Rained Out

Unlike a sporting event or outdoor concert or meal, a Southern California garden that’s rained out in early October is cause for rejoicing.

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And to really intensify the blissed-out experience of the first seasonal rains, just the day before you must have tucked in some new plants.

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Along with the Salvia farinacea ‘Texas Violet’, two Agave parryi var. truncata have also left their long-time homes in containers to manage independently in this very hot, dry strip, which they will handle beautifully. An enormous, woody ‘Waverly’ salvia needed pruning off the bricks, where it had bulged at least 3 feet outward from the garden, and then after pruning looked so misshapen it was removed entirely. (There was a small incident, a minor trip-and-fall over the plants spilling onto the brick patio outside the office, with some mild bruising. Accusations flew, and to keep the peace the only solution was a bout with the pruning shears.) Though there’s plenty of other winter salvias to bloom, I was worried about my hummingbird friends so used to having a nip from salvia flowers in this part of the garden. Amazing how their interests and mine coincide so nicely! These two salvia should keep them happy until cut to the base later in winter, that is if these Texas natives like the conditions. Read San Marcos Growers’ description of this salvia here. Some eyebrow grass (wouldn’t ‘Andy Rooney’ be a better cultivar name than ‘Blonde Ambition’?), Bouteloua gracilis, are getting a tryout here too. Drumstick alliums, A. sphaerocephalum, were interplanted among the grasses and salvia. (Tulips and alliums arrived in the mail yesterday. Exquisite timing. The tulips and other alliums requiring a chill went into the fridge until after Thanksgiving.)

I’ve noticed once agaves edge a planting with newly disturbed soil, the cats stay out.

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It’s all part of the creeping agave syndrome the back garden has been experiencing. Slowly, imperceptibly the garden is readying itself for less and less irrigation. Last year the first agave, a large Agave bovicornuta, was slipped from its pot and planted in the ground.

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And some Agave ‘Blue Flame’ were planted in the back last year too.
Although the front garden has been full of agaves for years, the agave creep in the back garden is a new phenomenon.

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But such concerns as possible diminished precipitation in the future fly out the blurry window on a rainy day, which are also the rare occasions I’m actually glad for a small garden. The back pressed against the surrounding walls only allows for tight shots, but today the shelter of the eaves is a welcome spot for keeping the camera dry. The house or garage or boundary walls are always just 3 or 4 feet away. (Hence, the disputes over plants spilling onto walkways.) The burgundy grass is the pennisetum hybrid ‘Princess Caroline,’ which looks to be a strong grower. A gallon was split into two clumps mid-summer. All the old anigozanthos bloom stalks were cut away, this sole new bloom in bright yellow pushed horizontal by the rain.

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The watering can has been handed over once again to more capable hands than mine.

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Now that the baton has been passed, the dahlias will be so pleased and may just make it to November.

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4 Responses to Rained Out

  1. hoov says:

    Let’s assume no one is going to take a fall into an Agave parryi, okay? 🙁

    That rain is pure heaven, isn’t it? I’ve been outside walking around in it distributing buckets of rainwater to the ultra-arid spots. And its still coming down. Better than Christmas!

  2. The sprinklers are on again here too…and even though we had a dry June – Sept we ended our “water year” (Oct 1 – Sept 30) ahead of average. If so far in October is any indication we’ll be swimming this fall/winter/spring.

    What is the tall beautifully leaved plant above the pennisetum and
    anigozanthos? It looks Schefflera-like but I suspect it might be a Manihot?

  3. Denise says:

    Hoov, I think it was more monkeyshines than plant growth causing that little incident!
    Loree, yes, that’s the potted manihot moved to a new spot. I hate to see that one loses its leaves in winter.

  4. I see a Salvia cutting I need to take! Nice photos!

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