Labor Day garden thoughts

I took the summer off from blogging. It wasn’t planned, and many times I found myself angst-ing over my blogger delinquency, but maybe its ok that this is just how the pacing of things goes sometimes.

My summer was good, full of plenty of gorgeous days, a week long trip to the mountains of Utah, and other lovely moments, but it was also mentally intense and honestly a bit draining. Lots of emotional heavy lifting was required, mostly about work but also about life.

This summer my garden was a place I turned to often to catch my breath, or ground my thoughts. So there was plenty of garden pondering going on, just not a lot of outward things to say about it.

The summer started out with a fantastic trip to the Denver Garden Bloggers Fling , exploring the gardens spaces of Colorado’s front range with a whole crowd of warm, fun and lovely people with whom I felt an immediate connection. Honestly, I don’t have many garden geek friends in my immediate local circles so spending the weekend delving into garden after garden in the company of like minded, plant obsessed folks was wonderful.

What else? The word of the summer was gigantic, as in overgrown. So many things just got out of hand, reaching never before seen proportions due to last winter and spring’s record rains. Plus, the summer heat held off until August so things just kept on growing. It was glorious.

Eventually that phase passed and faded into the current moment, which is Southern California’s version of the dead of winter: the hot, dry, dusty, utterly dormant weeks of late summer and early fall. Right now the light at the end of the day is that perfect, slanted gold on blue. In a few weeks we’ll round the equinox and the declining balance of daylight will start to show, with a few things coming around for another round of subdued blooming like they did last fall. Or so I hope.

I did a little garden assessing and planning this morning over coffee. The north bed in the back, particularly the back edge, is just too shallow and dry for probably anything but succulents or something just tough as nails. This is the area where the cracked and disintegrating koi pond that came with the property is buried. I still regret not finding a way to tear out all that concrete, but then, why send it to a landfill when most of would be under decomposed granite? But even a hesperaloe perished in this part of the bed this year. I think I’ll try Aoenium cyclops underplanted with something like cushion bush (if I can keep it small), or some of those ashy leaf buckwheats I picked up last fall at the CNPS Plant Sale. I think the ashy leaf buckwheat might just be the solution to the problem I’ve been trying to solve with cushion bush. Here it is, behind cushion bush. Similar effect, but with a more airy texture.

Then there’s the question of what to do with the office garden? The tree aloe is looking good. It has probably tripled in size since we planted it maybe 3 or 4 years ago.

But the rest of the bed is a mess. I tried ripping out and replanting the Anigozanthos (treating them like irises). This did not work. Then the 2 new ones I bought and installed actually died, just recently after it got hot. Weirdly, the echinops I’d long given up on as “another thing I just can’t grow here in 10b” actually bloomed.

I think I’ll try again with the Anigozanthos. I like how it invites hummingbirds to take up residence (they do fight over it, but nobody seems to get hurt). That plus some grass-like something as an underplanting. Or artemisia Powis Castle. And maybe I’ll try again with Digiplexis, or some penstemons.

The eyebrow grass Bouteloua gracilis is at its peak right now, as bright little patches of green underneath yellow pannicles — a perfect contrast to the blue hued plants that dominate my garden.

So yes, I think I’m back, although I never really had gone anywhere, had I?

2 thoughts on “Labor Day garden thoughts

  1. So good to hear from you! Looks like your garden has grown into a beautiful refuge. Echinops bloomed for me here in Long Beach many years ago but it never developed into a presence, always kind of spindly and gangly. Yours looks happy! I’m loving this autumn light too — but so hot and muggy today. Take care.

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