Some Fine Tuning

  Fine tuning here and there this week.  Reflective and insulated plastic bag to reduce the sun's heat hammering the back of the gate's Woolly Pocket planter.  Hopefully less stress for the Pelargonium roots.  The bag was headed for the trash--might as well get extra use out of it first.

I dug up all the Dutch Iris bulbs planted here last fall...

...and planted them where I pulled out the Oxalis-infested Dymondia.  Hopefully next spring they will grow and flower there.  

'Bernarys Giant Mix' Zinnia seeds planted to replace the Iris for this summer.  Some hardware-cloth scraps mark the seed location and protect them from various beaks and paws. 

Still working on that axial view thing.  Noted: a few white sweet pea flowers that appeared are what shows up at a distance.   Need white Iris or a white rose and white sweet peas for that tuteur next spring:

 The 'Endless Summer' Hydrangea was getting stressed by sun and reflected heat around noon every day.  Until it is time to move the Hydrangea, rigging some shade for it corrects the problem.  No more drooping:

I'd much rather look at shade cloth and wire fencing than at a badly sunburned Hydrangea with fried flowers and toasted foliage.  

In the next photo, a highly visible location where the patch of beige cloth sits once hosted a Centaurea ragusina.  Loved and still love Centaurea ragusina, but its eye-arresting white-silver foliage looked wrong there, distracting from everything else.  I pulled the Centaurea with much regret, (planting three elsewhere) and stuck some Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' rosettes in the Centaurea's spot.   

'Fred' had the opposite effect--in the hot dry location, it was either invisible in the shadow of the Hemerocallis clump, or showing off sun burned leaves.  Out shopping for a ceramic pot plate (no luck), I spied freshly stocked 'Little Lucky Lemon Cream' Lantanas.  Perfect for the former Centaurea spot:  Tough, heat-loving, not thirsty, about the right size at maturity, and attractive without the overwhelming brightness of the Centaurea.  Butterflies like it, too. 

All the Dymondia/Oxalis mess is out.  Now I notice there is too much Day lily foliage.  Too repetitive. 

 Always something, grumble grumble:

Another of the same Lantana into the Dymondia-removed area, covered by a shade cloth and basket for a few days until it settles in.  Same hot dry conditions at the edge of the pavement:

A daylily clump or two or three will come out this autumn.  I'll replace them with Salvia nemerosa 'Blue Hill' for a contrast in texture, form, and height.  Bees like 'Blue Hill' as much as rabbits don't.

Salvia 'Blue Hill''s color goes with everything:

Also the area had an empty place that was occupied by a red Pentas last year.  I moved a large pot of Dahlia 'Marble Ball' into said empty place for the summer.  The many extra Dahlia purchased this winter will be put to good use--hopefully:

Pondering the Cuphea with the pinky daylily nearby.  The pure clear orange Cuphea with the softer muted warm pink of the daylily doesn't seem to work.  Once upon a time I was okay with that.  Now, unsure.  It's getting those little details right that can make a garden the best it can be.  Fine tuning.  
Daylily color can be tricky to harmonize with other flower colors.  At least, for me.   

Though the soft colors of the same daylily look quite nice with the soft yellow in the variegated foliage of Lavender 'Meerlo':

A six pack of Ageratum in cells potted up to 4" squares have quickly more than doubled in size in only 10 days.  Pondering to create a little river of blue with them, rather than just randomly sticking one here and there, where they will look randomly stuck here and there, lonely.

No apologies for the hardware cloth cylinders around so many plants.  Blankety-blank rabbits!  

Time to harvest onions.   Not a great crop this year--they did not bulb up much.   The veggie/cutting garden room may be getting too shady.  Must trim the Pittos and shorten the Metrosidoeros a bit.  Details, details.  Fine tuning.  

Some of the onion crop curing on the patio. Still a bargain cost wise, compared to grocery store prices.  

But mustn't end with a bunch of onions, right?  

Done any garden fine-tuning lately? 




ks said…
Fine tuning is my life! The tray I started of Benarys Giant went into the hell strip-and something immediately went to work chewing on it. Not snails, no slime trails and an inhospitable location so I decided it was earwigs, a search on the UC IPM website showed matching damage. The solution was to get them big enough to outgrow the damage on the lower leaves. Now feeding weekly to pump them up and it seems to be working.
Kris Peterson said…
All you swap-outs look good. You might like Cuphea 'Honeybells' with that daylily - the Cuphea has a peachy-coral cast.

I've started pulling out the ugly foliage left behind courtesy of all my bulbs as it yellows. I wish the Dutch Iris foliage would die back faster. I also started cutting back my Echium webbii after the flowers burned out more quickly than ever before due to our periodic heat spells, taking cuttings to see if I can propagate it the way I did Echium handiense. The bunnies, who now appear to be permanent residents, are eating everything in sight so I've got wire cages all over too. They ate my Mahonia 'Soft Caress' down to a stick overnight!
janesmudgeegarden said…
I have recently pulled out a number of erigeron plants and replaced them with shasta daisies of a kind that I hope won’t be too rampant. The erigeron takes over quite large areas of the garden enveloping a lot of other plants. I found quite a few forgotten things underneath.
Hoover Boo said…

I'll watch for earwigs. Thanks for the heads-up on that. We're very lucky here to have so many lizards, and earwigs seem to be their favorite food. The seedlings appeared today, the package said 5-10 days and it was 5. Hope to get some actual flowers! Feeding with liquid fertilizer?

@Kris Hah! I was just outside cutting off the rest of the Dutch Iris foliage, too. Also the Freesias. Couldn't look at it any longer. I'll have a look at 'Honeybells', thanks!

Blankety-blank rabbits.

@janesmudgeegarden, shasta daisies not rampant here--too dry, maybe. Erigeron karvinskianus is the one you have? That is rampant here, well known enough as a wild spreader that I have never planted it. There's a neighbor with a big Italian Stone Pine that has Erigeron karvinskianus growing under it--only thing that will survive there. So it's good for extremely difficult sites, of which the area under a big Pine is a good example.
Interesting techniques; you are obviously an experienced professional. And your garden is thanking you for it. :)
luv2garden said…
I call 'fine tuning' putzing in the garden. Always looking to tweak and make things that much better. Gardeners are their own worst critics. I imagine if your garden belonged to someone else and you visited you would be struck by how beautiful it was. Caught my first pocket gopher leaving massive mounds of earth on top of my freshly mulched beds so can sympathize with your bunny issues.
Horticat said…
Your repurposed shopping bag/heat reflector is a cool idea (no pun intended). Well done on getting proper bulbs on your onions. My one and only onion effort resulted in big leaves and no bulbs. Too much nitrogen, I guess.

Many of my plants are in pots (renting). So I am endlessly moving/fine tuning various plant combinations.
chavliness said…
Whatever would we do if we couldn't endlessly tinker with our gardens? They are a constantly changing canvas and I am grateful. It's a dilemma, if your day lily looks right from one angle, but less so from another. If you are in a 'thinning' mode, I guess you can find just the right shade to look good from every direction.
Excellent reuse of the 'Woolly Pocket planter'
"A little river of blue", yes! Updates on that please.
Denise said…
Not much fine-tuning because it's all so young still, though I am shuffling things around a bit. Shasta daisies are a big deal, at least here on the coast. Interesting to see how much water some traditional garden plants want and/or can tolerate.
Hoover Boo said…
@Beth at PlantPostings,

Actually more of a bumbling amateur who gardens in a very forgiving climate!


Putzing, love that word. Very true, we are our own severest critics. If this garden belonged to someone else, I'd think they had great taste in plants but need to work a little harder, ha ha! Congrats on getting the gopher--they are really destructive--worse than rabbits.

@Horticat ,

Onions are a little complicated. There are "short day", "long day", and "neutral day" types. Here we grow onions in the winter so grow the "short day" type. Maybe that was part of the issue? Moving pots around is an excellent way to practice design, so that's a big plus for a gardener.


Maybe the house would be cleaner? ;^) Was just outside working on the "river"--will update. Guess it's more of a rivulet at the moment. Also wandered around looking at all the day lilys, to find one that would be a better pairing with the Cuphea. I could just switch the clumps...

@Denise, brand new garden, brand new adventure! Can't imagine having to figure out how much water a plant can tolerate. None of them get quite enough here, even the desert plants.

Unknown said…
Your fine tuning seems to be much more focused than my fine tuning. Mine is more a branch snipped here and there and a weed pulled occasionally. I just stare at all the plants sitting in ineffective spots, so I think your process is much more effective!
Horticat said…
Hmmm.. we grow onions over winter I’m my climate too, but I must admit, I did not check to see what day-length they were. I purchased them as seedlings, so assumed they’d be suitable to be planted at the time of year they were sold. But one never knows! Thanks for the tip