Well, here we are in the middle of summer and boy is it a scorcher. While the plant life at Hoe & Shovel is growing like a jungle I thought this might be a good time to highlight some updates to plantings/projects featured in previous posts. So if you like that sort of thing, hang around for a few minutes to see how long hours of sunshine, some rain (finally), and lots of summer humidity are the elements that make a zone 10 garden thrive.
That Was Then (April 2008)
The above photo first appeared in an April post (here for the back story) explaining how this north side of the garden was all grass until it was decided the veggie garden would work well over here. Once the veggie garden was started (not visible in the photo) ... well, let's just say I couldn't be spending so much time over there without having some pretty plants to keep me company too. Digging the curvy bed out around the fencing to join the front bed seemed to be the best way to take care of that dilemma.
This Is Now.
Bush daisy found next to the fire bush in this planting.
I can tell you that without a doubt these curves will be wider in the fall. As soon as it cools down the shovel will be at work again to enlarge this area. There just isn't enough room here ... for the fire spike(forefront) and bush daisies are overpowering the border of amaryllis and day lilies. The fire spike is supposed to let loose with its red blooms late summer/early fall. It is a first here so I can only hope it will not disappoint. The big green leafy plant is sufficient enough for now. I discovered it's easily propogated with cuttings too. If it does bloom I'll be planting more of it in the fall using the plants I've started from cuttings .A view of the same bed from another angle.
A closer look (above) at how the side bed blends with the front bed around the fencing. The impatiens in the center of the white caladiums is a volunteer. Impatiens tend to behave like weeds around here popping up everywhere. Many times I actually pluck them and throw them in the compost (gasp) because they show up in unwanted places. I left this one because it turned out to be purplish pink but seeing it front and center in a photo makes it seem a little out of place.
That Was Then (March 2008)
Around we go to the back garden (above). This is the closest planting bed to the back pool patio. The above photo was first featured in a post referencing the mexican petunia (behind the iron gates in background) and the variegated schefflera. It was time for a severe trimming of both back in March. The original post can be read in full here.
This planting bed is about 35' in length and 20' at its widest point over to the archway that connects it to another bed. The entire bed is anchored by a single-trunk Ligustrum japonicum (or japanese privet) on the far end (not visible due to height of it) and a drake elm on the closer end (in the foreground but not visible in this photo). Picture the long side of the bed running parallel to the pool .
This Is Now.
You can see the mexican petunia;Ruellia brittoniana towering at 5-6 feet tall again. I like to pretend the black iron gates are containing it. But alas... it is not to be contained in anyone's imagination or reality. An invasive species in this zone it is beginning to make me weary trying to keep it from taking over. It's been trimmed (not its heighth but its breadth) and shooters continually pulled up everywhere since the growing season started. The butterflies do love it so that is its one huge redeeming quality.
I would not recommend planting Mexican Petunia to anyone in this area and south of me. Except under one condition and that is if nothing else is growing nearby and you do not mind it turning into a rather large hedge. It starts out so purple and lovely but now after 6 (years) flourishing seasons, it seems as if it is out to get me... chasing me down at every turn... and all the trimming I'm doing to tame it is making it want to grow even better. HA! It is a good thing I keep my pruners in hand at all times.But the typical gardener would not be able to manage its unruly habits and THIS A-typical gardener is weary of doing it.
This Is Now ( a little bit tighter shot)
By the way... there are four container plants visible in the above photo. Can you figure out where they are? Stay tuned for a future post featuring the containers placed in and around Hoe & Shovel.
That Was Then (March 2008)
Staying in the back garden there are several more planted beds. This one (above--in the background) is situated at an angle in the S E corner of the garden. There is a grassy pathway behind this bed and then about 20 more feet of property planted out beyond it but SE corner suffices for this description. The original explanation of this expansion project that was done over the period of a couple of years (read: continuous digging) can be read here.
This Is Now.
I hope you've enjoyed the partial tour and update of Hoe & Shovel. It really does seem like everything is billowing over its borders this time of year. The heat is turned up to extreme as it is all over the country it seems. Only here you have to imagine the nights don't cool down much... never cooler than about 75 degrees but more like 80. I think the plants are growing by moonlight, too.
Hope you are all enjoying your gardens, too. Meems