Wednesday clippings 8/26/15

So what’s shakin’ this muggy end of August? As little as possible, you say? There’s been all manner of weird stuff going on, including a recurring problem with street-parked neighborhood cars getting their gas siphoned. This on the heels of the rash of catalytic converter thefts a couple months ago. And then there’s that wobble and/or meltdown in the stock market that’s got Marty cursing like the sailor he is. Lots of plant losses, of course. I could go on, but instead I’ll just paraphrase Annie Hall, that summer is full of misery and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly.

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For vigor so unstoppable all summer it borders on downright rudeness, you can’t beat a yucca.

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Yucca ‘Margaritaville’ has two bloom spikes, just this one showing for now, but there’s another spear gaining size.

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Proof that it’s not just a pleasure garden, but a working garden. With some reading and occasional napping too on muggy days…

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Knock wood, Grevillea ‘Moonlight’ seems to have survived its first summer. I am basically a gadget-free gardener, but this summer has sparked an interest in researching soil moisture sensors like they use in viticulture. There’s a lot of root competition from neighboring gardens, trees, hedges, and just when I think things are well-watered for a couple weeks, there’s signs of stress.
Unlike all the stuff I’m asked to review that I’m either (a) uninterested in or (b) unqualified to comment upon, a moisture gauge would get my thoughtful appraisal.

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This bocconia in particular has been a problem child in that regard. Supposedly drought tolerant when established, it’s a few years old now and still shouldn’t be getting the vapors if it misses a drink now and then.

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Well, here’s something cheerful. Max Parker kindly sent this photo to verify my Agave desmettiana ‘Joe Hoak’ had arrived safely at his new home. The trade was this agave for a couple passifloras, ‘Sunburst’ and ‘Flying V.’ What a deal! Both of these passifloras are smaller vines, not house-eaters. I’ve tentatively placed the potted ‘Sunburst’ at the base of one of the lemon cypresses, which will provide a good amount of sun but hopefully not too strong.
The theory is the vine will seek out the shade/sun exposure it prefers as it threads through the cypress. There’s nothing to photograph yet. Maybe in a couple weeks.

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I got the idea to use the cypresses because it seems to be working for Mina lobata, self-sown from last year. No blooms yet but, unlike last summer, the leaves stay in good shape all day. I’m trying to find that sweet spot, where there’s enough sun for blooming but not too much that the vines are wilted by the end of the day.

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I’ll close with this nice planting of Agave ‘Cornelius’ I spotted recently in Downtown Los Angeles. Gotta go put some clothes in the dryer.

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7 Responses to Wednesday clippings 8/26/15

  1. Great photographs! I like the nap nook idea.

  2. Max P. says:

    Hmmm… I think those vines will look nice meandering through the cypress. A good trade indeed! Also, I love that feeling I get when seeing plants I got on the cheap being sold for a ridiculous amount of dough: just ran into ‘Joe Hoak’ for the first time locally after our trade, and I felt pretty smug. Thanks!

  3. David Feix says:

    Not meaning to gloat, but the whole meme about summer being so tough on new plants just seems such a foreign concept here in Berkeley, where I’ve only lost a couple of plants, one a newly acquired Leucospermum reflexum and the other a very large and old senescent Leucadendron’Cloudbank Genny’ which was probably 15~18 years old. No losses with smaller newly planted plants so far this summer, once I finally got everything hooked up to automatic drip irrigation.

    I find myself appreciating how truly accomodating our typical marine layer fog events make gardening here, allowing me to chance planting so often without having operational irrigation in place. Possibility of light rains here this weekend, hope we actually get some here mid-bay, but it so often skips us.

    That Grevillea ‘Moonlight’ should be pretty drought resistant once well rooted, one I planted at my neighbors gets no irrigation currently, a recently planted one in much hotter Redwood City seems to be establishing well, even with baking in full hot sun with temps consistently 85° to 95°F daily this summer. I haven’t had much long term luck with Mina lobata, it never lives over or reseeds for me.

  4. Kris P says:

    I should report that the ‘Joe Hoak’ you gave me earlier this year is also doing fine in its pot on the back patio. Overall, however, my garden is depressing the hell out of me and I’m anxious to get started on more lawn removal and garden renovations, hopefully beginning the latter part of September. I’ve been reading Olivier Filippi’s “Dry Gardening Handbook” and am geared up build more planting berms, create water basins for all new plants, and generally change my watering practices along the lines he suggests (while also hoping that El Nino won’t fizzle this year).

    BTW, I posted some Lotusland photos I recently uncovered from my 2008 visit and linked my post back to yours on Lotusland.

  5. Denise says:

    @Brian, that little nook has gotten a lot of use. When the boys were small, we kept a railing along it so they wouldn’t tumble out.
    @Max, I don’t want to plant them in the ground yet so am just kind of playing with them now to see what exposure they like. I may end up keeping them in large containers since I know they like even moisture. Thank you again! The Flying V opened those blooms. I love that one too!
    @David, no gloating, just fact! I’ve lived in the Bay Area so I know how lovely that marine layer is. I did lose that gnidia, but oddly enough the Leuc. flexum is hanging on, planted after purchase at the SF sale. And just as I was “gloating” about finding a good spot for that Mina lobata, I found it wilting in yesterday’s high temps and humidity. Looks fine this morning. I’d love to see that Spanish Flag run up the cypresses!
    @Kris, I’m ready for that rain too. You’ve got such scope on your property for modeling berms, I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

  6. If I knew the sleeping nook was located over the laundry facilities then I’d managed to forget. What a treat, laundry in the garden! If such a thing were done here we wouldn’t have any clean clothes in the winter months.

    I can’t wait to see ‘Sunburst’ blooming away happily in your garden…

  7. hoov says:

    Stuck indoors for the duration of this latest heatwave. You said it on Yucca–can’t kill them, especially when you want to. Several bloom towers here as well.

    All hail holy marine layer!

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