Oh, dear, chlorosis again!
Last year I created an area for South African and Australian members of the Protea family, and other xeric plants. A blog post on the area last September shows then. This post shows now.
This area of the garden north of the driveway has extremely sharp drainage and the poorest soil. At first, seventeen years ago, it was a sloped lawn the dogs did not care for. Then it was a mass of roses and day lilys that struggled because it was too dry. For a couple of years it was empty, because of the drought. Last year, as I began collecting members of the Protea family, it became "Proteana"
The big thing that happened was a rainy winter. The plants grew.
Since last September's blog post, I got the last rose moved out. Surprisingly it was not infected with crown gall, survived the move and is doing well in a new location near the front door. Grevillea 'Ned Kelly' took over the rose's spot. 'Ned' is looking chlorotic, too. Protea 'Pink Ice' on the left is exploring the space.
Must scatter some soil sulpher:
Protea 'Pink Ice' continues to fight Eucalyptus 'Moon Lagoon' for space. Both are larger so the fight escalates.
I placed quite a few black Aeoniums in the area because it looked empty and because I had more black Aeoniums than I knew what to do with. Mixed in with seeds of Mexican Tulip Poppy scattered about, their black and yellow accents unified the area at no cost.
There are two new Proteas on this side of the path, P. neriifolia, purchased on our trip to Ruth Bancroft Garden last autumn, and P. 'Brenda', purchased at the local garden show this April. P. neriifolia above, 'Brenda' below:
The Tecoma 'Sparky', with flower colors I wasn't enamored of, turned out to be an excellent pairing with Leucospermum 'Flame Giant', the flowers of which are also a mix of yellow and orange. They complement each other surprisingly well.
The Salvia discolor seedling grew, the peachy Salvia greggii hybrid, its peach color at odds with both the Tecoma and 'Flame Giant' (but perfect with Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream' across the path) are very popular with the hummingbirds. All the Salvias were much helped by winter rain. I added a Salvia leucantha that had been languishing in a pot, to a place near 'Flame Giant'. The purple flowers of S. leucantha, volunteer Limonium perezii, and Trichostemna lanata balance out all the yellow and orange of the Aloes, Grevilleas, Leucospermums, and the Tecoma. I yanked the purple-blue flowered Pycnostachys urticifolia because I just plain didn't like it. It may have been too dry for the Pycnostachys to be happy.
Though Craspedia globosa is an Australian, this area is proving to be too dry for it as well. Also the rabbits find the foliage tasty, so it's in a wire circle of protection
The Hymnolepis crithmoides would have been a good plant in this area. If I get a volunteer seedling from the plant out front, it could replace the Craspedia. The Aloe thraskii, with its sharp curved lines, is visually dominating, a good contrast to all the shrubbiness. Aloe speciosa, Aloe castanea, and the carmeronii/hardyi hybrid have all grown and will be in a year or two more clean lines to offset the shrubby blobs of foliage. I added an Aloe ferox (candelabra version) next to Salvia leucantha. The Aloe was a gift from Succulents And More.
What the area needs now is mulch!
Isn't it clever how the arch in the background exactly frames the garbage bins? I planned that carefully. In the foreground the California native Trichostemna is starting to look a little ratty. It's not a long-lived plant, so that's okay. Protea neriifolia will need the space in a couple of years.
The Aloe pseudorubroviolacea had a great bloom this spring.
It's about done, prematurely, because a female Oriole and two yellow crowned warblers are stripping all the flowers.
Before the strip:
I don't begrudge the birds whatever they are getting from the flowers. I just wish I could get a few seed pods so I could try growing more of this fabulous Aloe from seed.
I added a silvery Eremophila glabra 'Fire and Ice'. It is the Australian equivalent to North America's Leucophyllum, a heat-loving desert plant that insists on excellent drainage. The name "Eremophila" literally translates to "desert lover". The flowers are reddish orange so will agree with nearby Tecoma 'Sparky' and Leucospermum 'Flame Giant', or so I hope.
Grevillea 'Peaches and Cream' has thrived.
So, too, has California native Salvia clevelandii 'Winifred Gilman'. Because there are so many orange and yellow flowering plants in this area, purple makes a good accent. This Salvia, plus S. leucantha, some volunteer Limonium perezii, and native Woolly Blue Curls, Tricostemna lanatum, all add purple to the mix.
Rather than fighting the dryness of the area, instead replacing what was there with plants that need a dry environment, we saved water, saved effort, and created a pleasing mix of distinctive plants. Huh. How 'bout that: a project of relatively rapid success. It only took sixteen years of failure first.