Garden State At The Start Of October


Rose 'The Endeavour' stares intently at Cuphea 'Vermillionaire'

I'm still working on reducing the height of shrubs shading the veggie-cutting area.  Progress has been made, but slowly.

I still need to chop off everything approximately above that white line:

I had to clip the Pittosporums flat back to the fence line first so I could reach.  And there have been plenty of distractions and other things to do.  Seed growing and seedling care, for one.  Snapdragon seeds planted, just for fun:
The Calendulas and Foxgloves are almost big enough to be planted out:
Many phone calls, emails, and texts to find a guy to clear a blockage in that downspout.  Too high up for me!

Turns out there was a tennis ball stuck in there.  Long story.  

Sammy care, of course, comes first:
I hired the guy who cleans out the back culvert to remove some of the Fescue and Oxalis infested Dymondia out front.  Looks like a lot:

But it really wasn't enough. It's just a start.  Shaking all the soil out of the above pile too and putting the soil back where it had been, minus the plant material, took me a couple of hours.  More removal still to do. 

Time spent deciding where to re-plant these two Aloe buhrii which spent the summer in the shade, now fully recovered from being Very Unhappy on the front slope:

They were unhappy where the two white stars are:
I'm thinking I'll try them where the two blue stars are. 

Speaking of the street side area of the garden. It's always mostly ignored all summer because in summer its just too hot to go out there and look at it.  Time to look again.  Big Marmorata is starting to flower:

Not to worry:  she's got an offset to take her place.  She did well in that spot.  I'll replace her with her offset. 

Overall the front slope somehow looks better.  No doubt  another effect of the lavish 22-23 rainfall season.

The Yucca 'Bright Stars' are blooming.  Brief, but showy:

Aloe flowers before long.  It's October, after all:
Aloe reitzii's flowers lasting much longer than Yucca flowers do.  Reitzii signals the end of summer and anticipates the main Aloe bloom season: 

Only one Drimia stem so far, but the others often bloom later for reasons only they know:

Other distractions from Pitto chopping--I now remember buying a white Dahlia this past winter, but don't remember the name, and can't find it in any blog post.  Oh, well. 

Dahlias will be done soon.  Not a stellar year--but they are still stellar flowers.  

 'Cafe Au Lait' looking pinky:
And cafe-y:

The beach umbrella shading the bed I re-habbed this spring is now removed.  Everything survived the summer. 

Lavender color added to the area opposite the oak tree, to be further refined next year.  The washed-out red of Leucodendron 'Harlequin' looks right with lavender--which is sort of a washed-out purple, in a way.

The lavender of the Pentas and of Salvia 'Flower Power' look identical, while the flower and foliage shapes contrast.  Low growing Saliva 'Blue Hill' needs to be moved as the arrow indicates, to edge the path:

I chopped that Cuphea to the ground back in...June, I think--and it's like I never did it.  The Tagetes erecta flowers are a disappointment in size--I thought the flowers would be much bigger--but the touches of yellow color look good with the Cuphea and yellow rose:
More beautiful roses as October begins.  Impulse buy in June, 'Silas Marner' looks like it might be a good one:
Another round of flowers from the wonderful 'Bishops Castle:
New foliage sprouting on Podocarpus 'Icee Blue':
Ooh, there's a nice way of looking at one of the 'Blue Flame' Agaves:

And a bee enjoying Coleus flowers. 
So much to get distracted with.  No wonder the Pitto chop is taking so long. 


  1. Love the 'Endeavor' rose and Cuphea combination. I think I had a touch of vertigo just looking at that ladder standing next to the shrubs you're trimming but then I don't even like step ladders. Best wishes and be careful!

    The Agave marmorata is beautiful but it looks huge. I don't envy you the job of taking it out when it's done blooming - I took out an Agave 'Blue Flame' this weekend (a pup planted years ago in the wrong place) and it nearly knocked me out for the rest of the day. I think I "need" a Podocarpus 'Icee Blue'.

    1. Comment success by right clicking , going to This Frame, opening a new browser. Good grief!

      Not sure if those two oranges go together, but--both plants are happy so I should be too.

      I use a pole pruner and pole saw from the middle of the ladder-- I don't go up very high.

      Yes the marmorata is HUGE. Well, what the heck. It's fun.

      You do "need" a blue Podocarpus!

    2. By right clicking where it says "enter comment", that is.

  2. My, but you are ambitious! It looks like you will have to stand at the very top of that ladder to cut back those pittos -- scary. They are, by the way, doing quite a nice job of providing privacy. Do they smell good, too? It is a nice feeling to be able to walk around in your own back yard and not be entertainment for the neighbors. A peaceful feeling. Hard to believe that moving those two aloes just that short distance will make a difference, but I bet it does. There are mini-microclimates all over my small backyard, I'm sure you have the same. You really have to spill about the tennis ball; how on earth did it get all the way up there? Didn't care much for dahlias before seeing your cafe au laits, my appreciation has grown since. Street-side looks wonderful! Your garden looks like it is just that beautiful naturally. Hah! It belies all your hard work. I may be jinxing it, but I don't seem to recall Santa Anas this year; if so, they were quite mild. I could get used to that. Happy October! Elizabeth

    1. Sorry it took me days to figure out how to comment when blogger kept refusing.

      I don't go way up on the ladder I use a pole saw and pole pruner. I do love the feeling of being in a much larger garden when I can't see the neighbor's house or the street. It's been worth the trouble of the tall screening plants. Some Pittosporum flowers have more fragrance than others--I've noticed a faint sweetness from that species when they bloom but it is not strong. Mini-microclimates--many here too. Just a little too much from the sprinkler in the white star place, a little less in the blue star place should work.

      The tennis ball--someone thew it up there and it fell into the gutter and eventually found its way to the lowest point of the gutter where the downspout is and blocked the downspout. I'm not saying who threw it. I'm not!

      Santa Anas have not started yet. A mild one supposedly tomorrow, but there will likely be some bad ones ahead. There almost always are. Happy October gardening back atcha!

    2. Nooooooo! I thought we got away with it this year. I'm quite happy eith this mild weather and don't want to have to deal with hot again this year, doggone it.

    3. We had very few wind events last fall and that is a year to remember!

  3. Your garden is looking beautiful, you've done so much. I can't believe you go so high up on that ladder, AH! The aloe reitzii blooms are so vivid, I'm looking forward to various aloe blooms this year (fingers crossed) from some that have been in the ground a few years now. The leucodendron looks great there. I always think, this project will take 20 minutes - and 4 hours later I'm barely done.

    1. Finally found a way to comment!

      Thanks. I really don't go high up on the ladder. I have a 6' pole pruner and reach which gives me 8', enough to do a "good enough" job. If I want better I'll have to hire someone. If your Aloes have been in the ground a while probably flowers soon! My larger ones took 2-4 years. It varied. I'm still waiting on A. tomentosa which is maybe 8 years in the ground and still hasn't flowered. It looks happy and healthy flowers. Yet. Yep, been there--a quick clean up turns into all day.

  4. The front slope is looking fantastic! So will the bloom on the Agave marmorata keep developing, or go on pause for the "winter" months?

    1. Okay! if I "open frame in new window" commenting works. Sheesh! What is blogger doing?!? Thanks! I can't remember what the first marmorata did. It may slow down or it may not. It does take a long, long time to flower and a long, long time to dry up enough to remove. Such is the price of growing a monumental Agave.

  5. You had me with the first photo of this post. Sublime. Everything is looking fantastic. Kind of nice to putter when the weather cools down getting rid or changing the things that bugged you but really too hot to care about. I have a long list of things to do but running out of season. However, there is always next year when my energy levels pick back up. Be careful on the ladder.

    1. That photo turned out good. Thanks!

      My energy level jumps back up as soon as the weather cools down. "Running out of season." All too true! Here we get a re-start of the fun stuff. The break we get now is from emergency watering to keep things from frying.

  6. Oh my goodness...your Dahlias and your Roses...swoon! That white Dahlia looks lovely with the Marigolds. I'm so impressed with all your plant combinations and your projects. Wow.

    1. Thanks! The marigold performance (excellent) was a real surprise. It's been an amazing gardening year--double our average yearly amount. Oct 1st is the start of a new "rain year"--we're all wondering if it will be a good one.

  7. I love that Drimia with the 'twist', the white Dahlia mixed with orange Tagetes (?) and something purple in the background, but more than anything I'm envious (again) of your Podocarpus 'Icee Blue'... sigh.
    Looking forward to Aloe blooms season, especially the orange ones... love the orange ones.

    1. Orange Aloe flowers look good with 'Icee Blue', too. :)

  8. It is very satisfying to get that green illusion of no neighbours right. We are at the eww gaps everywhere stage as I cut back ... then wait for it to green over, just there, where I NEED the screen.

    1. Amen. I've been working at getting the Green Illusion (well said, Diana!) for years and years--only the last few has it started to really work. Of course then a new issue--keeping all the shrubs just tall enough to screen but not so tall they over-shade certain areas. It's always something!


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