Sunday, February 17, 2008

Uh, didn't it rain, like, all day yesterday?

The rain gauge says exactly one-half inch fell here at Aurora which is disappointing after what seemed like nonstop rain all day yesterday, including some heavy downpours. Today I went to the Vale house to dig up some liriope plugs, since it’s always much easier to dig these after a rain.
I was trying to come up with something different to frame the rose bed, but in the end I’ve fallen back into my routine edging solution, reasoning that Big Blue Lily Turf is bulletproof and of course, free. The Vale front garden is really quite mature now; I cut back some of the deadwood on the perennials as a kindness to George, who’s oblivious to overgrowth. I remember after my mother died, observing how her garden evolved in response to its no longer being lovingly tended. Some things keeled over, but the bones of the garden remained: crepe myrtles, Barbados cherry, pomegranate, fig, even the bougainvillea. It was the fleshy subtropicals that disappeared: bananas, elephant ears, cannas.
Nothing is dying at Vale, it's just the opposite. Massive overgrowth. The backyard in particular is a jungle.
One interesting thing I notice at Vale is the disparity between the two different plantings of soft-leaf yucca. The first batch planted are dark gray bluegreen and after 5 years, the size of giant tumbleweeds. As yet they have no height or stalk emerging; they’re still low to the ground and their shape is a handsome globe of symmetrical leaves. They are really spectacular among the cenizo. The second batch I planted, also identified as soft-leaf yucca, are completely different. These are more yellow green, their shape is in no way globe-like, they are not symmetrical, the curve of their leaves have a ratty random quality. And they are now twice as tall as the original SLYs. At first I disliked them, but now I accept them on their own terms, though I prefer the globular SLYs. I have been harvesting pups from the preferred SLY because I can never find this one in the nurseries.
The front garden here at Aurora is heavily dormant and without a single point of interest. Every single inch of the front yard and flowerbeds is still littered with a half-foot of nonbiodegradable liveoak leaves. My across-the-street neighbors have completed their professional landscaping, so I at least have something interesting to look at. Or in my know-it-all fashion, criticize. These are professionals, after all. Why would they plant those straggly chlorotic-looking dwarf nandinas? And surely the most overplanted landscape plant going these days is the dietes or African iris. Can't they think of something different?
One happy development in my backyard are the flourishing cosmos seedlings which I need to thin. Can't wait for these blowsy frousy ramshackle kids to bloom!

6 comments:

Agamagra Blackray said...
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mss @ Zanthan Gardens said...

I'm so glad that you provided an update on the cosmos. After mine froze in the first really hard freeze, I was very curious to see if yours would over-winter. I usually plant cosmos as a summer replacement after the larkspur and bluebonnets die down.

Just today, though, I saw my first cosmos sprouts, popping up after yesterday's rain. I thought it was a pretty good rain. After so many disappointments these last few cold fronts, I was happy with it.

Kiwi said...

I've noticed that some of the orange cosmos plants from summer reseeded and sprouted during the worst of the cold. That orange cosmos is truly indestructable. A week ago I saw the poppies sprouting and now they've dissappeared. No idea what happened, bugs or cold or what....

Layanee said...

We have been getting a lot of rain! Today over an inch. We'll probably have a dry spring or summer with all this rain. Oh, and did I mention the gray skies? Yup, gray, gray, gray! Will February ever end?

Brianna said...

Hi Kiwi, I found your blog through Pam's site, and I'm enjoying catching up on some of your posts.

I like liriope, too. :)

Ivan said...
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