Wednesday, February 27, 2019

More Spikies!

A few weeks ago, i posted some pictures of my agaves. For this wednesday vignette post, here are some more...

agave kisso kan, one of three

agave 'Rum Runner" still one of my best big box store finds ever!

agave 'Royal Spine", from above

Agave 'Blue Glow', also from above

agave 'i should look up the name' 
Good thing there is no such thing as too many agaves!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Thinking of Spring...

As everyone keeps reminding me, it's not spring yet. Out here, we can get frost until about mid March. So, to keep myself from rushing ahead, i figured i would write down the key projects i want to do this year, so i can think about Spring, but not kill any plants with my over enthusiasm yet!

I'm doing this as a "tell the truth" tuesday post, because you can see some of the before pictures... and they are not pretty! Hopefully, there will be better pictures later this spring! Thanks Allison for keeping me honest about all these parts of my garden!

In the back garden, i want to:

  • Set up pots around the stock pond
like this mock up i did a few month ago
  • Replace some of the dead/dying pink muhly grass along the stream bed
many of them look like this (those are poppy seedlings, and not weeds!
also, i should just keep "kill the gophers" on a regular list, like weeding.
  •  figure out what to do with the 4th planting bed on the hill side

it needs a bushy ground cover - i'm thinking of a couple of options. And maybe a less dead tree?
  • plant something on the top edge of hillside, under the pine trees
or maybe leave it mulch, but at least clean up the dead stuff!
  • reconfigure the "mangave pot" area with different ground covers & flowers
i'm thinking a new yucca, and wildflowers?
  • clean up and replant the area under the palo verde tree that can now be seen
um... yes? replace the yarrows?
  • Hang up some plants/pots/decorations on the south side of the house on the empty wall
this is on the south side, and usually dry... i'm thinking maybe pots with cacti 

In the front garden, i want to:

  • figure out/fix the watering system around the "rock pond" bed - it's not working and killing the plants
in particular the areas to the left and right of the giant clump of dead purple fountain grass
  • clean up and change the plants on the north side - the guara are way overgrown
and others need to be trimmed back hard to see what will happen
  • clean up the old red yucca (hersperaloe) in the corner - it deserves better!
this was one of the first plants i ever planted (also, yes, clean up leaves is on the list!)

Of course, a general goal i should have is to stay ahead of the million weeds that are about to spring up in the DG around the garden. After all the rain, i predict it will be epic this year. But i know myself well enough to know that i won't be staying ahead of the weeds too well... plus they are easier to pull all at once right?!

Now i'm off to look at plants to buy for these projects, and counting down the days to it being dry and warm enough to start cleaning up.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

The Desert in December - 1 / 3

In late December, with family visiting, we drove all around the Mojave  desert area. In three days, we saw three completely different views of "the desert" in december. For fun (and because i can only share so many pictures of piles of trimmings...) I'm sharing some pictures from all three days.

The first visit was out near Victorville. If you wonder why we visited Victorville, it's because we went to go look at a parking lot:

specifically, one of the storage facilities of recalled diesel Volkswagens
there are also some airplanes:
mostly in storage, and hard to see. You can't really get closer
As the pictures show, it was a blue sky, light overcast kind of day. It was about 70 degrees F.
the desert - brown, blue, mountains, and joshua trees
Once we were done looking at parking lots, we visited a bottle tree farm. One of those random, only the Western US, middle of nowhere-ish kind of places.
it was actually very cool!

the clear desert sun light really made everything sparkle!

one person did a lot of this work - both the bottles and the metal sculptures
Perhaps this video gives a little better idea of how cool and eerie this place is:

the legacy of aerospace being a major area employer
december in the desert!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Something Different - Wednesday Vignettes From Above

I spend a lot of time on airplanes (for work). Usually, these trips happen at night, and i'm either sleeping, or watching some horrible movie. Or falling asleep while watching some horrible movie. During the day, with that annoying in flight wifi, i'm usually working. But earlier this year, i had a flight during the day, with no work, and a window seat. Here are some views of Nature at 35,000 ft.

I have no idea where this is?
We were flying from the East Coast to LAX, and this is looking south.

it was a late afternoon flight, so the shadows made the terrain jump out

pretty much no signs of humans

or water, for that matter

after a while, it started getting a little hazy. 
then there was snow!

These pictures are in flight order (so heading more west as we go through the post).
more snow

a river! (which one?)

snow, and more haze. 
Sometimes it worth looking out the window! And while i understand there are lot of downsides to modern air travel, i'd much rather fly over all that than go by covered wagon... Which is a good thing to keep in mind when my next flight is delayed by another 3 hours.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Garden Visit - Wineries in Morgan Hill

Every once in a while, I visit Northern California with family, and that usually involves a visit to the winery! These pictures from the last visit to Clos LaChance seemed like the perfect thing to cheer up this wintery weekend:


vines & hills

the roses were a bit past their prime, but still gorgeous

hills and oaks and vines and flowers
These are some of the pictures i think of when i think of winter in California !

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Garden After the First Rain (Wednesday Vignettes)

I found these pictures on my phone today, and even though they are now a bit old (from Nov 2018), I really wanted to share them here. This was the first (significant) rain we'd had since 2017, and the combination of clouds and time of day made the light look very strange...

the stock pond filled up

everything looked almost pink (this picture has no filters!)

agave "Royal Spine" with rain drops


xMangave "Tooth Fairy" with rain drops

clouds, wet DG and all the happy plants

the pond in a larger view
So far (Feb) this winter has been wetter than the last few, which has been great. The light has never been quite like this again though!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tell the Truth Tuesday - sad agave...

Allison at Bonney Lassie has been encouraging everyone to share the not-so-great parts of our gardens. While i haven't been doing a lot of gardening, a break in the rain this weekend left some time to address the truth that one of my agaves didn't look so good:

...that doesn't look good!
Much to the delight of all my neighbors, that's in the front garden. This poor agave (unidentified when it was planted) had been declining for a while. The first part of cleaning it up just exposed more of a mess: 
pretty sure i know what/who the culprit is!
Since rot doesn't usually cause dirt to migrate into the center of the agave, it looks like the gophers are back. Sigh. 

Thankfully, a replacement candidate was waiting in the back garden pipes:
its been here for a while, gaining size
This is agave franzosinii 'Lost Wax', from the Ruth Bancroft garden. It was high time for it to get out of the pipe, before it takes over like Mr. Ripple has. A few moves with a shovel and some new gravel mulch, and it's in the front garden:
where it will have plenty of room to grow
The blue works well with the blue ball decoration and everything else. It's on a slope, so the rain shouldn't bother it too much. I will be upset if the gophers eat this one, although there's another pup safely protected from them.

Some other things i got done this weekend while the rains held off:

  • trim back all the roses
  • start to trim back the butterfly bush ( get to the roses)
  • debate whether its too early to cut back the grasses...
Any of those situations could have made for good "tell the truth tuesday" pictures, but sometimes cleaning up is the best part. Is it spring yet?