Thursday, May 21, 2015

May 2015 snapshot of the front yard

May has been a great month this year, lack of rain notwithstanding. With daytime highs almost 10 degrees below average, i.e. low 70s instead of low 80s, I felt like I was in San Diego County instead of the greater Sacramento area. Invariably the weather will heat up and summer will descend upon us, stressing both humans and plants. For now, though, the floral display in the front yard continues. Time to take a stroll!

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Penstemon ‘Firebird’ (complex hybrid involving Penstemon cobaea, P. hartwegii, P. campanulata, P. gentianoides and P. isophyllus)

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Parkinsonia ‘Desert Museum’

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Driveway bed tapestry

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Fallen flowers from Parkinsonia ‘Desert Museum’. This is the biggest “mess” yet from any of our palo verde trees. I’m still trying to debunk the “palo verdes are messy” myth that’s floating around on the Internet.

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Parkinsonia ‘Desert Museum’ still going strong. The flower power of this palo verde is unbelievable!

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Parkinsonia ‘Desert Museum’ flowers in my hand

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LEFT: Asian lemon bamboo (Bambusa eutultoides ‘Viridividatta’) 
RIGHT: Baby blue bamboo (Bambusa chungii ‘Barbellata’)

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FRONT: Agave bovicornuta  BACK: Encephalartos lehmanii

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LEFT: Agave salmiana ‘Butterfingers’  RIGHT: Yucca rostrata

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LEFT: Old man of the mountains (Cephalocereus senilis)
RIGHT: Old man of the Andes (Oreocereus celsianus)

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Old man of the Andes (Oreocereus celsianus)

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Ferocactus herrerae

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Sphaeralcea ‘Newleaze Coral’. This globe mallow is extremely vigorous and free-flowering.

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Verbena bonariensis adding pops of purple in many places

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Second Parkinsonia ‘Desert Museum’ behind potted cacti on front yard fence

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Same Parkinsonia ‘Desert Museum’ seen from the street

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I love this tapestry of textures and colors

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Verbena bonariensis and Parkinsonia ‘Desert Museum’

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Tower of jewels (Echium wildpretii)

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Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’. This elderberry has never been as stunning as it is this year. The leaves are a deep purple where it gets full sun—almost black.

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Globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus). I’m growing it for the leaves and the flowers.

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Red aloe flower stalk (Hesperaloe parviflora) in front of globe artichoke (Cynara scolymus)

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First artichoke flower (photo taken 5 days after the two photos above)

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Agave macroacantha and Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha)

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Agave gentryi ‘Jaws’ coming into its own

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Agave gentryi ‘Jaws’

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Agave gentryi ‘Jaws’ and Aloe cameronii

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Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha) and Aloe cameronii

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Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica) and Aloe ferox

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Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica), Aloe ferox and NOID agastache

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Aloidendron ‘Hercules’, almost to the top of the fence now

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BACK: Bush marigold (Tagetes lemmonii ‘Martins Mutant’)
CENTER: Yucca rostrata
FRONT: Agave americana ‘Mediopicta alba’

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Agave americana ‘Mediopicta alba’ and Agastache ‘Kudos Coral’ (a Terra Nova introduction)

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Agave ovatifolia. This is the smallest of the three whale’s tongue agaves I have. Just 15 months ago it was in a #1 nursery pot. Now it’s 19 inches in diameter.

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Mexican hat (Ratibida columnifera var. pulcherrima)

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Yellow bird of paradise (Caesalpinia gilliesii)

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Chocolate flower (Berlandiera lyrata)

And finally a set of wide shots of the desert bed:

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Hard to believe this was an inpenetrable pittosporum hedge just 15 months ago!

12 comments:

  1. The moment I saw what the title of the post was I got excited and looked forward to seeing your post, and what a delight it was reading it and seeing the pics! Beautiful plants and the planting is maturing nicely and merging together very well! Your Hercules will be towering in no time at all.

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    1. I had to think about this post for a few days. I wasn't sure if folks were ready for more photos of the front yard, but then I figured I wanted a record of how things looked in May. I do look at photos from previous years occasionally to gauge progress.

      I can't wait for 'Hercules' to grow up. I recently planted another one, a much smaller cutting I was given. I haven't officially unveiled it yet :-).

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  2. I love many of your plant choices :) It is looking great :)

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. While a few plant- and design-related decisions were well thought out, most were made spur of the moment. I'm a plant collector first and foremost, and I try to cram as many plants in as I can. I'll never have a garden that will be featured in design books :-).

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  3. It looks great! I took a look at the "before" Pittosporum hedge and the transformation is fantastic. I especially love the palo verde tree (which I still don't consider messy vis-a-vis either a Jacaranda or an Albizia julibrissin). You have a wonderful mix of flower color going on throughout the area. I need to look into adding mallows to my own garden.

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    1. Replacing that hedge was one of the best decisions we ever made. I love what this planting strip has become. Even though we can't see it from the house, I walk out there every day to see what's new.

      Globe mallow is a fantastic plant for California. The more you neglect it, the better it seems to do!

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  4. Wow! What a show, and I love that I actually understood the layout and how it all works together since we got to visit last fall. It's looking just wonderful.

    It's interesting that only one flower spike came up from your mass of Echium. Nice though, in that you'll get to enjoy the others longer.

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    1. Good point about the layout. Folks who've been to my garden are familiar with it, but to others it may not be clear. I'll work on a post outlining the layout of the front yard and backyard using Google Earth images.

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  5. Glad you are getting continued mild weather, same here...everything is going strong. Your 'Desert Museum' Palo Verde and new desert bed are stunning!

    Palo Verde making a mess...I field that issue on desert trees often, mostly a symptom of clients and the public being disconnected from gardens or anything not lawn / rock / familiar - no matter how neat or well-designed. One would think the garden should be as clean as a kitchen floor! Arrgh...

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    1. Thank you, David!

      You bring up a good point. Like nature, gardens are inherently messy. There is no such thing as a completely maintenance-free garden. And all trees shed something, be it flowers or leaves. In general, though, I'd say that desert trees are inherently tidier than the kinds of street trees you find around here.

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  6. Wonderful selection of plants. Amazing to think it was a pitt hedge that recently. It'll be so interesting to watch the desert garden grow and evolve. I agree, that globe mallow is off the chain! It's been a lovely May down here too, such a gift this year.

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    1. The lovely weather is continuing. I can't remember a Memorial Day weekend this perfect. 80°F at 1pm now. I just added another Penstemon palmeri to the Desert Bed as well as an Asphodeline lutea nearby, both from yesterday's trip to Annie's Annuals.

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