Sunday, July 23, 2017

Huntington Gardens - Palm Gardens

The first weekend in July, i went down to the Huntington gardens. There are so many different parts of the gardens, and they are all great. I flooded Instagram Stories with pictures, but here i wanted to show one of the gardens i usually don't spend a lot of time in - the Palm garden. Warning - this is a very picture heavy post! [is there such a thing as a blog post about the Huntington without a lot of pictures?]

The palm garden is across the walkway from the desert garden, which is normally what distracts me. They have all kind of palm trees, and they are all labeled. I of course didn't pay attention to the labels, so only some of them have names.

this is near the middle of the garden, which is on a pretty steep slope

a lot of the palms were blooming

i'm not sure how the staff decide which to trim and which to leave natural like this one

the path leads into the jungle garden

this is a bismarckia nobilis -its blue!

so many textures

this one was "cute" - i'm not used to seeing short palms like this one

most of them were giant

this is near the bottom of the garden - there's an entire forest of small/short palms here

this one is caryota gigas - there were several of these along the upper path.

palms and cyads
Speaking of cyads - the Huntington has a bunch of new ones, received as a bequest from Loran Whitelock (Huntington Magazine Article). There are several in the palm garden, and they're building a new area (behind the mansion) for a large number of them as well. They somehow managed to move over a thousand plants, with only 10 casualties!
in the palm garden

also in the palm garden

this one was blooming/making a seed cone

this is new area - looking towards the palm garden (mansion is on the left)
One last set of pictures from the Palm garden - all the different bark/stem/truck textures were awesome:
caryota gigas - with a crack

young caryota gigas

mature caryota gigas

bismarkia up close

cleaned trunk!

with all the shaggy stuff still on it
And here is something that i'm going to assume is not common, unless your world-class palm garden is across the way from your world-class cactus garden:
cactus in a butia capitata

different palm - but this cactus had been there a while!
I may not have any palm trees in my own garden, but they are pretty cool to see, especially all together!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Foliage Follow Up - July 2017

The day after Bloom Day, Pam at Digging hosts Foliage Follow Up - to look at foliage in the garden. With our heat, most of my foliage comes from agave and cacti. Here are some foliage-focused views right now:

this agave does not care much about heat...

I love the banding on the big furcraea in the front garden.

the opuntia is happily basking in our heat. 

my a. ovatifolia in actual shade from my palo verde tree.
 I'm probably far too excited about that tree finally making some shade for other plants.
my new plant lust - xMangave (here is 'Tooth Fairy') has lots of colors

a. 'Cream Spike' seems to mind the heat the least of all my variegated agaves
a. 'Royal Spine' (or 'Little Shark') is happy in the summer.

yucca rostrata lets the sun flow through its hair (um, leaves)

a. shawii looks like flames coming out of it's tube. 
It's not all spiky though - some soft leaves are adding some cooling silver tones to the garden:
centaurea gymnocarpa (here with seed heads) adds big pools of silver to the hill side

eucalyptus macrocarpa may never make blooms, but the silver foliage looks great over the warmer rocks
Go visit Pam's blog for more great examples of foliage in summer gardens!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Bloom Day - July 2017

It's bloom day! You can see lots of gorgeous blooms at Carol's blog - as always she is a most gracious host!

Most people have lots of great pictures of summer flowers in their garden, and are waxing poetically about summer evenings... Here, it's been over 100 deg F for 8 out of the last 12 days. And 12 out of the 15 days before that. Let's say there's a lot of room for improvement in how my garden looks in the summer. Especially since i'm not spending a lot of time out there right now.

Enough whining! Some flowers are toughing out the heat with me here:

some buddleja is still in bloom, here and there in the tree.

lantana (this is l. camara, which is the only one that's ever come back) just laughs at the heat.

the hoya kerrii, hiding in the shade, is making blooms and buds since the dove nest got moved.

does this still count as a bloom? Dasylirion quadrangulatum bloom

dicliptera suberecta is doing a lot better at making blooms this year. 

the grasses are kind of blooming - purple fountain grass here.

my vitex agnus-castus still has some washed out blooms

2nd flush of the daisies (i should dead head this one!)

a few erythrina x bidwillii blooms - more will come later!

you know it's hot when the russian sage looks washed out.

Coreopsis 'route 66' doesn't mind the heat.

here and there, a few sage blooms are still there - this is Salvia "Silke's Dream" which is new. 

most blooms wish they had protection like this late opuntia one...

Hey, one of the cacti is blooming! (wait...)
That's it for here! I'd say we're waiting for cooler temperatures, but that won't happen for a while. Maybe i just need more tough flowers - i'll spend between now and fall planting season thinking about all the potential heat lovers i could add to tempt me out into the garden in the heat of summer!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Project Update - Back Garden

I documented my progress on the front garden this spring here, and now it's the back garden's turn. I documented all the things i had to get done in this post, which includes a lot of pictures of ugliness! Let's see what progress i actually made...

Cleaning up all the trimmings was pretty easy, followed by weeding and trying to fix all the holes in the DG (getting there!) - so that's mostly done!

We'll call the wall color "rustic" and leave it at that...
 The bed with the buddleja looks better - i'm experimenting this year with succulents and aeonium this year. Several aeonium 'Mardi Gras' survived winter in that brown pot, so i'm optimistic!
the tree could probably be trimmed even harder next year?
 This spot used to be occupied by caesalpinia pulcherrima (bird of paradise), which should have come back, but it didn't (or i ran out of patience). I'm now tempting fate by putting a grevillea there. 
i should find the tag for this one...
 The area with the woody overgrown sage got cleaned up and the sage replaced with a new one! This is also where i put a bunch of the xMangave that i got this spring. You can't really see them, but they're there... The little ball is covering a gopher trap, because of course that's still going on.
also added mulch & all the pups are from the agave just to the left.
 This area also got some succulent experiments! It also got mint that appeared out of somewhere? this could be a problem, but if it outcompetes the bermuda grass, it can stay.
i should add rock mulch here, i think?
 The pot area got cleaned out, and i finally got rid of the dead smoke bush. Instead of replacing it, i've added some other plants (a blue salvia and an acacia) - we'll see what survives!
the acacia purpurea is still deciding on "dead or alive"
 The area between the sage bushes has made a lot of progress! The xMangave 'kaleidoscope' came back, and new mulch and a few small ground covers (not shown) seem to be surviving. Gophers remain, so plants disappear every once in a while, but other than that, the area looks nice.
i just planted an echinocereus - we'll see how it does.

the yellow is from the palo verde blooms - i really should clean that all up.
 The hill side has made some progress - mostly things i cut back and then let grow. There hasn't been much new added at all.
the one section is still a bit dreary - perhaps a bigger spruce up in the fall?

the acacia redolens 'Low Boy" really needs to be cut back even more!
The bed that was the worst of all was the next one - and it's made a lot of progress! Of course, just as i was taking these pictures, a family of gophers with a taste for red hesperaloe moved in - hence the metal cover in these pictures. But other than that, this bed has seen a lot of changes:
overall view

view without the bucket
Here's the list i made back in january:
  1. gopher mounds - the mounds are gone, and making progress on the gophers
  2. a mess of dead plant parts in the areas that get no water - cleaned it all up, and added new drip lines under the mulch for the new plants (all cuttings from the garden). This also made about a million hesperaloe seedlings pop up. 
  3. a massively leaning Cylindropuntia that is only getting worse and really needs fixing - pulled this one out, and took several large cuttings. They're now rooting in pots near the russian sage bushes. 
  4. a weirdly shaped opuntia microdasys that lost half of its arms when they cracked due to the rains. It's now draping itself over a very pretty Agave 'sharkskin'. The opuntia should probably come out altogether, and be replanted (or replaced with something else, but it matches the o. microdasys that's in the other patio bed, which is the only part of the garden that looks good!) - removed the opuntia, and replaced it with o. austrina, which should have orange flowers. 
  5. when the opuntia arm came off, it exposed a weird empty area between the opuntia and the callistemon 'little john', which needs planting - i didn't add much to this area of the bed yet - an agave 'Snow Glow' hiding under the flowers, and the opuntia are all that's there. I did cut back and divide the grasses, and put new mulch here too. The different shapes/colors/sizes of rocks feel a bit more natural, although sometimes also jarring?
  6. the random autumn sage bush in this bed needs trimming, but at least it's not woody.   - done!

So not bad! It's been helpful having these blog posts to look at and hold myself accountable for fixing these things. Fixing these areas has pointed out other areas that now need to be fixed. But that probably won't really happen until fall, when it's less hot. I'll try to document them this summer, so i don't forget!