Thursday, August 17, 2017

Sudden Death, Grevillea Style

I know this. I've been through this, twice before. On the right, against the house, that's my Grevillea victoriae 'Murray Queen', champion bloomer, winter food source for the local hummingbirds and tough as nails plant through snow and ice.

Yet as I walked into the back garden on July 27th and stopped to actually focus on that amazing Grevillea it hit me — hard — it's dead!

When I started writing this post I was calling it "someday I'll laugh about this..." but since I was already laughing the same afternoon the death occurred I decided that was a dumb title. I mean what can you do, but laugh? My Grevillea 'Neil Bell' up and died seemingly over night in 2015 and my G. ‘Poorinda Leane’ did the same last summer.

As a friend said on Facebook "Proteaceae like to die. It is their very favorite thing to do"...

Thing was I had a tour of 30 or so people from Seattle coming through the garden the very next day, and then a magazine was sending a small entourage (three people qualify as an entourage, yes?) to photograph my garden after that. Hello huge dead shrub!!!

But seriously, what are ya gonna do? Knowing the tour group likely consisted of real gardeners I just left it in place and we talked about it. They were great people and totally understood.

However, that was early Friday afternoon and the magazine group were arriving on Sunday. Two afternoons in the mid 90's. Things were gonna get crispy, I had to remove the dead Grevillea...

Not wanting to make a quick decision about what to put in its place I ended up falling back on some summer performing favorites.

Spot the tall banana (Musa Basjoo) at the back? Funny thing, it's been there all along. It was one of the first things I planted, showing up in VERY early blog post in August of 2009 (yes, that really is my garden). I'd kind of forgotten about it, I knew it was back there but hadn't really seen it for years. Playing off it's tropical "big leaves" made filling in the bare space a little easier.

A bit of Crocosmia...

A couple lush Canna lilies...

And a Eupatorium capillifolium 'Elegant Feather' I'd picked up awhile back but hadn't found a suitable home for.

Add an Agave pup, and a few divided clumps of Black Mondo Grass at the base, and who's the wiser? Well me, but I was just standing on the sidelines laughing at it all.

Weather Diary, Aug 16: Hi 84, Low 58/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

23 comments:

  1. I am assuming that what you did is a temporary measure? But it looks great and I personally think the contrast of these bolder plants with what is already still there is a better solution to the spot.

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    1. Yes, temporary, I'll rethink it in the spring.

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  2. Amazing how quickly you filled that hole. Seeing the "after" pictures, I would have no idea that something else was there not long ago.

    I lost my Phylica pubescens this summer. It simply got too hot for it.

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    1. When there's a deadline looming one must act quick! Sorry to hear bout your Phylica pubescens.

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  3. One plant dies, I'll replace with four (or more). =D

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    1. And you see a problem with this?

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  4. Good recovery, the textures are a nice mix. Some plants just do that. Most, like Stipa grass, are more easily replaced than your Grevillea.

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    1. Ya Grevilleas tend to leave a rather large hole. Grow fast, die fast...

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  5. I certainly noticed nothing amiss when I was just there. You just have so much fabulousness going on that my eyes would have skipped right over a single dead shrub. Can you divulge the magazine? Hoping it's one I can get my hands on!

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    1. Removing the dead shrub was definitely the right thing to do, your eyes would have been drawn to it's off-color and odd leaves. Good to know the replacement didn't draw attention to itself.

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  6. It was lovely of you not to remove it for the tour. It's easy to get caught up in being perfect. You got to be refreshingly real with your garden. I'm sure your visitors loved it!

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    1. Thanks Rebecca, they certainly didn't seem to mind.

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  7. The evil void has been filled! All it takes is one plant (banana) and looking at it from different directions when a plan can magically come together... at least until you change your mind!I like it!

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    1. Thanks Sheila, it certainly worked in this case.

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  8. Snow to blazing heat is a lot to ask of any plant. I hope you're going to get another 'Murray Queen' at some point - it's a star, regardless of how things ended. In the meantime, quick work on the backfill!

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    1. Sadly I don't think I will. I can't replant in the same places I've lost a Grevillea in the past, and my garden isn't that big!

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  9. Look at you finding a quick and stunning solution to your dead grevillea problem. Loved the link to your garden in 2009!

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    1. So white! So small! It's interesting to see what;s still alive that was in those 2009 photos. The banana along with the Hibiscus and Hakonechloa are about it.

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  10. Nice save! Do you think the Grevillea got the wrong fertilizer? I'm feeding mine with iron chelate, it's 8-0-0.

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    1. No, I don't fertilize much, certainly not anything in the ground. Tough love!

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  11. Better a glorious plant with a short life, than a boring one you can't get rid of!

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  12. "Oh, right. There's a banana back there." The dead grevillea made me sad. The rediscovered banana made me laugh. What an emotional roller coaster!

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  13. Do you suspect it's been Phythopthora killing your Grevilleas? The sudden death syndrome would seem to point in that direction.

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