The Most Unintentional Good Idea I Never Had
We have ideas for our gardens and try them--sometimes the ideas work; sometimes not.
The idea to have Russelia equisetiformis drape gracefully over this retaining wall has been a success.
Self-seeding Lupines decided to bookend one of the Russelias.
Why didn't I think of this?
Sometimes we see cool ideas but don't try them, and for good reason. This thing is cool, but not for $15,000.
Unintentional side effects of ideas are also common, and sometimes excellent. The uphill neighbor removing his downhill neighbor's scruffy Eucalyptus produced a very unexpected effect. From this area of the garden, we now have a view of a gorgeous native Quercus agrifolia, instead of scruffy half-dead Eucalyptus. While I thought often of the advantages of removing an awful tree looming over part of the garden, I never thought of this. Best idea I never had.
Then there are the ideas and efforts that don't produce instant results. Planting the Oscularia was intended to cover up the small retaining wall blocks here:
There are several blocks now hidden under that foam of blue-green. The idea worked, but it took three years--and the other side still needs covering. I've placed two cuttings there that both fried. Time to try again. Patience required.
Several attempts to make this archway picturesque have failed. It's improved, but it's still not quite there. A thing of some sort should be framed by the arch. What? Some of it as it is now was unintentional (the Aeonium, thriving), some intended (the rose, better but still struggling).
Happy with the Callistemon 'Slim', though. It's growing well. There have been several different failing plants in that spot. 'Slim' has been the first success. Do I add another on the other side of the stairs? I'll be losing a 15 year old Myrtus that I like very much. Decisions, decisions.
My attempt at creative flower-pot storage needs more work too, but I think eventually this will be something...maybe. Keep playing.
There are the small details that require great effort to realize. Are they worth it? 'Fred Ives' Graptoveria gives this place where soil meets concrete some life. Success.
To duplicate the effect diagonally opposite, I had to move a sprinkler head. The sprinkler head was in the very corner. Anything planted in front of it would get the entire spray of water, cutting off water to the other plants behind it. The move required several hours: digging, going for irrigation parts, wrangling with pipes, reassembly, checking for leaks. Now, too, any drips from the sprinkler will drip into soil where water belongs, rather than on the pavement--an extra bonus.
Worth the trouble? I think it will be, though I didn't think so when I was digging, wrangling, swearing...
Adding an effect so subtle few people even notice it--why bother? Well, someone will notice it. I'm trying to duplicate this effect--see how the Leucospermum 'Spider' flowers echo the Dasilyrion foliage? We'll see if anyone notices that--the two plants are now planted together on my own slope--but 'Spider' needs to grow for two or three years, first.
This next effort produced unsubtle, unintentional failure. I thought what I was moving to this spot was pale blue 'Heavenly Vision' Iris, which would have been lovely with the blue "Dutch" Iris, and a good complement to the orange 'Easy Does It' rose. Instead, 'Paprika Fonos' created a color disaster. This patch will be moving again in August.
'Paprika Fonos' looks acceptable with the orange colors of the rose but not with the other Iris. It forced me to figure out what this iris does look right with--which is yellow. (I tried it with different flowers to make sure.) Yellow roses out front--'Paprika Fonos' will be moved there. A year and a half after that, it may bloom and may look right.
Here is an effect I knew needed correction two years ago. The red rose with flowers just visible accents the Grevillea, but 'Pink Gruss an Aachen' above it doesn't.The plan was to move 'Gruss' in December. When it came time--I couldn't! It's so beautiful and so healthy, I feared losing it in the move. Killing this--could you do it?
Perhaps next year I'll have the courage to attempt a successful move. Best to root some cuttings, just in case.
There are the easy, obvious good ideas that the gardener simply doesn't realize until she passes by the same irksome spot two or three hundred times, and the mental light bulb finally switches on. Placing this potted 'Blue Flame' Agave in the empty void next to the orange tree makes this spot a little better. Duh. Of course it does. Took one minute. Cost nothing. The dappled shade is perfect for the Agave. What took me so long?
It's a matter of practice, gardening, isn't it? We get better over time. Keep playing.