Garden At The Moment/Natasha

 A mistake is an opportunity to do something else  -- artist Ralph Steadman


My opportunity was to reduce the height of the front two Metrosideros 'Springfire's.  Mistake was:  they've grown tall enough to deprive the veggie/cutting garden of much winter sun.

Hmm.  Not shortened enough:

Better?   No?   Another couple of feet, maybe? 

I planted the 'Spring Fire's there originally to screen out the house across the street.  It's a beautiful house, but a foliage screen seemed better--providing a feeling of being in a private garden far away from increasingly over-crowded California.   But it, was time to shorten 'Spring Fire's.  Both green bins are stuffed full, so another two feet off the top must wait. 

The 'Cara Cara' orange tree needed topping, so I worked on that, too.  

 It's the dark green next to the column:

A fruit tree is best short enough so the fruit can be harvested safely and without much difficulty.   A little more should come off, but the tree is loaded with green fruit that will be ripe in January.  It's shortened enough for now. 

Three recent purchases planted:  'Southern Border' Cuphea, the mini Lavender purchased back in spring, and 'Flower Power' Salvia.   The Cuphea and Lavender replace a Lantana at the edge of the walkway that just wasn't Lantana-ing enough. 

The Salvia with its cool pink, almost lavender flowers replaced the Pimelea  'Magenta Mist' which was fabulous this spring but--it felt like a Salvia would work better there.   Next summer, lavender Catharanthus instead of white down the center of the area.   White didn't seem to work.  I moved a Mangave 'Kaleidescope' that was next to the Pimelea.  It was obviously unhappy.

Insufficient warmth and sun: 

In a sunnier, warmer place after just a few days it looked dramatically better:
 Calendula and Foxglove seedlings growing:

Started some Snapdragon seeds, which have sprouted:

Volunteer sweet pea seeds are appearing at the perfect time.  There's a packet of seeds to plant in place as well.

It suddenly occurred to me I could just as well have planted the new fig tree to espalier inside the tomato fortress as outside.  Duh.  Not too late to move it...

Most of the succulents in the "hospital" bed adjacent to the new fig have recovered or grown and can be replanted elsewhere.  

A couple of shots of succulents with no need for intensive care. One of 'Moby's children Agave ovatifolia with a Kumara plicatilis, Crassula arborescens, and Aloe sabaea aka Aloidendron sabaeum on far left:

Curio (aka Senecio) ficoides 'Mount Everest' with Agave 'Blue Glow' and Russellia:

I have no idea what this (finally) flowering Dahlia is.  It bears no resemblance to the picture on the package it came in:

Old reliable 'Duet' was also late but looks spectacular:
Many beautiful roses at the moment.  The new 'Silas Marner', still in a pot:

'Apricot Cream':
 Poor 'Darcy Bussell', her new growth constantly eaten by rabbits for years, may finally be coming into her own.  Adding screens to every gate was so worth the trouble!
A neighbor gave me a beautiful piece of Olneya tesota log she had no use for and was going to discard.  The plan is to drape the big clump of Tillandsia on it, instead of mounting the Tilly on a board:

Natasha had her follow up vet visit.  Her liver panel numbers have improved, but need to come down further.  She'll continue on the medication for two more months and will get a re-check then to see if the numbers are back where they should be.  

She's still her beautiful self, even considering the occasional morning vomit.  She looks happy again, finally:   

Boris is doing well but needs a b-a-t-h, so no glamorous picture until he gets one this weekend.


  1. Pruning is never really done it seems. My own Metrosideros 'Springfire' is getting large at last and leading me to wonder which succulents I'm going to need to move in order to accommodate it.

    You've done great work tweaking your planting scheme and I'm very impressed by all your seedlings. I could use a plant hospital too but have no idea where I'd put it. I've been tempted to get rid of my Curio 'Mount Everest' when I renovate the bed they occupy but, seeing yours, I'm wondering if mine just get too much shade under the Arbutus - maybe they'll do better in the spot formerly occupied by the Auranticarpa (once the stump is removed).

    I'm glad Natasha's doing better!

    1. I hope you like the 'Spring Fire'. It's been really good here and the nectar feeders love it.

      I knew there would be more pruning needed after all that rain--didn't realize how much, though. A nice problem to have--better than drought!

      The 'Mount Everest' definitely wants sun and seems to have no problem with reflected heat from the masonry wall.

  2. (Have finally caught up) Such a relief that Natasha is responding well to her treatment!

    1. Almost springtime for you now. Enjoy!

      Thanks, a big relief she's feeling much better, especially the last three days.

  3. First: Senecio, 'Blue Glow' and Russellia... what an extraordinary view!

    If you expect critter to compete with you over ripe figs, definitely move that baby inside the fence. Glad you thought of it before it becomes too big of a job.

    Who can't find use for an Olneya tesota log??? Or any log for that matter (at least in my world :-D).
    One can never tell when the next gift is coming from. Lucky you.

    Glad Natasha is improving, and Boris will be smelling sweet soon. Chava

    1. Nice to let the dogs out in the morning and see those plants. :)

      Yes, lucky!

      Samoyeds are good about not having much of an odor. The double coat seems to hold it in, or keep it out. maybe. Which is why mine don't get a b-a-t-h quite as often as they should. They are very okay with that, though.

  4. Your photos with the Metrosideros remind me that silvery blue leaves are great combined with a bright leafy green and a deep rich red flower. I've got seeds to plant myself so that they get their winter stratification period. Bought plenty of native flower seeds, including California poppy 'Red Chief' that will give me some of that color combination of red and silvery blue that I love. Happy Natasha is feeling better!

    1. Have had issues commenting off and on--sorry for delay. 'Red Chief' is a beauty of a poppy, hope it does great for you. Best wishes for success with your winter seeds.

      Thanks--Natasha is feeling pretty good--she'll get a check to see how much next week from the Vet.

  5. I am so glad one of Moby's offspring lives on in your garden. I was not such a good steward. Happy that Natasha is doing better, fingers crossed for continued improvement.

    1. I actually have six mini-Mobys--got two, one morphed into six for reasons unknown, planted six, gave one away. Such a beautiful Agave! I love them. Natasha, she's been a struggle, but she's pretty stable now. Thanks. I hope that means the medicine is working.


Post a Comment

Always interested in your thoughts.

Any comments containing a link to a commercial site with the intent to promote that site will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding on this matter.