.  Look for the brown fence.  Okay, thanks!
 She thought this one was overplanted.  Is it? 
 I dunno...looks pretty good to me.  The brown Pennesetums and Salvia leucanthas should be cut to the ground come winter, and the white flowered Buddleija to the left of the pergola cut back hard.  That will open the space up.
 There were at least three of those bare-minimum pergolas in the neighborhood.  Some contractor must be putting them in.  Not enough structure to provide shade, nothing planted on them.  Not quite there. 
 A color scheme of purple, orange and yellows. 

 Lastly, some people have taken the no-drama approach to this drought and done nothing more than to stop watering and let their lawns go golden brown.  That is a perfectly viable option, if not as interesting to the blogger as all the xeric experimentation taking place nowadays.  

25 comments:

  1. I love the idea of you being the agave-gifter. Do it!

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  2. If you're desperate for somewhere to drop off spare Agaves, you can always drop them in a box at the post office addressed to me. Although, like danger, I like the idea of you being the Agave Santa on one of your walkabouts.

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    1. email me your address and see what happens. :)

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  3. Leaving the lawn to go brown is the British way – over here you don’t see green lawns at all in the summer in the south-east. But they recover without any help when it starts raining in late autumn, just not that pretty in the summer. I was pondering about the different style of planting and traditions, if the lady thought the garden with the brown fence was overplanted I wonder what she would have thought of a visit to my previous garden at this time of year?? I had several thousand plants and bulbs in an area much smaller than that strip of front garden….I guess we all have different style and views, would have been boring if we all wanted the same :-)

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    1. I don't know if it is a mid-west or east coast thing, but for some people gardening = a beautiful lawn. No other plants are relevant. And it's purely a spring/summer activity, as the winters mean everything is dormant or under several feet of snoow. Then they moved here and brought that mindset here where there is a dry season and a rainy season.

      I think the lady would find your garden as glorious as everyone does! I would be fascinated to see what you would come up as a garden in my climate.

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    2. I think I would be rather lost for a while in your climate! Frantic reading plant descriptions online for months probably :-)
      I am a bit lost even here in my new garden, coming from a rather shady garden with plants suitable for shade and ericaceous soil – to my new garden which is mainly full sun and well above 7pH…yes, I must admit I haven’t planted a single plant yet, I have to read up about all my plants and see where I can place what. Some of my roses where not happy this summer, they turned crispy in the hot, baking summer sun we had in June and first part of July, so that was a lesson – never had that before, in my precious garden it was a struggle to give the roses enough sun!

      But I would love the challenge of a desert garden if I could, as I absolutely love cacti (as houseplants) – I just haven’t got any right now. I remember the post you had about the front garden filled with cacti – would be amazing to make something similar. But unless I get my front garden glassed in, that would not be possible, not just because of the temperature but because of how much it rains, when it rains :-)

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    3. I am imagining a front garden filled with cacti in London. That would be so amazing, wouldn't it?

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    4. That would certainly get the neighbours to stop and look!!

      Sorry about the typos in my comment above, wrote them on my iPad and I haven’t turned off predictive text there yet – will do now :-)

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  4. "Over planting" is there such a thing? I'd like to see you post something over-planted and maintained. Guerrilla gardening agaves...You should do it.

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    1. Yes, there is such a thing as overplanting--I think it is more difficult to do in the desert!

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  5. We're all still feeling our way. I do like the "overplanted" garden a lot. Much as I look forward to a wet El Nino, I've also worried about the impact on my drought tolerant plants but my hope is that I've done enough to improve my soil drainage that the rain won't drown anything, if indeed it shows up. I'm not counting on it until it arrives - I heard that, although the sea temperatures are predictive of a major ("Godzilla") El Nino, the event requires winds pointed in the right direction and wind pattern hasn't yet stabilized.

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    1. I'm not getting my hopes up either! Your wise investment in rain barrels will surely help, either way.

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  6. The garden with the Pennisetums isn't at all "overplanted" -- it's waterwise rather than xeric. Are you talking about cutting back the grasses and Buddleia in late winter, or in a couple of months? In the east, the low light makes grasses that hold together in the first half of winter a nice feature -- but I can see how a winter that is just heavy rains might preclude that.

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    1. I think if that garden is maintained properly, it will be just great. Maybe her point was that it won't be--there is certainly a lot of that here!

      Here the recommended thing to do is to cut back just as new growth begins to appear in late winter stimulated by the rains of fall and early winter. We don't get the magical look of frosty grasses here in the land of no frost--everything just looks tired and ratty.

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  7. whoa, they ain't seen overplanted yet! Nice ocotillo...

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    1. If you can get get to the front door of the house without a machete, it's not.

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  8. I guess I'm siding with everyone else--I liked the "over planted" one the best. :-)

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  9. Nothing's overplanted at that one yard, even the pergola or ramada isn't under-done...but only usable for scale, no shade...maybe nice to sit under at night? The mystery tree looks like Holly Oak / Q. ilex. Quite well-done lawnlessness in this post!

    The ocotillo needs some plant company...you visited NM or El Paso again, and didn't tell me...that couldn't be your area!

    I took a walk yesterday on the block where I attended a post-presentation party, and my iPhone camera was ready.....

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    1. Q. ilex. It did look oak-ish to me, but I couldn't place the foliage. It's a beautiful tree. Thanks for the ID.

      I have seen a few Ocotillo around lately, thought it wasn't warm enough for them here, though there is one at least at the Huntington that looks big and happy--but the Huntington is usually 15 degrees warmer here in summer.

      Must check your blog and see what your iPhone saw on the block. :)

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  10. I was wondering how you felt about that meandering path. Glad to hear you like it...and the "overplanted" landscape. Of course overplanting is a way of life around here, but it does stand out as something different in your neck of the woods.

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    1. A meandering path through plants makes sense...through a lawn, nah. Yes, the climate makes a difference.

      My thought is: if maintained, it's not overplanted. There are some shrubs with the potential to grow large enough completely block the paths. Will they be nicely headed back, or buzzed into meatballs and lightbulbs? As it is now, its quite pretty.

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  11. It all looks better than astroturf!

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