Friday, 27 September 2013

My weekly favourite.

This weeks weekly fav. is new to me and completely experimental. Theoretically it is hardy and therefore I thought, why not try! I had toyed with the idea of growing calliandra eriophylla for quite some time. I love how it is just like mimosa silk trees only small! And after the olive tree emergency re-planting I had space to reconsider. I wish I could show some zoomed out shots with the olive but truthfully it's a frightful scene with drooping foliage - lets just say Leccino is not himself at the moment.

I love the fern-like tender foliage of calliandra. This one is right up close to the walk so I will get to admire it often.

The tag says semi-ever green and I'm hoping that means mainly evergreen but for some reason I'm feeling doubtful. And from what I've read this is an early bloomer filled with pink puff balls! Most seem to suggest this bush flowers sporadically throughout summer periods of rain.

So we'll see how it does. I'm really excited about it and hoping its going into the repertoire of desert subtropicals for the PNW. What plants are you experimenting with for the first time?! Do share!

Here are the stats according to Monrovia:
Cold hardiness zones: 7-11
Light needs: full sun
Water needs: once established, needs only occasional watering
Average size: slow growing 1-3 ft. tall by 3-4ft wide
Growth: slow
Flower attribute: long bloom season
Landscape use: rock garden

Friday, 20 September 2013

New Plants! The fun continues

Seeing as it is still officially summer, I thought I needed to do some celebratory plant shopping. Why not? This is, after all, my season. It was about a year ago that I made proclamations about the year of summer. And it really was. More than anything I have learned how summer is a way of being. That is, flip flop wearing, zonal denial, shorts and t-shirts, care free music and getting your hands in the dirt as much as possible! And so with that, I continue the predictions of more summer. I think this time it's the decade of summer.

Either way, I thought I would share some of my summer loving plant purchases! And to me, nothing says summer more than the red hot flowers of hesperaloe parviflora 'brakelights.' This plant has been calling to me for quite some time. And I realized, why resist?

You might remember the variegated euonymus ground cover that used to sit here. Gone! This is a much better change. And can you spot the smaller agave to the back left of the hesperaloe? Thats my new agave parryi 'JC Raulston!'

I must have been in a particularly prickly mood because that same day so too came home this new dyckia 'grape jelly.' This fierce little guy was on the 40% off table at a favourite nursery and so I couldn't resist.

Yikes, its getting dangerous to pull weeds in this section of the yard!

And in the same fierce spirit, albeit slightly friendlier to humans, sarracenia 'dixie lace' found it's way home with me too. I feel like I maybe should have prefaced everything with the fact that it was a hot sunny day. The weather has mysterious powers in making me purchase new plants.

But check out these beautiful pitchers!! With all that color and detail I couldn't resist.

Have you been giving into any new plant lust temptations?! Do share!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

What the?

A tragedy occurred in the garden. And truth be told, I don't really know what happened. But yesterday when making soup, I went to pick a couple of bay leaves from the garden and found my leccino olive tree ripped out of the ground, lying on the patio, with bare roots exposed. I don't know what to think. Would someone be so cruel as to rip a tree out of a private garden and leave it to die on the ground? While I'm happy it wasn't an item of theft, I couldn't help but wonder if I'd prefer it, provided they took care of the tree? Or was it a large animal that just so happened to yank out the tree (?) and drag it a little bit thereby rendering it a sad victim of unfortunate circumstance? I also toyed with the idea of a fluke wind storm that only affected the olive. But being planted well over 1. 5 years ago in the ground and supported by stakes, that didn't make much sense either. Hmm?

Here's the olive as of last week... happy as can be.

I couldn't quite bring myself to photograph the olive pre emergency survival measures. I grabbed a bucket, and tried to burry those roots in moist soil as quickly as possible! But then the wheels in my head started turning! I needed to re-plant the olive asap. I considered purchasing a nice new pot, but with an 8ft tall olive tree, I wouldn't be able to bring it in if need be in the winter (and a pot would leave the young roots even more exposed). So the thoughts went to sheltered spots in the yard. I never thought I would plant a tree of any variety here... but in it went.

As you can see I had to build up the area with some rocks to keep the soil and water from washing away. I also had to severely cut back my yucca patch which previous to the olive moving down filled the entire corner with massive yucca. I sure hope the tree survives. The foliage is drooping ever so slightly at the tips (yikes!) and today is threatening to be a hot one. What do you all suggest to make this   fit in more? The area to the left and right underneath is actually larger than it looks here and I feel needs some kind of planting to make the corner look like a feature. Thoughts?!

Here's another angle. It's certainly less than ideal but I'm hoping it can balance the two trachycarpus. But I definitely need to go to work on an overhaul now. The yuccas will fill in with a vengeance, that I'm not so much worried about, but it suddenly feels all wrong. 

Monday, 16 September 2013

foliage follow up - succulent fountain/work fun

Today's foliage follow-up comes from the fun I had at work over the weekend. We had this idea of planting a three tiered fountain with succulents. But instead we pieced together a pillar (base), bowl planter (tier one), bird bath (tier two) and urn planter (tier three) into this succulent "fountain!" It always feels so fun to have some creative time! And what's better is that we get to call it work!

This photo was taken just after cleaning up the mess ... and I certainly made a mess planting this up. Don't you just love getting your hands dirty!? (and in this case my face, arms, legs ... you get the idea)

Closer up this thing has so many fun colors and textures. I love how the blues and greens play off of each other in succulent plantings.

 And from another angle!

I can't wait for those donkey tail sedum to settle into place and start spilling over more. And I'm a huge fan of the blue elf aloe on top! Happy foliage follow-up everyone!!! Get creative! For more foliage fun head on over to Pam's blog digging!!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

The weekly favourite ... yucca gloriosa variegata

I can't say enough about yucca gloriosa variegata. It is a rock star in the garden. It always looks great, shrugs off cold, snow, rain, wind, and anything you can throw at it. For a while I thought about it as my replacement for variegated phormium, or even agave americana variegata. It certainly fills the void. But then I realized the error of my thinking. Yucca gloriosa variegata is clearly cool enough to be in no way a replacement. It is a star. It is a feature.

I just love the way the sun catches these yuccas! They are absolutely stunning.

And I think its quite forward thinking - even in the PNW - to find plants that can take the full sun without supplemental watering during the summer months. When most plants are sulking in the heat of August (and in this case record breaking September warmth), these yuccas are happy as can be!

This one is shaded in the morning but gets full direct sun all afternoon. I love the coloring.

And I get to wake up, step outside and see this lovely garden rock star!!!

Here's some of the details:
USDA Zone: 6-11
Light needs: Full Sun
Size: 4-5' tall and wide
Bloom: Summer 

Friday, 6 September 2013

The weekly fav.

The weekly fav. this week is a plant that I absolutely LOVE... Agave Ovatifolia 'Frosty Blue!' My agave ovatifolia inspiration came years ago from Pam's blog digging when she posted about her massive agave ovatifolia. You can see it on the link here as she chronicles moving a monster agave. After seeing hers, I knew I "needed" one or two (or three).

Here's an overview of where the largest agave ovatifolia sits in the garden. Here in the PNW this is considered craziness by most ... but by my standards, completely necessary!

I love the powdery blues of this agave. Being next to a large rock it even casts some of those beautiful evening agave shadows that I've always dreamed of.

This was my smaller agave ovatifolia. I say that past tense as the once smaller agave is quickly gaining some size.

Key to success in the PNW is excellent drainage and as much sunshine as you can possible provide them. Mine are all in raised beds, full southern exposure, overhead canopy of branches keeping the area dry, and being planted on a slight angle so that water drains out of the centre.

Here are the details:

Hardiness: Zone 7 (dry) -10
Size: 6-8ft (yikes!)
Exposure: sun

Here's what Cistus nursery has to say:

"A Cistus introduction and new. This mega-century plant, first discovered by Lynn Lowrey in northeastern Mexico some 30 years ago and just named recently by agaveist Greg Starr, might be the largest of the cold hardy agaves, reaching eventually to 6-8 ft with beautifully formed, blue leaves. Our selection, made from a more recent batch, has a distinct, pale aquamarine hue with the classic shape of cupped, upright, and slightly outward bending leaves. The species has taken the cold and wet of Dallas TX, for instance, so upper USDA zone 7 for cold hardiness; possibly colder in gritty or dry soil. Fabo container plant."

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

succulent envy at the Finding Nemo Submarines

I was in Disneyland last week and like on most trips to SoCal, I was having some serious succulent growing envy. This plant lust went into overdrive at the exit of the Finding Nemo submarine ride in Disneyland. They really do look like something from the ocean floor....

Agave blue flame is a favourite of mine!

It's especially wonderful when surrounded by a sea of succulents and the low warm glow of summer evenings in SoCal... It's something I could get used to.

And is that echium candicans? Oh how I love California!

And if your succulent lusty plant envy wasn't on overload yet, check out this glorious combination of colors! I hope you all are having a great Wednesday!!!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

A new dicksonia joins the garden

Sorry I've been M.I.A for a while, I went down to California for a trip to the happiest place on earth! More will come from that, but for now, I thought I would share a wonderful thing that happened days before my departure. There was this dicksonia antarctica that was taunting me quite literally for weeks. Working at a nursery, walking by it everyday, thinking I needed it, imagining where I would plant it ... you know how this goes right? Well I caved and home came the dicksonia. It was rather fitting considering I had just posted about it being my favourite "this week" in the garden. So perhaps my thoughts were thinking fondly of them. That coupled with the wonderful pictures I was seeing from the garden bloggers fling in San Fran and I knew I needed more tree ferns in my life.

The nice thing about this tree fern is that it actually has a decently fat trunk started on it. (should have taken some close ups - next time)

Here's a little better perspective... This area is very protected with an overhead canopy of tree limbs - I will need to remember to water in the summer. But I'm soo happy with the added tropical touch.

Anyone else planting at the end of august?! What's new in the yard for you guys?