We arrived last Friday, and other than sleeping, I don’t think a broom has left my hand since.
The informal team of neighbors and friends who took turns watching over the garden since we left the second week of October did an amazing job. And all this handled by a group with little or no experience (or interest) in plants and gardens. I’m not sure how much deep watering was done, if any, but there was some good rain in January.
There’s lots of sweeping and cutting back to do but no devastating plant losses. The succulent rosettes are filled with debris, as are the bromeliads, and the big-leaved plants like trevesia and tetrapanax are absolutely filthy. Miscanthus need cutting back, and the seslerias need cleaning and raking. The prolific but invaluable self-sowers need editing. The tillandsias could use a soak but are otherwise in good shape. The pitcher plants are one of the few outright losses — I left no instructions on using distilled water only. That kind of detailed instruction seemed a bridge too far to ask of volunteers. A young Brassaiopsis hispida and Metapanax delavayi were each marked with a tall stick for attentive watering, and that was about the extent of the instructions given. Both survived. I’m tempted to bring the metapanax back with me to the Tillamook zone 8b garden but am worried about not having a truly protected, wind-free site for it.
Now I’ve been absorbed in gently steering the garden from the state of one packed to the gills for maximal daily stimulation for a single audience (me) to one able to handle more casual observers and require less upkeep. A plan to sublet the house and garden for 30-day intervals is taking shape, preferably to the horticulturally inclined! Long Beach is well-situated for day trips to San Diego and Santa Barbara, with the Huntington and LA Arboretum close by as well as loads of nurseries.
And I’m also considering which plants to bring back north to the PNW, such as some of the zone 8-ish agaves. And what about moving some of the rhipsalis north and attempt to grow them indoors as houseplants? Or thin the herd with a small plant sale? Decisions, decisions. Much more soon!
Your LB garden is looking splendid! I’m glad you get to enjoy at least part of the aloe bloom.
So how does it feel to be back??
Gerhard, I’ve quickly grown attached to the PNW — I wouldn’t mind adding a Paris apartment into the mix either! 😉
I cannot imagine returning to my garden after being away for months and having it look this amazing, even after 5 days of constant clean-up. You’ve created such a little wonderland.
Hmm… if I were to stay in your place for a 30-day stretch I don’t know if I’d even want to leave…
I think your tag-team crew of volunteers did a great job keeping your Long Beach garden afloat in your absence! But I’m also not at all surprised you immediately launched into a review and cleanup once you returned as only you are fully engaged with the garden. FYI, the Sonchus seedling and the Dombeya you passed along to me are both doing well, and 2 of the 3 ‘Moonglow’ cuttings bloomed!
Sign of a good garden is one that still looks great after you’ve been gone for a while. And it does look great.
You picked a prime time to return to your LB digs–all those Aloe blooms. It must have been nice to get out of the cold and pick up the broom for a nice round of sweeping. I do enjoy that task-it’s quiet and effective.The Ginko leaves are a great size for a top dress, I do the same with my Birch leaves. How long will you stick around ?