Sunday, June 25, 2017

Distracting from the heat!

We got our first crazy heat wave. While I managed to avoid the worst of the heat myself, the garden didn't. Here are some pictures from the beginning of the heat wave...

Turning this into a tree worked well this year!

This is a fun color combo right now.

There used to be a path here...

Some late opuntia flowers

Everything here is yellow right now!

This corner is looking much better now!

I like this combo too - still seeing whether this plant plans to survive...

It's very hard to get a good picture of the xMangave

It's been so hot, even the lizards are hiding! The heat is supposed to break tonight, so hopefully next weekend will be more gardening time!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Wordless Wednesdays

As a break between project updates, here are some vignettes from the past month.
A visitor


New and old favorites

Last austere poppies


Sunday, June 4, 2017

Project Update! - Front Garden

Alright, even if the calendar doesn't point to summer yet, the temperatures definitely do. It was ~90 degF by 9am this morning! Since it's kind of already too late to plant anything, let's see what kind of progress i made on my projects. This might be interesting only to me.

After ignoring my garden for too long, i documented what i wanted to finish this spring in the front garden and the back garden. Let's start with the front...

I mostly identified things that needed cleaning/cutting back/clearing up. I did most of that, and am making progress on the *stupid* bermuda grass that keeps growing. The front garden looks pretty, although i think it still needs a refresh?

I like this view - that orange lantana is the only one that ever comes back for me.  
The area behind the fucraea still needs some cleaning up - i'm not exactly sure what to do with everything that's back there. 
a. "low boy" is going to get way too big for this spot but looks lush right now.
Grevillea 'Red Hook' is still alive too, and even made a flower! The caesalpinia  pulcherrima (Red Mexican Bird of Paradise) is just now (6/4/2017) barely starting to come back. It gets another year reprieve, at least for now. One of the Russian Sages is not very happy, and will probably get replaced with something more interesting.
The germander (teucrium) is starting to fill in and cover the rocks (and blooming!)
I chopped the roses back a lot, and they responded! The pictures below are from early may, when they were at their peak:
The cherry tree also had a very successful year. 
The roses look a little washed out here - in person they are a dark red.
 One extra project was replacing one of the grasses on the dry stream bed, since it got too much shade to ever bloom. That's been done too, although i'm not sure the replacement is working 100%. But all in all, not bad progress for spring! 

Now, some goals for summer/fall:
  • find something for the blue pots - since whatever i put here needs to survive with almost no water, it should be ok to plant before fall.
  • keep on top of the bermuda grass!
  • find some interesting plants to replace some of the original plants - i know it makes for better "garden design" but i don't need that many red sages...
  • figure out what to do with area next to front door
  • trim up the opuntias next to the cherry tree
As a whole, the front garden shouldn't need too much work to look good this summer, which is yet another benefit of getting rid of the grass. My neighbors probably appreciate this look better than my poorly cut lawn!

Progress has been made in the back garden as well - i'll document that next. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Just some pictures

Earlier this week, I took a bunch of pictures of my garden as I was about to leave it for a few days again. I didn't want to post them all to Instagram, so I'm putting them here! This is my garden looks like on a random Tuesday in May:
Agave 'Crazy Horse' - love the stripes!

A. lophantha 'Quadricolor which usually hides under grass

Agave whichever 'Cream Spike'

The new kid on the block: A 'Snow Glow'

Still amazed these aloes grow and seem happy!

Purple and yellow!
The first of the daisies that reseeded everywhere

Hiding under the Palo Verde blooms

Green, silver and purple on the hillside
 Even though I'm a bit late, I'm linking to both Carol at May Dreams Garden for Bloom Day and Pam at Digging for Foliage Follow-up. There are way more gardens, blooms and foliage at both their blogs that I can look at while I'm away from mine!

Sunday, May 14, 2017


One of the first garden blogs that I discovered when i was trying to figure out what might grow in my garden was Digging, with Pam Penick. One of her signature plants was of course Moby - her agave ovatifolia, who bloomed (as documented on Pam's blog and instagram) recently. Moby was definitely the inspiration for my own two agave ovatifolia, and Pam's blog has been a source of many other ideas, as well as wonderful pictures and advice over the years.

After Moby bloomed, Pam was kind enough to share bulbils with many people, as she documented in this update post. There is now one extra spot that Moby lives on... my garden!

Three little baby agaves!
Pam was kind enough to share three Moby bulbils and after getting them potted up, i let them out into the wild for some "family portraits":
This is the newer of my two a. ovatifolia - i think this is 'Vanzie'
The plant in the picture above was planted a few years after the one below. It's also in a slightly shadier spot - i don't know whether its that or because it's 'Vanzie' that the leaves are a lot pointier than my other a. ovatifolia.
a. ovatifolia and the babies!
The 'Desert Museum' Palo Verde has also started blooming in celebration! Hopefully the baby whale tongue agaves will like it here. I'll let them get a bit bigger in their pots before finding spots in the ground for them.

Thanks again to Pam for sharing Moby's spawn, and for all the inspiration over the years!

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Weekend Gardening - 5/7/2017

After several weekends away from the garden, I was finally able to do some more work this weekend. Here are some pictures of things that look mostly good the first weekend of May.

We'll start with the back garden, since that's where I spent most of the time, cleaning the patio and potting up some new plants.
The poppies are done, but now the sage is growing up.
I still have to pinch myself about the hill side. It still needs work, but it looks full!
The Dasylirion longissimum is blooming?
It doesn't seem big enough to bloom yet... Weird!
Always nice to see the cactus isn't dead!
Palo Verde starting to bloom!

More yucca bloom spikes!

This one too... It's going to get crowded in this corner.

Agave 'kissho kan' survived again!

Ground cover running amok!
That's Epilobium canum, bent on world domination. Kris at Late to The Garden Party shared some of her ground covers this week. I should follow her good example and clean this area up a bit!
C. 'little john' has started blooming!
The next few pictures are from the bed that I mostly redid earlier this spring. The plants are starting to grow in!
And so are all the red yucca seedlings.
New plants here!

Like many people, I was very interested in the new xMangave varieties that seemed to become available this year. I got several, and we'll see how they do. They are all in pots for right now.

The front garden is also starting to bloom. I need to send some time out there weeding, but two areas look good with no help from me...
Rosa 'Blaze' was original to the house, and blooming beautifully right now
Yucca and flower friends
I was so happy to be enjoying the garden this weekend! This is the one area of my life I enjoy a never-ending to do list.

Friday, April 28, 2017

April Poppies!

After our winter of rain, we had a few weeks of spring weather. There were lots of comments about a #superbloom, so of course I had to visit the poppy reserve and see for myself. This was from about 2 weeks ago. It did not disappoint!

There were fields of orange
Lots of orange!
Poppies stay closed when it's overcast or windy, so early in the morning, they weren't as open. The fields were still pretty though.
A bit less bright, but still everywhere.
Poppies everywhere!
There were some areas where the yellow wild flowers were more prevalent:
Yellow fields on the west side of the park
Yellow and orange blending together
Up close, the color variations in the poppies are easier to see:
Yellow and orange.
Bi-colored and orange
There are many other flowers besides the California poppies, but they only really standout in close-ups!
White flowers
In addition to the plants, the desert wild life was out too:
From the friendly...

... to the not so friendly!

The super-bloom lived up to it's billing! It's already getting hot now (and windy), so I'm sure the flowers will be gone soon. The ones in my garden will stick around longer. But that's part of what makes the big fields of wild ones so special - the golden hills of California only stick around for a bit!