New Life for a Hateful Area

 Back in August of 2014 I posted about the Hateful Areas in my garden . You would think after three intervening years that I would have dealt with most if not all of these eyesores , however it was only this summer that I began to tackle 3 of them in earnest. Today we'll take look at what I now refer to as my Tiny Succulent Garden -an upgrade from hateful I think.

  Here is the space as it looked in 2014. This small bed is directly outside the back slider into the garden, and it rarely looked good. Complicating the issue is the exposure, which is shade all morning and strong hot western sun in the afternoon. Because of the sun angle and the brief period of direct sun anything I planted here either flopped or burnt up.

 I decided to plant it with winter hardy succulents . Most of my succulents are grown in containers, and there were a few that were begging to be liberated. Last fall I dug up everything in this bed and either moved it or put it in the yard waste . I planted two 4" pots of Graptoveria 'Fred Ives'  from Annies. They sailed through winter in spite of nights in the 20's and plenty of rain.

In spring I had to decide which containerized plants were going to be released into the wild.  Agave 'Blue Glow' was the first candidate however a sledge hammer was required to get it out of the pot. Damn, I liked that pot too.


 Here it is, with Sedum 'Angelina' (a combination I shamelessly copied ) much happier in it's new home.


Agave weberi 'Arizona Star' was also moved here in fall 2016 around the same time I planted the Graptoveria. I was surprised to find that over winter it was attacked repeatedly by snails and a shocking amount of the plant was eaten down to the nubs. I was never accustomed to snail-patrol among the Agaves, and this plant had spent many years in a pot on my patio without being touched. You can just see the remnants of a couple of the damaged leaves at the base.It put on lots of new growth this summer and is in full recovery. I'll be more vigilant this winter.  After 5 or 6 years of drought I think the snails were especially desperate .


This sad little Agave 'Cream Spike' has been in a pot for 2 or three years. I don't think it grew at all. I planted it out here just last month with a little shade cloth tent to protect it from the still hot midday sun.



 Agave stricta , another victim of pot culture which looked so bad I was about ready to toss it. A summer in the ground has reversed it's fortunes.




I planted many small pots of Semperviviums , some purchased and some taken as cuttings, around the edges . I have more rooting now to be planted in spring.


This silvery Cotyledon was given to me as a cutting by our friend Gerhard of Succulents and More 
It made it through last winter so I had no fear of planting it out in the garden. The color is really fantastic, and I planted it next to Echeveria nodulosa. My zone is marginal for both , but since they are close to the house I am hoping for the best , and if it gets really cold I'll cover this bed with frost-cloth.




 The excellent Fred Ives , anchor plant of this small bed.




I still have several plants to install here and as you can see I've allowed space for the new residents to fill in -a radical departure from my usual cram-and-jam process. This photo was taken from roughly the same perspective as the first in this post.


 

Comments

  1. It's a vast improvement on the 2014 view, Kathy, and I'm sure you'll find the succulents more rewarding in the long haul. 'Fred Ives' is always a winner in my book, as is 'Blue Glow', which was my "gateway" agave. I still have my original 'Blue Glow', also in a pot, and was wondering just today if I should liberate it and let it join the dozen or so others I have planted in the ground. I will also have to break its pot to free it...

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    1. Happy with it all thus far-the rain and frost will be an interesting test.I lost a few plants to rot last year and I have an action plan involving tomato cages covered in heavy duty poly sheeting to at least keep rain out of the crowns. We shall see !

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  2. Fantastic progress. I reintroduced Fred Ives back into the garden in 2017. He's big and sprawly but so good. Hateful Areas, Dead Zones -- we've all got a few!

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    1. I'm trying really hard to consolidate the hateful into the non-plant utility area(already hateful by the way) so at least there is nothing dreadful in the actual garden.

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  3. Lots of beautiful things happening here...the future is definitely looking brighter. Sorry about the container, we’ve all had to do that at some point.

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    1. I went out the next week and bought a new similar container , which now sports Mangave 'Chocolate Chips'.

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  4. Hateful no more! I've got some of those spots, too, and cringe about them often.

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    1. nothing worse than cringing in the garden !

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  5. Kathy, what a massive improvement. It doesn't even look like the same area. Your plant choices are great. You know how much I love 'Blue Glow' and 'Arizona Star'.

    BTW, I've had to smash more pots than I can count to free plants. Goes to show where our priories are!

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    1. If I had about 3 times the space here I would have popped an A. ovatifolia right in the middle ! Instead I am agonizng over which one of mt Mangaves I will plant in this bed. It will be one of the zone 8's so I don't have to worry !

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  6. I have some of those agarves - but mine have to stay in a poly tunnel over the winter. I don’t water them now until next April/ May. Good luck with your garden. It looks lovely . Karen

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    1. I have few agaves that I move to cover , but in this case it's the rain I'm protecting them from !

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  7. Goodness me, if these are areas to be somewhat ashamed of then the majority of my garden is a deep well of shame. As for extracting the agave... sometimes it's a question of pot or plant. You made the right choice.

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    1. Absolutely the right choice Ian, one can always buy another pot !

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