Early October In The Garden

Salvia 'Blast'
Early October means cutting back summer's growth to prepare for Santa Ana Winds and wildfire season, enjoying the flowers of autumn, and planting new purchases that have languished in pots all summer, before Santa Ana Wind conditions kill them via desiccation or by causing the potted plants to take flight, flying to places unknown.   
Salvia 'Blast' is having a particularly good early October.  Where autumn flowers are concerned, Chrysanthemums are a tradition in other gardens, but not here.  Every aphid and autumn caterpillar in the area are anxious to mutilate them, and Santa Ana winds shrivel them.  Not worth it.  Unmutilated rose flowers, free of chili thrips now that the weather is cooling, are appearing again.   
Missed you, 'Julia Child'
Lovely to see you again, 'Brass Band'
Nearly all the Yucca 'Bright Star's are blooming, or soon will be.
 A couple more 'Joe Hoak' are sending up stalks.  I wish this Agave was a little slower growing.  The replacement will be a 'Moby' 2.0 bulbil, a gift from Pam of Digging.
One of the two gift 'Moby' 2.0 was the normal solitary rosette of the species.
Almost big enough to go out front.  
 The other seemed to crest; but it turned out to be not a crest but a clump of six seven.   Separated and planted in a shady place to root, most all of the six seven have survived and are growing until they are large enough to plant in hotter drier locations.  A mass planting of this magnificent Agave, oh, yeah!
A little to the right of the blooming 'Joe Hoak', Agave 'Mr. Ripple' is growing and looking more and more beautiful.  This is a spectacular Agave when fully grown to about 6' wide.  It is slower than 'Joe Hoak', and that is fine.  
 The very first flowering of Aloe reitzii progresses.  An interesting variation on an Aloe inflorescence:  the individual developing flowers are protected by a curling brown strip of plant tissue--initially giving the misleading impression (to herbivores?) of a dried up flower not worth bothering with.
Aloe detoideodontea var fallax has papery protectors also, but they are not brown.
 'Cynthia Giddy' continues its display of bright orange-red that pairs nicely with the 'Bright Star's and the other plants on the front slope. 
The Iochroma is usually thrashed by Santa Ana winds.  I hacked it back to a trunk of stubs last fall, now it is the biggest it has ever been.  Time to hack it again, or do I let the first bad wind storm do most of the work?  In the mean time, food for the hummers. 
 Protea 'Pink Ice' has more than a dozen flowers this year.
 Salvia leucantha
 Besides the flowers,  the urn fountain provides entertainment by being continually mobbed with birds.  A moment before this shot of four, there were eight!
 I finally got Helleborus x ballardiae 'Pink Frost' into the ground.  Hooray!  It's been languishing in a pot since forever (more than a year--maybe two) yet was waking up and sprouting new growth after its summer semi-dormancy.  H. x ballardiae is a cross of H. niger (european mountain species) with H. lividus (Mediterranean species).  Some Hellebores need a winter chill; some don't.  We'll see how this one does in the ground.  It was happy in a pot last winter, but time will tell.  
 It was on sale The garden center where this was purchased dumps inventory as soon as a plant goes out of flower.   Handy to know for the gardener patient enough to wait.  
The new Centaurea ragusina went into a much sunnier hotter spot than where the original is doing so well (afternoon shade).  It will be interesting to compare performance between the two.  
 The new native scrub oak got the dead Ceanothus spot, and got caged in, so rabbits don't prune it. 
The new Constancea nevinii went into a dry spot in Proteana.  This plant does not particularly like heat, being native to Channel Island cliff faces above the ocean.  Didn't have a better place for it, though. 
I decided no new plant purchases until all the potted ones waiting are in the ground.  No, really.  I'm sticking to that.  No, really.

Lomandra 'Platinum Beauty'.  The one in the ground is doing very well.  So, where should the other one go?   There's a spot right there where the Senecio 'Angel Wings' died, though its not really big enough.
 Abutilon 'Victor Reiter' arrived very small.  I put it temporarily in a pot of the experimental mix of potting soil and garden soil.  It did well despite the hot summer.  Now it's big enough to plant, but where? 
 Leucospermum 'Scarlet Ribbons'.  This one actually was better off remaining in the container until it could grow a bit more.  It was basically only a rooted cutting at purchase.  Now it's bigger, maybe  big enough to plant, but where?  I thought it could replace the once much desired Grevillea 'Kings Fire' which is browning and losing all its foliage and generally is Not Happy.  'Kings Fire' is going out. 
 This is a shrub-sized, rather than a small tree, Lagerstoemia.  Flowers are lavender-pink.  So, where does it go?  Another candidate for 'Kings Fire's place, maybe. 
 An Arctostaphylos (arrow) and a groundcover Grevillea.  Where, oh where?
 The Causuarina glauca 'Cousin It'.  I have a spot picked, but will it be too hot there?  
 Then there are the 'Festival Grass' Cordylines that I was growing  to put up on the west slope.   
Tucked up next to a hydrangea for the summer.
 Summer was cruel to the Cordylines already up there.  Too dry on that slope, even though the drip irrigation was on every other day for a while when the heat was particularly extreme.  
And a beautiful Arbutus 'Marina', which needs the most thought because it will get the biggest.  It was on sale, you see.   
 No plant shopping until all these are planted in the ground.  If that's not motivation, what would be?  


  1. Too many plant sales this fall ! And another one this weekend.

  2. Your Moby progeny are doing much better than mine but then I rarely water the poor things - I probably should move them somewhere where they'll get more attention. I've barely begun my post-summer pruning/clean-up but at least I can report that Metrosideros 'Springfire' is looking better, which doesn't mean great but I think it'll survive. I've got a few bare spots but I've no grand ideas as to what to plant so I get to go shopping! No rain as yet today and, despite trying to keep my expectations low, I admit to great disappointment.

    1. I was so impressed with the Ovatifolias Of Austin, I want to feature them more.

      Glad to hear that your 'Springfire' survived. I have one that was old old nursery stock and it has finally finally started looking beautiful after years of being stunted. Moral of the story being they are very tough.

      I didn't expect any rain at all. We did get about 0.03" here overnight, judging by what my tub collected. The garden looked refreshed even on that miniscule amount.

  3. You’ve been busy! Good luck sticking to that resolve...

  4. So many beautiful blooms. I think you are doing good at finding homes for all your plants still in pots. Get em planted. I just know there is something out your you need.

    1. Well, probably "want" more than "need", LOL!

  5. I just bought a cordyline on sale last week, too. I know absolutely nothing about them, and the more I read, the more I keep doubting: where can I plant it so it will survive our cold winters? but will it survive our summer sun? Never should've bought it… Hope you have better luck!

    1. House plant in the winter, north side of the house in summer?

      I never should have bought 'Marina', the Lagerstroemia, the groundcover Grevilla, the Constancea, etc, etc, etc...

    2. What went wrong with the Lagerstroemia? That was actually going to be my next planned purchase.

    3. Nothing at all. It is wonderful. I just don't know where to plant it!

      The ones planted in the ground are thriving and beautiful. Something to consider: they do need watering in summer, even when established.

  6. I could look at that front slope vignette all day. The intense 'Cynthia Giddy' blooms contrast so vividly with the grey plant behind (what is that?) and the dull dark solidity of ?'Hercules', while the sparkly brightness of the yuccas lightens and refreshes the whole scene. Great planting, great photo!

    Your impressive 'Blast' salvia is one of the "Heat Wave" series -- crosses of S. greggii and S. microphylla selected in Australia for performance in hot, dry conditions. I'm growing another in the series, 'Glimmer', for the first time. This year's unusually wet, grey September didn't give it much of a chance to show what it can do, but in the last week it's begun to bloom enough to have the hoped-for lightening effect in front of a dark splodge of smokebush. Crossing fingers for winter survival; it'll depend more on how dry things stay here than on temperature lows.

    1. The grey plant is Leucophyllum 'Thunder Cloud'. From that angle, the slope looks pretty good. From other angles not so good. Needs more work.

      I wasn't pleased with 'Blast' at first, but well-watered, it is a beauty. My hot and dry conditions were far too hot and dry for it. Placed into a relatively well irrigated place, far better.

  7. Love the watering-in "action shot"!

  8. Look at that upright hunnemania! And all those blooms on the kalanchoe flapjacks already! My Pink Ice had a big fat bud, but I pulled the shrub anyway because it was shoehorned into a much too small spot and was growing awkwardly. And what is the point of that? Good luck with your fall planting resolve!

    1. Yeah, flapjacks blooming already. Wish they would have held off until next year.

      My 'Pink Ice' is growing awkwardly in plenty of space--awkward is the normal for that plant.

      Thanks, I need some luck with that for sure.

  9. I'm impressed with your resolve not to buy any new plants until all of your orphans find homes. So much still going on in your garden while we're kind of winding down for the season.

    1. It's remarkably motivating. I've gotten four plants into the ground, and more planned.

      Prime gardening weather here is the opposite--fall is good, winter is best, spring is good, summer means hiding in the house complaining until it is over.


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