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.
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.
She tested it out very carefully.
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.
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.
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!