And so the lemon cypresses (Cupressus macrocarpa ‘Citriodora’ or Golden Monterey Cypress) came down last Sunday, November 1st. I couldn’t bear to watch the removal of the last two and hid out in the office. They were excellent privacy screens but ultimately too much of a good thing for this small garden and closely neighboring properties. Before they were deemed a nuisance, I treasured their scent and how they gleamed and majestically swayed in the wind, and how the birds found refuge in their boughs and a lookout from their topmost branches.
The east fence construction had been halted for a week while we waited for the dreaded appointment on Sunday, then the fence was completed Monday, November 2nd.
After the fence was finished Monday afternoon, I removed the small square of bricks, leaving the three-inch bed of sand on which the bricks were dry laid. As the light faded, I played around with raking and grading the area, which has slowly been transformed over years into something of a berm that slopes toward the house, built up from having the compost pile in the southeast corner and then all the shredded hedge clippings left to sheet compost in this far corner as well. Not to mention the accumulated tree litter, both from when the trees shed their leaves and the residue of their remains when they were gone. Two eucalyptus trees we inherited with the house, planted to screen this southeast corner, each blew down at various times. The smoke tree ‘Grace’ grew as large as a magnolia, exuberantly flinging her branches across the three neighboring back gardens, and was ultimately removed around the time I started the blog (2010ish). You could say this southeast corner has been vexatious as far as screening out the three properties that meet up with ours here. The properties are small and the screening strategies always prove problematic in one way or another, for one neighbor or another.
Sounds like a sad story so far, right? Not exactly. Along with the neighbors’ rooflines and satellite dishes, sun and sky have also poured in again. All that recovered sky is especially a revelation when filled with brilliant stars, as it was 5 a.m. this morning.
Monday night, Nov. 2nd, with the fence up, the area raked, and twilight approaching, I decided to address the berm somewhat with a spine of rocks. Not a path exactly, though it can be walked on, and not a rock garden exactly, though it has been planted. A spur? We’re calling it a cobb (after the famous one we visited in Lyme Regis, England) or a jetty, because it’s been built from rocks quarried on Catalina Island to build the Los Angeles Harbor breakwater. Piles of the rocks were always staged at the LA Pilot Station in case repairs were needed to the breakwater, and when he worked there Marty couldn’t resist bringing a few home from time to time. We call it Catalina ironstone, but I have no idea as far as its true geologic composition (what the heck is schist?). Like an Easter egg hunt, we prowled the front and back garden in the dimming light to collect the rocks, and I laid them until twilight faded and it was too dark to see. I expected to hate the rock experiment Tuesday morning, but didn’t. All day Tuesday, Election Day, I planted and found homes for all the displaced plants, many of which were bromeliads that had been massed near the base of the cypresses and in a stock tank.
The enormous astelia in the stock tank was moved under Grevillea ‘Moonlight’ near the office, in the spot recently vacated by Salvia mexicana. A variegated fatshedera was also moved out of the stock tank and planted at the base of the grevillea, along with a blue bear’s paw fern that surprised me by flourishing and sending out enormous fronds.
Tuesday night we watched season 4 of the sci-fi epic The Expanse. After the last four years, I was saving myself the needless trauma of a political horse race. You can’t choose the time you’re born in — some get the Enlightenment, some get the Visigoths storming the gates. At least we will always have heroes like RBG, who died as we all will, not knowing how the fight ends, to show us how to make the most of our time and wring as much truth and justice out of it while we’re here, whatever the outcome.
On Wednesday, November 4th, I brought in and spread 10 bags of crushed granite (3/8″) for mulch. More sci-fi viewing at night and remainder of the weeknights.
Today, November 7, it’s raining in Los Angeles. How perfect is that? And the election has finally been called today, November 7. What a week!
Have a blissful weekend.