October means cooling temperatures (sort of, we're due for more 90's at the end of the week). Cooling temperatures means its time to get summer purchases into the ground. After six weeks in a pot getting plenty of water, an Agave stricta went back onto the front slope. It grew a new root system and already shows new top growth.
Looking from the other direction, the plants in the red circle are the new inhabitants: the Agave stricta, two silvery Leucophyllum 'Thunder Cloud', silvery blue Agave parrasana 'Fire Ball', and silvery Aloe dhufarensis.
I had removed a bunch of stuff back in August (circled in pink below). I was going to leave the Oscularia, but it looked ratty so I took some cuttings to root and pulled out the rest.
To the right of the Agave strictas, the color scheme is mostly greeny-yallery (Yucca 'Bright Star', Agave 'Joe Hoak', Aloe ferox, Aloe marlothii, etc). To the left of the strictas, the scheme is more silver/blue/yellow. I'm attempting to make as graceful transition as possible between the two, with the plants I have.
Agave 'Ivory Curls' mixes pale yellow with pale silver/blue
'Fireball' has the same pale yellow, but the blue is a little bluer.
Agave titanota is more silver.
The Leucospermum, growing like a weed above the Agaves on the slope, (got that placed right) blooms bright yellow flowers come winter. I'm hoping it all won't look too random, even though it is random.Placement is not just a matter of color or texture, there's also that little issue of the health of the plant. Agaves are proven on the slope; I'll have to be attentive to the health of the Leucophyllums to see if they can survive the dryness there.
Rhus integrifolia, common name Lemonade Berry, a California native plant
I placed a Rhus integrifolia in the back gully, partly because it will need no irrigation once well established, and partly to right a wrong. There was a beautiful Rhus integrifolia growing in almost the same spot when we bought the property. I regretted it had to be removed to terrace the back area, regretted removing a valuable native plant--valuable in feeding and sheltering native birds. A new plant has now been returned to its rightful place. (The alternative name is Schmaltzia integrifolia. Schmaltzy!)
Adenanthos sericeus ssp sericeus, newly placed:
The Adenanthos sericea ssp sericea replaces a much-loved 'Julia Child' rose. I was planning to move 'Julia' to an empty spot out front, but alas, digging revealed another root gall infection. Eventually, it's fatal. Perhaps I'll get another 'Julia' this winter for that spot. It is a most excellent rose. I have three other copies, all excellent. The area is dry for roses. Hopefully the Adenanthos likes it.
I'll miss you, lovely, lovely 'Julia Child'. Misplaced.
The story behind the little baby lizard in the next photo is also one of placement. I was cleaning up a pile of clippings in the veggie garden. Dropping the pile in the green bin, I realized a baby lizard was in among the clippings. I could not grab it fast enough--it vanished in the big bin, so I left the lid open and a bridge of stems to a planter, hoping baby lizard could safely escape. When I put the bins out on the street for pick up, baby was still in the bin, but I managed to grab the tiny creature--or more accurately it grabbed hold of the base of my thumb and clung there in terror. I managed to shake it off my thumb without hurting it, into the soft, bouncy mound of Oscularia (left side of photo). I've seen it there since, eating bugs and growing. I managed to place it safely.
I was truly relieved and happy. Living things should be placed where they can grow and thrive, not in danger, or in barrenness.
Though sometimes a good place for the living thing is not a great place for the placer. The Stapelia I stuck in an obscured place on the east slope is thriving, but no one can see it, and I must climb and walk along a ledge and stretch to look at it while the neighbor's dog barks at me. But it is looking fabulous...must go climb and see if the flowers have opened.