6/28/20 garden progress report


That’s gotta be a record for the fastest repurposing of a bird bath from water to plants, considering the bird bath just arrived in May. Filling it with plants is not a total admission of failure, just temporary frustration with the constant debris and prime mosquito-hatching condtions. This big clump of spiny dyckia (or hechtia — won’t know until it blooms, white for hechtia, orange for dyckia) was covered in tree debris and expanding onto a front-garden walkway, but after cleaning it up to save an offset, it seemed a shame to trash such an impressive clump. I haven’t given up on providing my bird friends water, and there’s another satellite bird bath in use now, but this one needs rethinking and possibly relocating. And I’m still limited to lifting no more than 10 pounds for another month. I could ask Marty, but I know I’ll want it moved here then there then back here and a little over to the left, maybe to the right, etc., etc. I really hate to be too much of a pest…

There’s no drainage hole in the bird bath, so this is strictly temporary. My charming neighbor Holly brought over a solar-powered pump to recirculate water, and I’ll either try it in this bird bath or figure something out by repurposing a fire bowl on a concrete pedestal…or something.
Agave kerchovei ‘Huajuapan Red,’ despite its name, has so far failed to redden. A young Beschorneria ‘Flamingo Glow’ to the left was smothered in Orlaya grandiflora in spring but seems none the worse for wear. The grass behind the beschorneria is Pennisetum massaicum, and the agave and aloe grow among sesleria.

The red, faded kangaroo paws were cut down, which freshened up this area considerably — there’s a lot of summer left to let things go shabby. For summer I love the idea of a busy, orchestral garden, with soloists taking their turn then sitting back down as others rise up to play. Deep behind the aloe blooms are three blooms budding up from Agapanthus ‘Storm Cloud’ planted last year from gallons. It would be incredibly cool if ‘Storm Cloud’ opened before the aloe blooms go off. The agapanthus is semi-sandwiched between a miscanthus and a Lindheimer’s muhly but still with enough growing room — for now.

Even with the typical overcast mornings of June, Aloe elgonica is getting some good coloration on its leaves

The annual Coreopsis tinctoria has been joined by a self-sown Verbena bonariensis and Cosmos ‘Xanthos,’ and this little area off the porch continues to make me smile. So far, these thread-leaved annuals like coreopsis and cosmos have worked out well for this small garden. Long blooming, no mildew or insect problems with the leaves so far, knock wood, and because they don’t become shabby I can grow them right under my nose and among other plants, rather than reserve them for a cutting garden (which I don’t have).

More Cosmos ‘Xanthos’ bulking up in a container — if it gets shabby or overgrown, it can be whisked away…
A fairly accurate portrait of the colors of Cosmos ‘Xanthos,’ but the blooms do fade off in color as they age.
I just sowed a bunch more named varieties of cosmos last week.
Out of three 4-inch Verbascum bombyciferum, this is the healthiest clump, crowded by variegated St. Augustine grass but still getting good air flow — whatever makes you happy!

Take care out there! I’m keeping a mask handy in several places throughout the house so I don’t forget to grab one, as well as in the car, hanging on the stick shift for errands around town. As the 4th of July approaches, we’re hoping that afterwards the cherry bombs and M-whatevers will cease to erupt after nightfall, setting off car alarms and nervous dogs up and down the street. This has got to be the loudest, most explosive pre-4th of July we’ve ever experienced…

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6 Responses to 6/28/20 garden progress report

  1. Kris P says:

    While the Dyckia/Hechtia looks great in the birdbath, I know you’ll also enjoy watching splashing birds so I hope you’ll find a placement option that works for you. One of those mosquito dunks might solve the bug problem. I love all your healthy succulents and the views of your Coreopsis push me closer to adding some to my own garden while I wait to see if ‘Redshift’ returns this year. As to the fireworks, I’m with you – they’ve been even worse than usual (since before Memorial Day here) and we don’t need a wildfire on top of the pandemic.

  2. Elaine says:

    I really do love that Coreopsis. Where did you get the seed? Will be an interesting July 4th for you this year. Our celebrations on July 1 will apparently be virtual. Our rainy weather thank goodness is preventing non-stop fireworks. Hope your’s cease soon.

  3. Denise says:

    @Kris, I’m hoping the solar-powered pump is the answer to keeping the water moving. We’re not getting many actual fireworks this year, just the noisy explosions!
    @Elaine, that coreopsis came from Annie’s Annuals called ‘Tiger Stripes.’ I’ve ordered other varieties in seed recently from Chiltern’s, but several seedhouses carry this annual Coreopsis tinctoria.

  4. If your new solar powered pump is like mine, and sends up a little spray of water, the birds will love that addition—I used it in the stock tank pond before the plants get going and cover surface area. I do however love the look with the clump of spiky goodness!

  5. janicce says:



  6. hb says:

    Any sort of water motion will keep the mosquitoes away–they want still water–a little $10 aquarium air pump and an airstone to just move the water around, will do the job.

    The coreopsis is so dainty–it’s a charmer. I’ll look for it.

    Various news organizations are reporting illegal fireworks readily available from the usual shady suspects (Craigs List). I fear a nearby wildfire; luckily this generation of dogs sleep right through fireworks. One in the past was so terrified she ran shrieking into my clothes closet, clawed all the clothes off the hangars, and huddled under them all night. It was heartbreaking. I hope your kitty is safe from that terror–or oblivious.

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