Before tackling Zone 23, fortify self with floral eye candy:
Hemerocallis 'Janice Brown'
Hemerocallis 'Bella Sera'
The sprinkler measuring project revealed zone 23 uses 19% of all the irrigation water used. Yikes! I intend cutting that amount by two thirds. Six of the 24 zones use 55% of the water. Those are the zones I will focus on first.
Zone 23 covers the most square feet of garden area, but by no means does it have the thirstiest plants. It does have the largest plants: a Syzygium hedge, a Pittosporum 'Marjorie Channon' hedge, and a Buxus 'Green Tower' hedge, all of which are privacy screens for the property in back of ours. There are also what I call the "cutting garden" roses--ten big burly Hybrid Teas.
The Syzygium hedge I will upgrade to Netafim drip. Also, it will get the washing machine greywater, so the run-time of the zone can be reduced. The Syzygiums currently have homeowner DIY drip (probably clogged and leaking), and they also get a majority of the rainwater we collect. They are not super thirsty, but they are 20' trees, and we want them to be dense and healthy because they are a privacy screen.
'Marjorie Channon' below, trash trees above:
The Pittosporum 'Marjorie Channon' hedge is a sad mess. The neighbor's Eucalyptus and trash palms shade the sun-loving Pittos, causing them to lean badly, and constantly shower them with litter and sap. Sad to see such a beautiful plant ruined by location. The Pittos could be pulled, (since I can't pull the neighbor's trees) in favor of Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) seedlings. Toyon is native to this very area and seedlings sprout every spring.
Ready and willing:
Toyon can go without summer water. They are tough. They can better handle considerable shade. I'm undecided--the idea requires more thought. The Pittos are not thirsty. In the meantime, self, check that area for leaks.
Boxwood 'Green Tower':
The Buxus will be moved so their drip line can be capped off. They will get the area formerly occupied by a trio of Azara microphyllas. The sweet, beautiful Azaras failed, needing too much water to be happy in quick draining silt.
And the roses...sigh. I decided to pull and discard an under-performer ('Fragrant Cloud'), and move the rest--putting them in open spots that are currently already irrigated. Then I could cap off the drip line to that section, to further reduce Zone 23's use.
Underperforming 'Fragrant Cloud' proved to have had crown gall. No wonder it was underperforming.
So too did 'Francois Rabelais'. And 'Signature'. And 'Veteran's Honor'. Ouch! Roses are more like pets than plants in this garden, and I suddenly had to euthanize four of them with my own hands.
Crown/root gall is caused by a bacteria that invades the root of the rose, using the root's ability to gather water and nutrients to feed itself--the bacteria gets all the nutrition and water instead of the rose. Eventually, the disease is fatal. The galls look like corky brown cauliflowers.
I found one--Jacsegra--without disease, and gave it the irrigated spot where I'd pulled out a Euonymous.
Throwing the others out was a sad, painful necessary thing--roses owned and loved for 15 years. Ouch!
The four biggest, healthiest prettiest roses are left to deal with. I took some cuttings. Can't face more loss just yet.
'Jardins de Bagatelle', please, please, please don't have crown gall:
'Jacsegra' bare rooted in foreground, the sole survivor:
After the heart-wrenching task of digging out roses because of drought and disease, what does it do?