Front Slope Progress/July Miscellany

We've enjoyed more than a week of very mild (for July) weather, mild enough to make outdoor activity possible for heat-avoiders (me).

Front slope status:  struggled though some irrigation improvements.  Beloved to the rescue!  Addition of a section, some repositioning, and new rotator nozzles have improved coverage.  Those things accomplished, plus the mild weather, enabled planting activity.
Agave 'Leaping Lizards', purchased on our vacation last October, finally got a place of honor (with irrigation!):
 A couple of months ago, two Agave ovatifolia 'Moby 2.0' from Pam in Austin, Texas went in.  Lots of empty space around them, but they get large and need the space.  To their left, an extra big space for an eventually extra big Agave marmorata, planted a year or two ago:
And the main re-planting area:
 1. Aloe 'David Verity'
2. Aloe 'Erik The Red'
3. Aloe alooides
4. Aloe sabaea
5. Agave salmiana 'Medio Picta'
6. Agave 'Blue Glow'
7. Senecio mandraliscae
8. Agave 'Mateo'

You can just stick cuttings in the ground and they will grow.  Even in July.  
Trying a new experimental tactic on the ever-problematic edge of the front slope:  a little ditch, in hopes the soil won't drift into the street.  Filling the ditch with the equally problematic Sencio mandraliscae, an easy-to-root, vigorous grower that requires more maintenance than I care to give it.  It has ugly flowers that bees and butterflies love.  So it stays, for now. 

In other front slope events, another Yucca 'Bright Star' flower is emerging.  The first is already fading, but it was spectacular for a few days:

A surprise summer flower stem just appeared on big bold Aloe rubroviolacea. Perhaps it was the extra irrigation it got from all the testing of the irrigation rework. 
Photo-bombed on the lower right by a Senecio flower.
 Two Drimia maritima (formerly Urginea maritima) flower stems also appeared this past week.  None of the three bulbs flowered last year, for reasons only they know.  Happy to see them back.  
 Mulch and time to grow will finish off the front slope for a while.  I'm still working to convince myself putting down six cubic yards of mulch won't physically hurt.  That, in itself, is a project. 

Elsewhere in the garden...

 Liatris spicata flowers opened in the patio/koi pond garden:
 With Dahlia 'Nuit d'Ete' and Salvia 'Ebony Embers'
New small project:  improving the appearance of the patio.  A lot of odd small tools and materials like plant ties, the screens that go in the bottom of pots to hold soil in, pond-water tests--items that are good to have handy and that are accessed frequently (almost daily), end up on the patio and look so very untidy.  Must figure out a way to store them so they are at hand, but not visible.  Toolbox? 
Almost got an Oriole portrait at the urn.  
What skinny legs he has!
Finally worked up the courage to split the Aechmea blanchetiana 'Orangeade'.  It was massive, though not at all heavy.
 Two rosettes to a big blue pot on the patio.  Twice a day sun hits it just right and it lights up and glows
A rosette each to pots sunk into the ground.  I put one back in the original spot, on the right, and the other where a seedling day lily got a trial and failed in the beauty department.  Both rosettes have a Lomandra 'Platinum Beauty' as a companion, unfortunately not a wowza combination.  I thought maybe something in the burgundy-foliage range would be far better.  Another project for the list.  
Behind the right side Lomandra, Begonia 'Irene Nuss'  is having another good year after quite a few sad ones:

Stuck the recently purchased little Pentas in the empty place in front of the Aechmea:
That garden to-do list never seems to get shorter.  No complaints there.  A mild July has been heaven. 


  1. Can hardly wait to see how your new additions fill in their space. Got a good laugh (as I sit on my heating pad) re: moving bark mulch. On the weekend my husband and I moved 20 yards of soil and mulch. Don't kid yourself, it's gonna hurt.

    1. 20 yards!!!!!!!! And you survived to tell the tale. I'm very impressed. Bravo!!!

      I know it will hurt, trying to motivate myself to do it anyway.

  2. Yes, delightful weather for gardening and sleeping. I can "work", i.e., garden, outside till almost noon. May I join your heat-avoiders club?

    1. Join the club! Heat predicted for Thurs-Sat at least. Oh well. It is after all the end of July...

  3. I really like how the orange of Aechmea blanchetiana 'pop' on either side of the path. Feels harmonious. I'm drawn right away to the new Aloes - especially the A. sabaea which I think has such a fantastic, drooping, shape when it gets older. Love the Dahlia shot as well!

    1. The Aechmea is super bold--I really don't have anything in the way of tropicals (because too thirsty!) which are the really bold plants visually. The Aechmea has been fun.

      Yes sabaea has such a fabulous droopy habit. Love it. It seems a bit touchy, so not sure if it will succeed or not here, but compelled to try.

  4. Congratulations on the successful irrigation project collaboration. It's wonderful to see all those baby Aloes and Agaves getting a good start in life. The Drimia flowers come up after the foliage dies back (like Amaryllis belladonna)? I noticed that my Drimia foliage died back some time ago without producing flowers and just figured I wasn't going to get any its first year in the ground. I've been avoiding my back slope because I have to suit-up to protect myself from the fire ants when I go down there but I guess I should make a trip soon. Your Aechmea look great!

    1. My Drimia experience has been the foliage dies in June and the flowers bloom in August; Amaryllis belladonna does the same here. Whatever it wants to do is fine with me. Mine did not bloom the first couple years as I remember. They are not plants in a hurry. Bought only one; the other two split off from the first. :)

      Oh yeah be careful with those fire ants. LAC has no control program for them? They are nasty, nasty beasts.

  5. Ooh - your new front slope will be fabulous, I'm sure! And kudos on getting so many projects done. I know exactly the feeling of having to "work up the courage" to tackle some of them. It feels great when I finally do, so I bet you're feeling quite accomplished right now. I love that Aechmea - wish I could grow it here, but I honestly don't need another plant that I'd have to protect in winter. Tempting as it may be...

    1. It does feel great to get dreaded jobs completed...maybe I can motivate myself with that idea--thanks!

      Yeah, that Aechmea would take up a whole lot of winter-protected storage space. It's BIG! (But stunning.)

  6. Your Aechmea "Orangeade" is a beautiful color and brings a different color for that strappy foliage into the garden. Makes me wish i could grow that one. I am glad you had such a nice July. I think your normal temps were here. We had the hottest July in 8 years. It is unsettling how the patio tables can accumulate things and get to looking like a yard sale display. ha... Good luck straightening up that area.

    1. Sorry to hear your July was very hot. May your August be mild.

      Yeah, there are places on the patio that look like a yard sale--the yard sale where nothing is worth buying, ha ha! (Though I've been working--it is not quite so bad as it was.)

  7. I'm impressed how you can start new plants in the middle of summer. That's not something I would be brave enough to try.

    1. It's been a pretty mild summer for a change. Very grateful for it! The past several have been so hot most of the time I never even went outside.

  8. I love your choices for the front slope! Can't wait to see how they fill in.

    My Drimia maritima is blooming for the first time ever!

    1. Enjoy. I'm thinking to add some similar bulbs in the spaces between Aloes/Agaves that can take the dry summer to ornament the front slope a bit in August, and some CA wildflowers seeds for winter. Have a few Amaryllis belladonna bulbs, and will order some CA wildflower seeds. Throwing a lot of Hunnemannia seeds out there too. Trying to kick it up a notch.

      The Drimia is great! Enjoy that flower. The flower stem gets taller as the bulb really establishes. Zero water required, just remove the foliage and flower stem after they are finished, done. My first bulb split into three after about 5 years, that's why there are three now. If you ever dig it up, you will be shocked at the amount of roots it has. A lot. They are like Agapanthus roots and deep in the soil.


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