Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sleek Contemporary With Vertical Wall Garden

As sleek as it gets

The building where Beloved works got a remodeled garden recently.  
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A vertical wall, finished in white satin tile, was added to a open plaza.   The wall instantly created a sheltered sitting area.  Before, the plaza sat exposed to parking lot traffic and an unavoidable view of the adjacent Taco Bell.  Big improvement.
The Taco Bell side of the wall:
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The other side of the wall:
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A large vertical garden runs the length of the wall. 
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The vertical garden, facing roughly north east, is planted with:  sword ferns (a Polystichum of some sort?), Senecio mandraliscae, Vinca minor (or maybe it's major),  Heuchera, and Carex flacca 'Blue Zinger'(???).
Oopsie.  This single Heuchera is likely getting the most sun, and/or the least water.
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The planting structure for the vertical garden is first-rate, offering plenty of depth for the roots of small plants.  It appears to be modular such that an entire section can be lifted out and a new one easily slid into place.  The structures for vertical gardens have significantly improved, and they now seem truly functional.  Progress:  that's exciting!
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There is a fountain surrounding the wall on the vertical garden side.  It adds sparkle and movement.
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Contemporary cantilevered and patio umbrellas offer sturdy shade and bright color.
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The bench cushions are apparently taken in for the weekend.
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A number of potted Furcraea macdougallii, survivors from the previous garden remodel, still look marvelous.  
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Must. Get. Furcraea macdougallii!
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Around the corner at the back of the building, facing east-ish, is a mass planting of variegated Dianella.  The building is in Sunset Zone 24--very coastal, quite mild, but the Dianella may toast a bit in sun adjacent to concrete.  
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Around at the front of the building is a simple low water feature.  The area was not yet finished, so I took a few detail photos only.
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Unfortunately, fasteners marred the sleek steel walls of the fountain.
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It all looked fairly well done.  Time will tell how well the plants are maintained.  The building exterior was previously redone just a couple or three years ago with grasses and Aloes, and looked good still.   The big success this time is the now very appealing sitting area with vertical garden.  Masking out the fast food place next door was an excellent idea.  Without the wall and the umbrellas, the area had a barren feel.

And so glad they kept the potted Furcraeas.
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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Jarrahdale Pumpkin

Previously, we've always grown the very reliable 'Small Sugar' as our pumpkin.  Last year I finally finished the entire package of seeds--one packet was good for ten years!--and it was time to splurge on a new packet.  Jarrahdale is an heirloom Australian variety of a ghostly blue-grey similar to the color of Agave parryii truncata.  How could I say no to that?  The flesh color is the usual pumpkin-orange.
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We got plenty of flowers on a large (30', 9 meter) vine that went everywhere.  Most of the fruits rotted for unknown reasons--it certainly wasn't due to excess moisture--but four pumpkins have achieved maturity--which is plenty.  The fruits weigh about 10 lbs (4.5 kg) each.  The real test is texture and flavor--we'll see how they taste.
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 In the meantime, gorgeous to look at.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


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Not much garden blogging due to not much gardening.  Waiting, waiting, waiting for cooler weather.  I've resorted to doing things like having the carpets cleaned.  Yes, I'm that desperate.  
Joe Hoak progress:
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We've done a bit more on the west slope (the official Fall 2012--yes, 2012) project, mostly digging out Yucca roots and evening out the soil.  Waiting, waiting, waiting for cooler weather.  It may be cool enough this weekend to get the drip system in, finally.  
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The puppies remain adorable.  
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Though they are a little bored, too.  
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Sunday, September 21, 2014

After The Heat

 It was as though the very earth was melting
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Last week our area suffered through a terrible heat wave that shut us all down for a while.  We shrank and went dormant, like the Aeoniums. 
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Late Thursday afternoon a sea breeze brought relief as it began to push cool air back over the land.  Everyone's mood suddenly improved.  A few people, less than five hundred miles north of here, reported getting a little rain.  
Finally back outside, to ponder what the heat damaged or delighted.  Odd how some of the Agaves were sun-bleached...
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...when something like a Hydrangea sported pristine new foliage and flowers.
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The extreme temperatures turned roses strange colors.  
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This rose is normally peachy-pink:
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Time to cut that Fuchsia back.
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But, happy peppers.
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Happy begonia.
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The first flower from dainty Lotus jacobaeus
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A few good things came out of being stuck indoors for so long--things got repaired, installed, cleaned.   Less than five hundred miles north of here, some people got a little rain. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Is Yucca queretaroensis Slow?

Purchased February 2011 in 4" pots, along with Yucca rostrata 'Sapphire Skies' (lower right) and Agave bracteosa 'Monterey Frost'
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Described as "very slow" growing.  What is "very slow"?  I would think it means:  three years later and you can barely see the difference.  Agave bracteosa 'Monterey Frost':  "very slow", yes. 

I planted the Yuccas on the slope in November of '11.  The Yucca are the trio of circled plants nearest the top of the wall.  The one in the middle is Y. rostrata 'Sapphire Skies'. 
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September 2014.  I moved one Yucca to the spot where Aloe arborescens was (gall mite).   It was Not Easy.   The Yucca survived the move so far.  The other queretaroensis is too close to the larger Metrosideros (in syllable count as well as physically), and the rostrata is too close to the smaller Metrosideros.  Batting zero for two here.  Easiest to move the smaller Metrosideros and the queretaroensis.   Easiest, if not easy. 
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These Yucca do grow faster than "very slow"--otherwise I wouldn't have to move them already.  Is Yucca queretaroensis slow?  Moderately slow, yes...super slow, no. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Waiting for better weather, stuck inside.  The heat has been terrible since the middle of last week.
'Joe Hoak' progresses.
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The baby Oak is five feet tall (150 cm) now, and oblivious to heat.  
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The beautiful Ozothamnus succumbed.
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The pumpkins are almost ready.
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I wait indoors, restless and grouchy, so desperate for activity I washed the floors again.

Natasha knows what to do.
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