Newest Acquisitions; Much Work To Little Effect

Cotyledon orbiculata var. oblonga 'Undulata' :
Trichostemna lanata, the famous and famously temperamental California native "Wooly Blue Curls", which every California gardener must attempt and kill.  It's my turn. 
Trichostemna photo 5-9-6776_zps171ff5ad.jpg
Heuchera (hybrid of native species).  The fascinating Terra Nova hybrids of showy foliage languish and fade away here--I have a chartreuse one that comes back every year but stays about 2" (5 cm) wide--while the natives, in contrast, like it here.
Heuchera photo 5-9-6779_zps89e8d9ca.jpg
Salvia pulchella x involucrata. Annies speaks of this with enthusiasm--but don't they speak of every plant with enthusiasm?  That always makes me suspicious.  Well, the hummingbirds should like it.  
Salvia photo 5-9-6782_zps0f981c7a.jpg
So, the wall is finished...
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I had to redo the other end of it as well.  Garden projects always expand in scope.
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The slope encased by the wall is still a mess.  There is filth continually dropped by one neighbor's trashy eucalyptus trees, and there are massive surface roots sent out by the other neighbor's trashy Ficus trees.   I've got the invading roots part way pulled out.
You ain't getting any of my water!
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The slope will stay empty, because if I water it the Ficus roots will be back.  They can just go crack and lift their owners pool, foundation, and patio instead.  You want Ficus, you deserve their roots.  

I'll have to get a tree professional to cut some of the overhanging Eucalyptus mess.  It's just too dangerous to try it myself. 
Help!  Help!  I'm being repressed! 
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I moved a lot of soil back behind the reconstructed wall, flattening out this area a little more.  I put the flagstones back where they were.
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 I mulched, and planted the Trichostemna, the Salvia pulchella x involucrata, and the second copy of Salvia 'Blast' , blogged about in a previous post.  
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I'll also plant a few Aloes currently languishing in pots to add sharp architectural form and height to contrast with the billowy nebulous roundness of Salvias.  Those Aloes will be a supposedly white-flowered Aloe ferox, Aloe speciosa, and Aloe castanea.  They will join Aloe thraskii and A. pseudorubroviolacea in the area.  I planted Aloe thraskii in that area back in June 2012.  It was almost knee-high then.  I thought it might die--it didn't look so good. 
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It's close to shoulder-high now--not as robust as 'Hercules', but faster than ferox or marlothii.
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This whole project was hard work, all to little effect.  The area is flatter and the wall looks better, but it isn't radically different.  I still need to do a little work on the drip irrigation and rip out the rest of the invading ficus roots and find a tree trimmer.  Much work to little effect--not satisfying--it was more like real life--necessary, but tedious and disappointing.  Not at all like gardening, where so much satisfaction and joy is usually to be had.  The area is now intended to be a wonderland for hummingbirds, but does this make your heart sing?
Are you dead yet?  
Trichostemna photo 5-9-6776_zps171ff5ad.jpg
While I was busy being disappointed, Boris communed with his gooey tennis ball. 
Boris and his ball photo 5-9-6792_zpsfdeafba7.jpg
I'm glad someone was satisfied.
Boris photo 5-9-6801_zps7b38e22f.jpg


  1. Oh, gardening can sometimes be so frustrating. Hope your Trichostemma thrives.

  2. Have heart - I planted Trichostemna from a 4" pot in my dry garden at the end of October/early November and, despite the fact that the raccoons tore up the nearby Penstemon 'Margarita BOP' (which now look like hell), the Wooly Blue Curls is doing fine. On the other hand, Annie's also enticed me with that Salvia involucrata, which I planted in early 2011. It never did anything for me but maybe your garden will be more hospitable.

    1. May probably isn't the best planting time--but what the heck. I had to celebrate being done moving those darn blocks around.

  3. If the salvias and woolly bluecurls don't work out, you might try any of the California natives listed on this wonderful page, How to create a Hummingbird Garden in California, from Las Pilitas Nursery. Maybe you already have, I don't know. What works best for hummingbirds where I live and what survives without much care, are the Iochroma, Tecomaria capensis (the orange honeysuckle, a weed), aloes like 'Blue Elf' (actually any blooming aloe), gasteria, Cleveland sage and the native penstemons. Good luck with your planned hummingbird garden. Can't wait to see it in action!

    1. Thanks for the suggestions. I did plant an Iochroma in the veggie garden a month or two ago. There's a lot here for the hummers already--I just wanted to add more, in the form of low-water requirement plants. That darn drought!

  4. I killed that undulating cotyldon so fast that I'm still not sure what happened. We're smack in the middle of our jacaranda mess phase, droopy blue Irish pennants hanging everywhere. It's sordid...and hot...and I share your disappointed mood. Yours in dissatisfied solidarity...

    1. It is the weather. No relief until Sunday, so a lot of grumpy blogging until then. People should be warned.

      Maybe then I will kill the Cotyledon instead of the Tricostemna--or maybe both. I have seen SCDS (Sudden Cotyledon Death Syndrome) here--had one as happy as a Samoyed in a snow bank, tripled in size, blooming like mad--dead in a few days. There's something that genus doesn't like--I just don't know what it is.

  5. Ha, that was funny, "...which every California gardener must attempt and kill. It's my turn." I like the dog smile too. My Sammy had that same smile. Your garden has some nice bones, well on its way to a great space. How is your garden after this past winter? Seeing all the plants liking it dry, it seems you have made great choices.

    1. My garden is thirsty, thirsty, thirsty, and I'm grumpy, grumpy, grumpy. Why isn't it grey and overcast and chilly in the late afternoons, like a normal well-behaved May should be?

  6. You have worked very hard dear Hoover, such a great effort, the wall and garden look wonderful, hopefully those thirsty ficus roots will stay away. A lovely selection of plants, the salvia is very pretty and I hope your Trichostemna flourishes.
    Boris looks happy, he is smiling.
    xoxoxo ♡

    1. Boris is always happy except when getting a bath. I need to learn from his example--I'm sort of the complete opposite.


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