Early October In The Garden
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
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.
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?