Above is a photo from October 18th of last year, 2020—just before I started to chop off pieces and add them to the yard waste bin. Such a dark and dreary photo! Below is an image of nearly the same space, taken in late August, 2021. The Nolina 'La Siberica' is definitely enjoying the increased light.
Again, Oct of 2020...
Early March, 2011. Even before I started to plant the space looked better without the ceanothus. Sometimes less is more.
And now late August, 2021...
Ha, sorry. I didn't realize I uploaded so many process shots. This one is also from March of this year.
And late August...again...
Things were looking really lush in June (pre heat-dome) when this photo was taken...
Above from left to right: the orange flowers belong to Alstroemeria 'Indian Summer' (in a container), the big leaves belong to Telanthophora grandifolia, an annual in my climate that never really got the water it needed to thrive, but I enjoyed anyway. The bright spikes are Yucca aloifolia 'Variegata' and then you can see some lazy leaves that are Acanthus syriacus, sadly those dried up shortly after our heat dome at the end of June. I think they'll return next year—and hopefully be more successful.
Pointing the camera up, just because. The Paulownia tomentosa didn't miss a beat this summer (photo late August). Its happiness (leafy canopy) is part of why some of the after photos above are darker than others. It takes it awhile to get going in the spring, since we pollard it.
From here on out these are all ground-level close-ups from late August, the Nolina 'La Siberica' has been a consistent star...
With last spring's "super bloom" of several Echium wildpretii in the garden, this is currently the oldest, largest, most gorgeous echium I've got. When it sends up it's bloom-spike next spring (winter-willing) it won't have to battle with the ceanothus for air-space.
This patch of Ajuga reptans 'Black Scallop' looks better than it ever has. The increased light is helping I'm sure.
More of the ajuga along with my oldest Cephalotaxus harringtonia 'prostrata', aka spreading Japanese plum yew.
And here's the little itty bitty new guy I planted out this spring, from Secret Garden Growers.
A close-up of the previously mentioned Yucca aloifolia 'Variegata'
Astelia 'Red Devil'
And Comptonia peregrina, aka sweetfern. This poor plant did not like the 116-degree heat in June. Parts of it got a little crispy.
Persicaria microcephala ‘Red Dragon’—the red always goes green in the heat of the summer—was a random addition to this area a few years ago. It looks great in the spring, but then kinda gets rangy as the summer progresses. It needs a serious chop to keep it managable.
Seeing more of this beauty—Daphniphyllum himalaense ssp. macropodum 'Variegated'—is THE main benefit to getting rid of the ceanothus. Those leaves still make me weak in the knees.
Unfortunately there was one extremely sad plant death in this area during the heat dome/ ankle break. That trio of Cyrtomium falcatum (aka Japanese holly fern), are hiding the carnage and will be planted in this area once the ground is workable again (with the return of the rain, which has already started).
Here's the sad, sad, death. It's the Rhododendron forrestii ssp. forrestii Tumescens that Roger Gossler gave me last spring. So sad! Was it the heat? Did it not get enough water while I was unable to get around the garden? Both? Ugh.
But here's a plant that managed to withstand it all, the heat, the extremely dry conditions. I should be scared. Instead I bought two more. Pachysandra axillaris 'Windcliff Fragrant'. You'll feel free to remind me I should have known better once it takes over this corner of my garden.
The very back edge of the garden, beyond the former ceanothus-land, got a few aspidistra and black mondo plugs this spring while I was planting. In case you're wondering, the plan is to eventually see no bare ground... crampscaping!
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