We're getting a spell of what is known in Southern California as "May Gray", when a blanket of marine moisture--Raymond Chandler called it "high fog"--settles over the land, and doesn't clear until late afternoon, if then. Temperatures are perfect for long days of gardening. I've been hard at it.
Sadly, I had to remove both fruiting cherries trees. Originally there were three, planted January 2013. One came out a few months ago, killed by some kind of borer. Contributing factors were the drought and a not-great graft.
Gone in 60 minutes:
The two survivors looked okay, blooming with enthusiasm and leafing out this spring, but they set no fruit, and then sap began bleeding in several places from the trunks. The grafts looked terrible, too. Strike one. If not terminal they were headed for it.
Digging them up exposed crown gall infection. Oh, no. Strike two.
Crown gall--that bump on the right:
Sap bleeding from wounds. Strike three, they're out. Of their misery and mine.
We got a few handfuls of really good cherries last year. Oh, well.
Not so melancholy a job was shearing our side of the neighbor's Viburnum tinus hedge. Where I placed blocks to stand on, it was quick, easy work. Where the blocks were too low to reach all of the hedge, it was hard on both ankles and slope, but by no means as painful as failed trees. I make no claims to a perfect job, but from a distance the hedge looks tidy.
Then on to the 'Crepuscule' rose--cutting it back and retying it to the fence I painted last autumn. Much easier work by virtue of the stepping blocks installed for Spring Project 2016.
Next, potting up some succulents and getting others into the ground.
Happy in the ground:
Next, planting the Phabulous Phylica--I moved one of the Kalanchoe orygalis over about 8' and placed the Phylica in the Kalanchoe former spot, where the afternoon sun will light it up. Whether it is a good spot or not--time may tell. This plant had an impressive root ball, filling the 5 gallon pot, but without circled roots. Good quality. I added just a little peat to the planting hole soil, in hopes of acidifying the soil a bit. Normally I don't add amendments when planting.
She just got a shower, and looks a little tousled:
In between the work, several pauses to consider 'Robyn Gordon' and 'Peaches and Cream' Grevillea flowers. The inflorescence begins as a bumpy finger on a branch tip, with little triangles of leaf-like tissue adding more texture:
The structure lengthens, the little triangles dry up and fall away, and the bumps begin to partially unfurl:
The unfurled bumps grow to resemble flat snail shells. Then beginning at the base of the inflorescence and continuing to the tip, the "snails" begin to split down the middle, like clams rather than snails, and loops of pistil emerge.
At one point, the inflorescence creates a rounded pattern of loops.
Then the pistils fully emerge.
Nectar begins to drip. The flowers are fully open.
Quite an amazing process.
I ended up with another Grevillea, G. nudiflora 'Medusa', deciding it was a great substitute, of a sort, for Acacia 'Cousin Itt', a plant I have killed two, soon to be three times. The latest copy is on its last leafs.
That's it for Itt.
'Medusa' may be more enthusiastic about living, and eventually cascade down the Spring Project 2016 slope. It will grow much larger, though no taller, than 'Itt'. The flowers are small, but bright--red with a yellow splash. There was a Salvia discolor in the spot, before the Grevillea got it. Perhaps the Salvia will get one of the cherry tree spots.
'Medusa', I can do without Itt!
The local news reminded us that two years ago we were having temperatures over 100F. This year's May Gray is a joy.