Thursday, April 1, 2010

The sunny dry bed, reborn

I’ll start with a teaser “after” picture…A year ago when we planted Sammy (our Yucca Rostrata) I knew the nearby Acanthus needed to go, it just wasn’t right for my vision of the area. But I was leery of moving a healthy happy plant and chickened out. Plus the nearby Mediterranean Fan Palm was still alive (barely hanging on) and I didn’t want to damage its root system.

Fast forward to this year and I was determined to right the wrong and move it out. Winter made it easy since it knocked back the Acanthus to nothing but a couple of tiny green fists pushing through the soil and finally killed off the palm. Here are a couple of “before” picture…taken right before I got to work.Hard to believe that the Acanthus has normally filled this entire area with its large glossy leaves isn’t it? I should have made the labels on the photo larger. From the upper left they are: dead palm, Aloe was here, this is the Acanthus and dying Agave montana...This is shortly after the Acanthus had been removed and divided into two plants. Looks like I was pretty careless with the roots doesn’t it? I tried.Here they are after planting in their new homes, hopefully I managed to get enough roots, and move them early enough that they won’t wilt on the first hot day this summer. I’ve heard the warnings, that when you move an Acanthus you’ll be doing it forever, and after digging this one out I really believe it. The roots! They are thick and very long…luckily since I was reworking most of the area I had the opportunity to remove most of them, hopefully. In addition to the palm death a couple of Aloe striatula also died over the winter and my much loved Agave montana 'Baccarat' had to go, it didn’t look like it was going to pull through and I was tired of being saddened every time I saw it.This is the area after all the deceased plants were removed and the new ones were about to be planted.
I’ve been collecting plants to go into this area since last fall…so I had a lot of material to work with, plus I moved a few things from elsewhere in the garden. Finally the sun loving plants that had thrived there previously would look like they belonged, rather than being upstaged by the Acanthus!
Agave parryi came out of its pot and into the ground. Hopefully not to become next winters victim.
Agave toumeyana and Dykia hybrid (Burgandy Ice)Echium fastuosum
Eryngium venustum moved from a shadier location
Grevillea juniperina 'Low Red'
Prickly Pear and Sempervivum
A trio of Yucca A. Purpurea
Yucca carnerosana
Yucca linearifolia 'Dusky Blue’ moved out into the open, it had previously been hidden behind some over achieving Japanese blood grass in the summer.
Yucca rigida and Euphorbia myrsinites
I’m very happy with the results and glad I finally did it!


  1. Looks great! I've never come across Dykia hybrid (Burgandy Ice). I like it so I'm going to look it up - thanks.

  2. I need a Sammy - were did you get him? I'm relieved I'm not the only blogger posting about dead and dying plants -thank you,thank you...good move, Sammy needs space...

  3. Enjoyed looking at all the pictures; a beautiful garden.

  4. good to see everything fared well!

  5. Looks great, Loree. I've been replacing freeze-dried plants too. It's good to have refreshed beds, isn't it?

  6. That Grevillea juniperina 'Low Red'looks like it will be one sweet plant. I just learned about them. Awesome pics. Matti

  7. This is just a spectacular grouping. Pretty now, but I can't wait when it is overflowing with happy sunny plants. Quite the show stopper.

  8. looks great! I'm also admiring the garden bed itself. The concrete (?) border is really nice. Hopefully I'll be able to find some wider shots of your garden - it's beautiful.

  9. Evelyn, theoretically this Dyckia is a little more cold hardy than the rest. Hope so!

    linda, Sammy came to us via Cistus, he was the shortest one...they had others that were taller and taller still!

    RBell, thank you!

    J.J., hopefully...I think the jury is still out on the Acanthus.

    Pam, it is! Makes you feel a little like that ugly winter never happened.

    faroutflora, me too! How did I miss them for so long?

    Megan, still needs a little height. Hopefully one of these will take off!

    Wendy, thank you. The border is just grey concrete bricks laid end to end...the wall that you can see a couple of shots of is a short retaining wall next to our patio.


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