August fidgets part 2

So I did act on those August fidgets and started work on a path through the back garden. The planted back garden encompasses roughly a 14X40′  rectangle, and I’ve been inclined to keep every inch of it available for planting, with paths changed up as the planting varies over the years. Having a deep border of 14′  to plant has been useful for playing with seasonal summer stuff. But goals change, the drought tightens its stranglehold, and for now I‘ve put in a gravel path that bisects the garden lengthwise from the west, stopping roughly in the middle.

looking west over the rock spine plantings

With my back to the east fence, looking west at the open office door, very little of last week’s work is apparent. The removal of the tall Roldana petasitis approximately mid garden is the most notable absence. I didn’t bring the path all the way through to the eastern end. If completed east/west through the entire back garden, the proposed path would continue to wind roughly past the Yucca rostrata on the left and the tall blue chalksticks (Senecio ficoides) on the right and lead out onto the east patio. I may (or may not) get around to doing this later in the year.


Just outside the office door at the western end of the garden, the new small path begins, maybe 14 feet in length. A corgi-sized path. Billie was completely unaware of the work until it was finished, due to her afternoon nap schedule, and was a little hesitant about the change. Having been continually chastised to stay out of the plantings, she obviously suspects I‘m playing a trick on her now.

Aloe ‘Moonglow‘ on the right, Aloe ‘Tangerine‘ on the left.

She tested it out very carefully.

car jack stands are useful paw guides along the new path for Billie. Mangave is ‘Navajo Princess.’  The sweet potato was added a couple weeks ago. The reddish-bronze color is not always available locally, but when it is I usually can find a spot for it. Another sweet potato was moved elsewhere to make the path. Two non-blooming ‘Gardeners World’  Lychnis coronaria were also removed. Sinningia ‘Invasion Force’ was moved to the rock spine. Shrub-like Senecio medley-woodii was removed as well as most of Berkheya purpurea. Chocolate daisies were pulled up, but there’s more berlandiera elsewhere in the garden.  The red kangaroo paws were removed.
And it‘s still stuffed! Looking east, the short path bisects the deep 14-foot wide, 40-foot long border lengthwise.

The short run of bricks are a relic from the old path that ran east to west in an arc. And look how they glisten! A couple days ago the morning mist blissfully morphed into a light rain that lasted over an hour.

Anisodontea ‘Strybing Beauty‘ starting to rebloom

Looking through the pergola, Agave salmiana var. ferox ‘Medio Picta’ shows up dramatically against gravel. The variegated Agave mitis on the left was transplanted, replacing a big clump of Aloe ‘ Moonglow.’  The biggest job was cleaning up and sawing back the bocconia, which had thick, mostly bare-leaved branches soaring over 8 feet.

Leucadendron ‘Ebony‘ 
Billie inspects newly replanted beehive pot

The path ends at Leucadendron ‘Ebony‘  and turns toward the southern creeping-fig covered wall. It’s maybe 14 feet of path before it turns to the south wall. With Mangave ‘Kaleidoscope‘ having bloomed, I saved the pups and filled its pot with some offsets of Xanthosoma ‘Lime Zinger‘  that needed a home. Phormium ‘Jester‘  was struggling in too much shade under the fernleaf acacia so was added to the pot in full sun. A large pot is a good visual guide for Billie as well as a foil to her digging energy. She loves to dig anywhere I‘ve been recently working in the garden.


So many good plants in the center of the garden were revealed, including three Echium wildpretii and restio Chondropetalum tectorum, one of four planted last year. I‘ve decided to use the evergreen restios in tandem with winter-blooming aloes. Grasses like miscanthus are usually ready to be cut back by the time the aloes are blooming, so restios make a fresher companion for them.


And that is where the August fidgets led me this year!

This entry was posted in journal. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to August fidgets part 2

  1. Kris P says:

    Congratulations on your progress – and doing your best to work around Billie’s “requirements.” My attention to your post came to an abrupt halt with the mention of an hour of light rain. The return of the morning marine layer has given us damp payment and a briefly a little spit from Mother Nature but regrettably nothing that registered as rain. I was impressed by your Echium wildpretti as the one I planted survived only a couple of months last year.

  2. Elaine says:

    Wow, you move quickly once you get an idea. I think the path was an inspired idea as it helps make your garden seem larger by allowing you access to the middle of it. Billie will be pleased too. Yeah to the rain. We got quite a lot over the last few days. Everything looks perkier already.

  3. Carolyn says:

    Wow! It looks beautiful!!!! What an inspiring garden you’ve created.

  4. ks says:

    The Bocconia….I’ve searched in vain. Those leaves ! I have what amounts to de facto paths here and there through the garden and they shift every year-the purpose is to get in and cut back or pull weeds. What a treat to get some rain -nothing like that around these parts. I must say though (with apologies to our PNW friends) that this has been the mildest winter I can recollect in many years. We had one awful heat wave with a couple days in the 110 range and mellow 80’s since then. You never know what September might have in store though.

  5. Nell B Lancaster says:

    That’s a superb and endearing set of shots of Billie, exploring the new path that materialized during her nap. Even if it weren’t also a source of further interest & beauty, what a great gift to your newest family member.
    Parts of the process were painful to read even to this faraway observer (“The red kangaroo paws were removed”), but the memory will fade as the many new “edge plants” come into their own. Beautiful job.

  6. Denise says:

    @Kris, sometimes friends in LA or Torrance will be getting rained on and it will bypass us completely — so frustrating! I’m surprised all five of that echium are still alive, but it hasn’t been too hot yet…
    @Elaine, often I move too quickly! But I do get restless and love this kind of work.
    @Thank you, Carolyn!
    @Kathy, I’ve kept a cutting alive all summer — let me ship it to you! I’ll PM you. Yes, I agree with you on the mild summer, it’s been wonderful so far.
    @Nell, the red paws Royal Velvet are a good strong grower but I didn’t like the color as it faded. I’ve kept all four of the orange Tequila Sunrise, much more my speed.

  7. hb says:

    The fidgets led you (and Billie) to some good places.

    Your ‘Ebony’ looks great!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.