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!


  1. You've made lots of progress, Renee! Gophers are worse than raccoons I think - my next-door neighbor has had problems with them but, so far, they haven't found their way into my garden. Best wishes with the Grevillea!

    1. i try to remember that each evil little creature has some actual purpose, although i'd be happy if the gophers just stayed away! The grevillea must have heard your good wishes... it actually started blooming!

  2. The salmon-colored, ripening cactus fruits do it for me right now. Though all the vignettes you have with intricate plantings are enjoyable, too...a good idea.

    1. my fruit is still green- i always think of them as a late summer flower! All my cacti need a good pruning/clean up to shine a little brighter in the garden. Right now they look a bit "side of the freeway"-ish... Thanks for visiting!


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