This is the area just north of our patio as it looks today, this part of the garden underwent a make-over when the large, floppy Grevillea australis was removed this last spring.
That green mass below was the Grevillea, photo from summer 2017. I previously wrote about the removal of the Grevillea, and the replacement plantings, back on June 5th (here). But what I didn't mention then — because I wasn't yet aware of it — has become perhaps the most exciting development of my summer: I have gotten ZERO painful, itchy, bites this season! Let me digress...
This area used to be home to a huge overgrown planting of privet (Ligustrum). It was an inherited mess that we managed to live with for 9 years (I was finally coming to terms with it's removal in this post from July of 2013). In February of 2014 I shared photos of the area post privet removal (here), and in May of 2014 I revealed the new stock-tank pond that we'd placed (here). Little did I know what lay ahead. The summer of 2014 was the first time I suffered repeated, remarkably painful and itchy, insect bites — and they continued to haunt me every summer since, until this one.
The connection between the new "pond" and surrounding plants started to form in my head the next summer. I could work in the upper garden and not suffer, but work in the lower garden, or time spent on the patio, was almost always rewarded with a bite. As the Grevillea australis grew, and flopped toward the tank, I began to wonder if it wasn't hosting something. Of course that was just me postulating, I had no proof, and I loved that plant and the water garden so I certainly wasn't going to get rid of either one. Until I did. Not even thinking about the bites. Until I did. Because they weren't happening anymore. Thus I give you the mysterious case of the Grevillea chigger... could it be? Did my nemesis depart with the Grevillea?
Okay if you've read this far in my mini Nancy Drew mystery you deserve a little plant-porn reward. Let's look at how the "new" plants in the area are settling in. The Symphytum × uplandicum 'Axminster Gold' has had a good year.
The vent-planter filled with succulents and an Agave topper is looking good.
I'm going to have to decide how I want to over-winter these guys.
Lift them roots and all, or just cut off their heads and let them re-root indoors. And what about the purple Oxalis? I guess I should be planning to lift it and plant it in the ground somewhere.
Hopefully the Passiflora 'Amethyst Jewel' has settled in nicely and will come back just as strong next year.
And I must say, I'm happy to have a better path through this part of the garden.
Just how wide is that path? How big are those plants? Feet for scale.
And the view over to the patio, where I can enjoy a glass of wine and not suffer itchy, painful, red bumps the next day. Hallelujah!
Weather Diary, Sept 9: Hi 80, Low 55/ Precip 0
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