Established 1959

September Garden Report 2016

Tasks Accomplished

September was a busy month and the weather was perfect for working in the garden. The rusted hand rail next to the flagstone steps was repaired by Rafael and Jose. They also dug out the adjacent tick seed stump…along with some others nearby. Another day they raked leaves and sticks off the roof of both houses and the carport and pruned rampant wisteria tendrils. They also cleaned a mass of leaves out of some bamboo next to the path.

It has taken a bit of time but I think Rafael and I are finally getting a handle on the irrigation. He is still changing nozzles and adding heads…to reach specific plants…such as the weeping bottlebrush in the Entry and three westringea shrubs that Sherry and I planted several years ago near the Dry garden. He's also been working on a couple of zones below the bird feeder and on Sawdust Hill and sprinkler coverage is getting better and better. I continue to monitor soil moisture and plants; adjusting the amount of time each zone runs...I am still learning how the clock works.  

I keep deep watering the duranta and redbud and they keep responding with healthy new growth. The hydrangea in the Entry wasn't getting enough water so I installed a drip emitter and it appears to be doing better. I also made a couple of trips to the nursery to purchase mums and other colorful plants for the Entry and Gazebo beds which Sherry helped me plant.

Gophers have been very active this summer and Sherry and I routinely check for activity throughout the garden… mounds of dirt and subsurface tunnels are a tell tale sign. Another one is a plant sheared off at ground level, which really makes me mad.

Volunteer Activity

Mark removed many large barleria plants that had grown into thick rooted shrubs in the old slide area of the Perennial garden. He also helped Sherry and me dig out asparagus ferns from under the rock roses and on the steep hillside next to the Entry steps. Then we removed ivy and thinned the grasses growing next to the flagstone steps in Mid garden, above the Arbor. The following week Mark and Sherry transplanted variegated sedum from the Entry to the Dry garden and then planted a pretty little bicolor viola where the sedum was in the Entry.  Then they removed a misplaced lantana bush growing near the Lower garden's Mohave Yuccas…replacing it with a grouping of lavender.

Barbara, in addition to caring for our potted plants and Atrium, trimmed back barleria next to the flagstone steps in the Perennial garden, treated an ailing bougainvillea in the Gazebo garden and pruned overgrown rosemary shrubs next to the Entry steps. Then, thinking that maybe the camellias in the Atrium were doing poorly because of competition for nutrients and cramped roots, she removed the clivia plants growing underneath and amended the soil with compost.  

We also decided to amend and improve the soil in the bed around the camellia that Barbara has been treating in the Gazebo garden. Barbara, Sherry and Mark dug up most all of the bergenia and ligularia plants. Then last week we spread compost on top; Sherry double dug the soil around, but not under the camellia; and Barbara raked it smooth and removed roots. The ligularia have been replanted. I made cuttings from the bergenia and should have several flats of new plants ready in a few weeks.

Sherry and I worked in the Lower garden…we planted milkweed plants, moved a dudlea and weeded. We also pulled out crassula that was choking the bromeliads on the hill next to the Arbor and in other areas.  Sherry and I dug and pulled out more big barleria shrubs on the hillside above the white puya in Mid garden as well. We also found more barleria coming up below the Arbor.  It seems to be spreading everywhere.

A couple of weeks ago we planted a flat of Pride of Madeira seedlings that we got from Synthia Scofield last spring.  The cooler weather is a great time to plant.  I have about a dozen more little plants that will go into the ground soon. Maybe we'll get some rain too.

We liked the result of removing the tickseed bush by the path so much that we had Rafael and Jose take out more…leaving just one good sized specimen.  Then last Friday Sherry, Barbara and I met at Plant Depot and purchased several new plants for the area…some protea, red fountain grass and a dark blue flowering duranta. We'll be amending the soil and planting them this week.

Needed Repairs

The Worthington bench still needs refinishing and repair of the timber wall in mid garden is pending.

Blooming now in the Garden

Lavender Star Flower

Camellia sansaqua

Fringe flower

Mums and Violas





Scotsman's Purse

Princess Flower

Red and White Hibiscus

Fountain Bush


Society Garlic

Pea Shrub








Mexican Evening Primrose





Mermaid Rose







Crown of Thorns

Mickey Mouse plant


Rock Rose



Texas Ranger


Coyote Bush

Sea Lavender

Lion's Tail

Buckwheat – dried flower heads


Lion's Tail (Leonotis)

Crown of Thorns (Euphorbia milii)

Toyon flowers and berries