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Scenes Around the Garden

Scenes Around the Garden

April 27, 2018
Posted in: Nature | Reading Time: 6 minutes

Spring is the best time in our mountain garden. The cruel hot summers can be a challenge to gardening so we generally choose heat-tolerant plants that will bloom in heat. Catmint is generally a hardy plant for heat but when it comes to gardening and me, Murphy's Law always applies. If it's hardy, it's going to give me a hard time. And boy has Catmint given us a doozy of a time. Everyone else with Catmint? No problem. Their shrubs look fantastic. Ours always struggle.

This year we hired a gardener, as last year, we could barely keep our plants alive. Already he's proven to be one of the best home improvement investments. Even our Catmint is doing really well this year. The Tepian below it may not make it through the entire summer in bloom even though it "apparently" loves heat. Another marketing lie told to hopeful mountain gardeners.

Some bare spots are still filling in with new plants that didn't make it last year due to our brown thumbs.

This ridiculous hollyhock. It's not even June and I'm betting this thing is going to topple over (needs a stake) and be bigger than the tomato vines I had in that place one year. I threw down hollyhock seeds last year not knowing what they'd be like in real life, and they sprouted but this year they should hopefully bloom as they take 2 years to bloom. In the other beds I added milkweed, a butterfly bush and some basil. Then I threw down a few zinnia seeds and bleeding Amaranthus seeds which I've never been able to grow. This year, I'm crossing my fingers.

The Mexican lavender is also in crazy bloom right now and the bees are lovin' it.

After 3 years of seeing Lolopetulum (Pink Fringe plant) everywhere, I finally purchased two bushes to fill in some blank areas. I have a feeling it will bloom very late up here. They've bloomed downtown already. These plants are stunning when in full bloom, whether you get the variegated green/dark green leaves or the fully black leaves that I have here. I love this plant, even though it's not a popular plant for pollinators which is generally what I plant for. I've seen it as low ground cover, as privets or hedges used with white plants or white fencing (looks spectacular next to white) or paired with silver dusty miller plant for contrast. I've even seen it as a huge vine-tree to screen a yard. It's a versatile plant and pretty when not in bloom and stunning when in bloom. If these two do well, I'm going to add a few more. You'll see, we have lots of space to add more plants.

This is my favorite area of the garden right now.

The intersection where ceonothos (dark lilac ground cover) meets French Provence Lavender meets Greek oregano meets Flax with a bad hair day. In the middle of the day I come out here and just meditate as the bees, butterflies and hoverflies canvas the spread, slurping in all it's goodness.

The view from the back near a fruit tree. So here's a fine example of another "hardy" plant, myoporum (seen in between the spreads of lilac), which is a heat-tolerant ground cover that has white flowers. In the winter this thing takes off spreading wide but in the summer, much of it dies and has to be cut. This plant shouldn't be this difficult in this very hot area, but it is.

The ceonothos is totally taking over the hillside. I'm not exactly shedding any tears about it. Except tears of joy. By end of July, the blooms will be gone but dark waxy leaves keep the ground covered and looking pretty. We also alternate the ground cover with rosemary, which can take off quickly and the bees love that. To the left in back are Hot Lips Salvia and next to those, Torch Lilies, some fountain grass and that huge mound at back right is a big ass mother Echium which sadly has not bloomed, yet the 4 other smaller Echiums planted on the other side of the house have bloomed. I'm tellin' you Internet, if it's black downtown it's white in the mountains. It's upside down world here.

So yeah, I don't think my garden ever looked this good. Something about knowing when and how much to prune and when to fertilize makes a huge difference from plant to plant (I know, duh, right?) and I just don't know how and when to execute the kind of care plants need. Someday this place is going to be either a lavish attraction or an overgrown nightmare. As long as we are here, we'll be keeping the gardener to keep it under control. The gardener even worked in my personal flower beds trimming the sage, thyme and Italian oregano. I've never pruned those plants and when he did, they just ballooned out overnight. Pruning does a plant good!

"No Momma! I will NOT model for woo without treats in the bank to pay me! If woo use this photo on TMZ or ET I will sue woo for all the treats you got and future treats you earn!"

"Momma, I'll do whatever you ask. Just say the word."

"Daddy-O, you're such a momma's boy. I do whatever I damn well please. Be like me."

Then there's THIS gargantuan thing. Mexican daisies with black aeonium succulants and three types of sedum in a tall pot.  I totally ignored this plant all winter, no food, no water, nothing even during the dry parts of the winter. I didn't even cover it in the frost. And what does it do? It goes insane. Imma just going to ignore all the plants going forward and stay out of their way. Apparently, I do more harm than good if I water, feed, trim or prune. But seriously, WTF am I supposed to do with this thing? I couldn't even begin to figure out how to trim it. Yah, um, Imma gonna let Roberto, our miracle producing gardener just handle this bad boy.

Another pot that I planted. I'm still getting the hang of finding things that work together. These two pots are at the front. I'm diggin' that black mondo grass in the middle.

Then there's this dude. He needs a mani-pedi. Am I right?

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6 comments on “Scenes Around the Garden”

  1. Beautiful! I live in Ben Lomond and have been wanting to hire someone to help me too. Lyme keeps me from being consistent with taking care of my yard. Do you think Roberto wants some more work? If so I’d love his phone number. Thank you.
    How has your health been lately?
    Jennifer Anderson

  2. Just spent 1/2 hr catching up on Wild Dingo news.... your garden is awesome!!!! I'm more of a "Bloom where you're planted" type of gardener, & occasionally I luck out & plant something that seems happy where its at. Switching to container gardening here in FL, makes it easier to relocate plants to a safe location during hurricane season, as we found out last fall. But I sure do miss my iris gardens and hydrangeas from up north. I'm learning that plants here are all out to kill you. But hey, I'm up for a challenge!

  3. Your yard looks fantastic this year! I love it and all the colors. I read this after spending several hours in our yard yesterday. Planting some more vegetables in my raised beds, adding a little color to some pots, trimming some low hanging wisteria but I don't have near the color you do. We have at times but let several things go during the drought and have been working on more drought tolerant plants/shrubs. It's a work in progress which keeps it fun, I suppose. Keep the pics coming!

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