Saturday, October 21

October Gardening - Part 1

This morning I ventured out to the nursery because I've discovered I'm much more motivated to clear weeds if I have fun new plants to put in their place. I decided to stretch a bit from my usual Sunset Nursery in Los Feliz so I drove to Pasadena and went to Burkard's.

Buckard's = disappointing
Burkard's is the kind of place that every gardening magazine mentions as the best nursery in Los Angeles. It's not. Well, that's not fair. It has an extensive selection, so much so that I ran into Amoeba's complex - too much selection. I'm sure if I were a professional landscaper I would love it. But I'm not, and I didn't. Also a lot of the plants seemed really stressed, like they hadn't been taken care of correctly. So I left and found a much smaller nursery in Pasadena called Bellefontaine. The guy working there was great and spent a lot of time telling me about the plants I was buying and making sure I had space for them. I do.

So today I cleared 3 beds and planted two of them, along with cleaning up some of the lower beds. The first one was filled with nasturciums, grass, two old zucchini plants and the beginning of some bulbs. Doing my best not to flatten the bulbs, which is tricky because man those suckers are delicate, I pulled out all the grass and left the nasturciums mostly intact.

Pretty in Orange
I covered the exposed bed with bark chips and filled in some snapdragons for color.

I swear this looked right when I took it
For some reason this picture looks sideways, but when I turn it, it looks just as weird. Sorry, but you get the idea.

I have not yet repaired the path. That's for another day.

How many times do I have to almost break my ankle before I fix this? A lot!
But if anyone knows a good way to get caked mud off the bricks, I'm all ears.

Bed #2 got a similar treatment in that the grass was removed and the bed covered in bark chips. In this case I left the lavender, sage and rosemary I planted in the early summer.

My herb and cutting garden
I was thinking I would make it all herbs, but then I didn't see many herbs that I thought were interesting so I filled in with poppies and more snapdragons (you'll see it's a theme). I'm thinking about adding some kind of low ground cover that flowers but would allow a rotating series of flowers to poke out of it.

Purple Solarum to hide tha gaps
To the left of the giant climbing rose that I have no great love for but my landlord does so I can't remove it, I planted a Solanum xanti 'Salmon Creek'. It will grow to about 2' and spread out about the same. The fellow at the nursery said it stays smaller than most Solanums so I'm hoping it'll just cover the ugly part of the wall that's now exposed. It's draught resistant, which is perfect because that little spot doesn't get hit very much by the sprinklers. Also the Flowers are way more purple than they look like they are here.

I then realized I was feeling light headed and figured it was from the physical work, until I realized that it was 3 o'clock and I hadn't eaten since an early breakfast. So I fixed that and got back to the garden. I replaced the petunias that were looking really leggy and sickly with three of the deep red snapdragons.
Snap, snap, snapdragon
Clearly I need to fill in the front of the container with something else. I'd like to have something that wants to spill down the front, or I'll turn it and have those be the low front and something else taller in the back. Any ideas?

Ready for veggies - or a party
Finally I decided that the way the sun works in the yard, it's really best if I only use the middle bed for vegetables. This is a little sad because it limits my veggie capacity but it also may help me to focus, so I'm not complaining. I pulled out the dead tomatoes, lettuce and peppers and cleared out all the weeds, even under the new growth of artichokes. I was so surprised when these came back, I was certain I'd killed them over the summer. It turns out they were just dormant. They're supposed to look dead, according to my friend at the nursery. He said most people drown them in the summer thinking they've not gotten enough water. Lucky for me my irrigation didn't work over the summer so most of the garden wasn't watered enough. No drowning here.

I'm waiting until after the Halloween party and Polly's decision of whether or not she's going to have a platform built on this bed for the band to play before I plant it with veggies.

Tomorrow my plan is to attack the bed under the fig tree and maybe plant one or two of the fern-leaf lavender plants I bought today there. I think they'll have enough sun if I plant them in the front of the bed, of course then the rest of the bed is blocked, so I'm still debating. They may go over in the bed by the peach tree.

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