rainy thursday 4/19/18

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Would you look at that — wet pavement! The corrugated roof on the pergola starting lightly pinging about 7 a.m., and I froze stock still and listened. Could it be? The clouds seemed indecisive for a few minutes, like they’d lost the hang of letting water loose on Los Angeles, then finally relented and rained for almost an hour. I climbed up into the roofed lookout with a soggy cat and a cup of coffee for the duration. Glorious. Just a few days ago a 3X3 ‘Blue Flame’ agave bulging out of the garden took up half of this path, its trunk originating from just about the spot where the Aloe marlothii x peglerae was recently planted. I removed the agave while Marty slept in last Sunday morning, knowing how happy it would make him.

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I’d been the agave’s staunchest defender, but it became increasingly pushy, slouching more and more on the path, until it owned nearly the whole damn thing. I admit that’s a nice clean line now. I get clean lines, I really do…

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Predictably, Marty was thrilled when he woke up post-demolition, then immediately sensed a weakening on my part and further opportunity to define and reclaim the walkways. What about the huge clump of purple awn grass brushing up against the walkway and sticking its awns into our pj’s and the forest of Agave lophantha ‘Quadricolor’ aiming for our ankles? (Dry pavement photos taken earlier in the week.)

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All right, just the one rosette stays and dozens of offsets get tossed — gardens are for people, as Thomas Church famously wrote.

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But the Verbena bonariensis crowding another section of the path I insisted had to stay — gardens are for bees, hummers & butterflies too, Mr. Church.

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Before clambering up the ladder to the lookout for prime rain viewing, I grabbed the tractor funnel of pitcher plants from under the pergola and moved them into the rain. This is as far as I’ve ever gone with pitcher plants, almost a year, on a religious diet of distilled water and occasional rain water. (Very occasional, as in less than 5 inches this year.) No flowers yet but strong, new growth.

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While not a big fan of macrame hangers — I lived through the first wave of infatuation in high school, thank you very much — they do solve the problem of hanging irregular pot shapes, like this diamond pot. I had some leftover macrame hangers from the popup so have been playing around with them.

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Simple waxed string works too.

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More rain porn. Rain on plectranthus.

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Had enough yet? Not me. Rain on a trio of aeoniums.

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Rain on potted plants, but pavement already drying and sun gaining the upper hand.

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I nearly lost this thistle sage yesterday, finding it in a near-dead wilt late afternoon. I’ve been possibly a little overworried about rot so have been stingy with water. It’s an annual California native, Salvia carduacea, that I’m hoping will reseed. A quick drink yesterday and then rain today has brought it back to health. From the Theodore Payne Foundation nursery.

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Rain-spangled purple orach.

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Poppies dripping with rain.

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After just one year in the garden, I’m so impressed by this spring performance of the flannelbush, Fremontodendron ‘Ken Taylor. The new growth is a nice change from the dark, sooty appearance the leaves have had since last fall’s wildfires.

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I’ve been busy the past couple days potting up and squaring away the leftover popup plants and just got a lot of the cacti under the eaves yesterday where it’s snug and dry. No unnecessary moisture for these guys.

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Damp path!

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I missed this month’s Bloom Day deadline on the 15th, which is just as well. My flower floozie days have long since receded into a dim, gouache-washed past. My garden is much too small to plant for predominantly flowers, a fact I ignored in the early years, before I figured out that fall/winter/spring are the best months here in the garden. Now when flowers do grace the garden, they arrive sporadically year-round, on magnificent shrubs like grevilleas, on handsome succulents like aloes, and smaller things I like to try out, like this single carnation. There’s still plenty to keep me and the pollinators spellbound. The only rule I follow now is that when it’s done flowering, it’s not offensively shabby out of bloom.

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Love the tall, strong stems on this one and the fabulous scent. Dianthus caryophyllus ‘Single Black’ (from Annie’s)

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Some of what’s been in bloom this April. I’ve got the tag of this abutilon around here somewhere.

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Grevillea ‘King’s Rainbow’

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As compared to ‘King’s Fire’

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As compared to ‘Moonlight’

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Phlomis lanata

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The only blooms here are from a chocolate daisy, Berlandiera lyrata, leaning into Phlomis ‘Sunningdale Gold’ starting to form buds. Leucadendron ‘Ebony’ is looking really happy here, knock wood. Mostly full sun, lots of air circulation.

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Phlomis lanata and ‘King’s Rainbow’ (and cat)

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The orlaya is just about finished.

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Baja spurge has exploded into bloom again.

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Salvia fruticosa and orach.

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A stray bloom on Salvia chiapensis framed by tetrapanax.

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The ‘Ghost’ aloe, a hybrid striata, much later in bloom than the coral aloe.

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And now the sun is out, the pavement is dry, the show is over. The ghostly shape in the background is the Agave ‘Blue Flame,’ probably its last photo, and most of these poppies have been pulled too. Onward with Thursday.

This entry was posted in agaves, woody lilies, climate, clippings, journal, Occasional Daily Weather Report, pots and containers, succulents and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to rainy thursday 4/19/18

  1. Kris P says:

    Even though I’d heard the forecast of a 20% chance of rain, I’d written it off with all the prior disappointing forecasts so this morning’s rain shower came as a relative surprise. I ran around collecting rain my barrels couldn’t capture, then had to head off to the local botanic garden to lead a tour of middle school children. We got spit on a little but the kids didn’t mind and neither did I.

    Gardens do need periodic edits and are usually the better for them, once you get over the angst. Your garden looks happy and a happy husband is worth the cost of an occasional plant.

  2. We enjoyed a similarly amazing day up in these parts, only it was the complete opposite. No rain, just glorious blue skies and sun, sun, sun! So overdue, so needed. So loved by the plants.

    As for the path reclaimation I am still amazed by how easy it is to walk up to the stock tank pond now that the leaning Grevillea australis has been removed. Editing is good.

  3. hb says:

    We only got 10 minutes worth but it was still wonderful. Your garden manages to be filled with beauties no matter what.

    Gardeners will look at what they claim is a path and worm their way around and through without hesitation and without damaging a leaf, but gardener’s spouses tend to freeze and declare “Didn’t there used to be a path here?”

  4. ks says:

    I haven’t dared try pitcher plants assuming they would dislike it here -but I have to believe if you kept them afloat down there it may not be impossible. I always enjoy seeing your poppies-I am going to have a decent crop of Laurens Grape this year . Clean lines-not something I excel at.

  5. Peter says:

    Rain looks as glorious in your garden as the sunshine felt here last weekend. I always love seeing your creation as it’s so full of amazing and beautiful plants! I also lived through the first macrame craze and there has been significant eye rolling on my part on seeing the renaissance. However, they are quite effective and there may be a few holding up hanging pots in the greenhouse.

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