Garden Report February 2017 by Brooke Taylor
The damaged Weeping Bottlebrush tree has been removed and the stump was ground down earlier in the month…we are still trying to locate a replacement tree. Also the sycamore “chair/stump” in the Lower garden was removed as well…giving us an opportunity to rethink plantings in that area.
Rafael and Jose finished the walls in the Perennial garden; where they also reworked part of the wooden steps…adding a couple of round steppers to make them more comfortable and safer to walk on. Next, they constructed a wall under the deck to support the hillside. Rafael really got creative there…the wall is indented
in places to accommodate a small bench or seat. Outlined in rock above the wall is a series of arches worked into the soil…making the perfect place for a water thrifty garden.
In addition to hauling rocks for Rafael, hauling trash cans full of mulch and raking paths and gravel areas; Jose also cleaned up wind scattered sticks and leaves in beds around the house and throughout the garden.
Sherry, Ben and Joe cut up and disposed of the huge dead agave that fell over in the Lower garden last year; while Jan and I removed weeds and ivy from the Water Stairs above the Lower gate. Then we all weeded the hillside above the Woods' gate. Sherry planted succulents on the slope outside the bedrooms; and Barbara weeded the zoysia grass lawn in the Gazebo garden, clipped boxwood hedges and watered pots and thirsty areas.
The following week Sherry, Jan, Ben, Joe, Mark and I picked up sticks and small branches blown down by high winds and pulled weeds as we walked along the paths throughout the property…it was too wet to do much of anything else. Barbara brought impatiens and planted a pot of them in the Gazebo garden before watering all the rest of our planted pots.
When we had the stump of the sycamore in the Lower garden removed and ground up, Sherry and Mark had to move a pile of small rocks so the tree company could dump a load of chippings for us to use as mulch. We are using the small rocks to support and help retain moisture around new plants installed on hillsides.
Ben and Sherry and I trimmed back shrubby plumbago outside the Owl gate and barleria under the eucalyptus trees and along the main path. Barbara fertilized the roses, watered potted plants, cleaned up fallen camellia blossoms, cut back invasive asparagus ferns and weeded the zoysia grass in the Gazebo garden. Sherry also removed several bagfulls of sawdust from grinding the sycamore stump which she spread on muddy portions of the pathway.
Sherry and I planted wildflower seeds…California poppy, milkweed, and nasturtiums…on the hillside above the Woods' gate. After another stormy weekend with high winds, Barbara and I cleaned up many pine branches and loads of needles; then she watered pots and planted orange impatiens in the Atrium off the master bath; while I planted sea lavender alongside the Entry Steps. Sherry raked the zoysia grass lawn, dug out invasive bamboo shoots and cleaned up debris in the Gazebo garden.
At the end of the month Ben and Jan and I cleaned up more sticks and branches, etc. from the ground and plants along the Entry steps; then Jan weeded and dug up aloe pups in the Dry garden…to be planted elsewhere; while Sherry planted iris rhizomes below the deck. Then, Ben, Joe and Sherry pruned a few dead branches from a toyon in Mid garden and installed several perennials for me in the Driveway area…fragrant violets and colorful tradescantha. After that they planted three Mexican sage behind the bench near the Lower Gate, and installed the previously mentioned aloe pups into bare places on the steep hillside next to the Redwood Arbor. While the others were busy planting, Jan and I deadheaded asters, weeded and cleaned up part of the Perennial garden. I also planted California poppy and other native flower seeds there.