It was finally time to complete a couple of small projects I'd been thinking on. Neither of them are terribly innovative - in fact they're both versions of things that I've done before. But when something is working, and still making you happy, why not have more of that? First up - a new Agave mound...
You're looking at patch of Sedum (below), I can't remember exactly which one but I've decided it's too much of a good thing, kind of boring. Let's crank that area up a notch! The empty patch in the Sedum was an Agave planted poorly last summer (it died over the winter).
A pail of rocks was left over from this project, I can't do any digging here without finding a rock or seven.
I dumped it in the area where I'd removed some of the Sedum. Then I dumped another pail full of mixed gravel and soil. Then I placed the plants I'd been collecting. Why are there no photos? Because the light was horrible, sharp contrasts between sunlight and shade. And I was working and "in the groove"...
Here's the finished project. Although this photo is a little deceiving in that it's not that perfectly rectangular, thank goodness.
Or maybe it is. Damn. Oh well, the remaining Sedum will obscure the edges soon enough. The basalt pieces are helping to hold the mound in place. I built the rock, soil, and gravel mixture up from the surrounding soil, providing the sharp drainage these plants need.
The thin spikes at the back belong to Agave striata, the bright agave at front right is Agave 'Mateo.' There are a few potentially hardy Echeveria sprinkled around and dead center is an Agave parryi 'J.C. Raulston' pup. I should have thought to photograph my other Agave mounds and include them here, just for comparisons sake. I did not. They've been hugely successful - I'll do a future post on them.
The next project involved creating more of my custom dish planters. I completed this trio back in 2013. They've been through a lot since then and keep on looking good. Although to be honest I did root prune the Agaves earlier this spring. It was time.
I detailed the construction "how-to" in the original (2013) post: here.
The only thing that's different with the current planting is that I mounded the soil a little more and ran the gravel all the way out to edge, rather than trying to maintain a empty channel around the edge.
It's remarkable to see how the plants have grown up around them in two years time. The Nolina 'La Siberica' was barely visible back then, now it's taller than the dish planters. I think I'll be upping their height in the near future (cutting taller poles).
Anyway, so that's the originals - now to the new ones! This area has been giving me trouble. It doesn't look too bad here...
But from this side you see how things at the front are flopping forward and it looks a little "empty"...
Here's what I added.
Last summer that Adiantum pedatum (behind the planters) turned crispy and disappeared. I'm hoping to avoid that this year (I've been careful to water it, a lot).
This combination isn't going to last long term. The tiny green leaves belong to Corsican mint (Mentha requienii), a perennial herb. It will eventually grow to conceal the gravel and create a green mound, and it smells so good! The dark leaves belong to Sweet Potato Vine (Ipomoea batatas), such a common plant but I love it - well, until the slugs get a hold of it (hopefully up here they won't). I wanted dark leaves that will cascade and that's why I chose the vine. Next year I'll do something more permanent.
Here's the side view.
I'm happy with the change, it fills a void and creates interest.
This one I'm not so sure of, it might be too lonely over there. Originally I thought it would tie-in with the metal all around, but instead it just sort of sticks out. Luckily I have another section of pipe and another dish and I'll be adding a second. I just need to find the right plant to put in it.
This one is Trachelospermum asiaticum 'Ogon Nishiki': "Ogon Nishiki' translates to 'Gold Brocade' in English, on this remarkable evergreen vine from Japan. New growth emerges in tones of hot orange-red and then changes to gold that is irregularly splashed on deep green leaves. NO OTHER HARDY VINE has foliage this color and this dramatic. Slow growing trailing plant to 2' in a season. Part shade to shade in rich soil with regular water during summer. We have yet to see it bloom. Irrelevant." (Xera Plants)
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