Sunday, October 16, 2016

Little tweaks

There are a couple of spots in the garden that I have struggled with throughout the Summer, and a few weeks ago I couldn't take it any more.

Tweak #1:
This Nolina nelsonii up and died in July. It just sort of sagged from the middle out, like it was rotted from rain (except we had none). Before:

Just a reminder of what it looked like in the Spring. Sigh.

I'm pretty sure a bad bug got at it, maybe Agave weevils or something like that.

I really waited too long to pull it out; I need to spray all those Agaves and Yuccas in that area to make sure I don't lose them too (but that's a post for another day).

I've been coveting my neighbor's Olive tree since we moved here, and had been looking for a place to plant one of my own.

The neighbor's Olive tree. Love the silvery green leaves!

When the nelsonii died, I started researching Olive trees.

I was thinking to get a fruitless one (the wilsoni variety) but they get pretty huge and that spot in the corner isn't that big (maybe 4x6?) Then I came across an Arbosana Olive at Hill Country Water Gardens and it seemed like a great choice, despite it bearing fruit (which I hear is messy). They only get to be 12-15' high, are able to tolerate brief freezes (zone 8-10), and they're drought-tolerant once established.

Yes, there's my trademark Minnie Pearl plant tag.

Tweak #2:
I also pulled out all of the Salvia I'd transplanted to that side of the house. They just weren't working for me with the pokey plants. I replaced them with Bamboo Muhly, which my garden had been sorely lacking anyway.

I'm trying to hide the *#^@!& AC unit until I can build a screen to put in front of it.

Hidden if you look from a certain angle and crouch down

Not even a little hidden

Definitely not hidden. Can I paint it green?

Tweak #3:
This bed, and specifically the roses in it, have struggled mightily since I planted them. It looked pretty in the Spring (what doesn't?) but as the Summer progressed the 'Valentine' roses got more and more scraggly looking.

I think they were in a pot for too long, transplanted too many times, and just never quite got a good root system established. I lovelovelove that rose so pulling them out was sad, but I felt I'd spent enough time (2 years) trying to rehab them: one of us didn't want it bad enough.

The Canna 'Blueberry Sparkler' bloomed off and on all Summer, but just looked raggedy and crispy on the bottom leaves. (You'd never believe that from this photo after the August deluge, right?)

I pulled all of it out except the Smoke Tree, the Pennisetum grass, and the Patio Peach. Then I moved the big planter from the back far corner of the yard (where I'd done nothing with it all year). Here's what we're left with:

That spot gets full sun all year long, so I plan to embrace that: I want to plant some Sharkskin Agave in that planter, and move the gigantic Yucca 'Sapphire Skies' from its pot in the front to this bed. (As you can tell from the post-rainstorm photo above, drainage is going to be an important thing to address in order for that Yucca to survive.)

The Pennisetum is staying (they sure love sun!), however I'm struggling with the Peach and Smoke Tree. The Peach is doing great there, but I'm not sure how to address the needs of a Yucca and it in the same soil (whether the topic is raising the bed, or irrigation/drainage). That bed doesn't get anything but rain water currently, and I don't plan to change that.

I saw that same Peach tree variety in shade at Hill Country Water Gardens, so I'm contemplating moving it to the back area under the Oak tree, where the Begonia luxurians died [shocking absolutely no one]. I know if I do that, the leaves might lose the dark coloring I love so much in the Spring, and I'll never see a peach seed on it again (due to the year-round filtered sunlight).

The Smoke Tree is another story. When I had it in shade, the leaves were solid (boring) green. Now that it's been in it's new spot spot all year, I see that it reeeeeaaaally isn't a fan of our heat/intense sun. It was starting to put out little smoke blooms this Summer and I got excited, then we went several weeks where it was hot and dry, and the leaves started dropping again.

If you look closely at the shot above, you can see new red leaves from the good rain we got Thursday. It's sneaky: it does that every time I want to pull it out!! It's thisclose to going in a brown Home Depot bag.

That bed is important to me: there are so many months of the year where it's just miserable to be outside, so I need the outside views from inside the house to make me happy. This one from the kitchen makes me happy (and that's why I busted my behind and the bank to make it happen this Spring):

Hoping I can make the view from the sunroom one worth looking at!!