Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween and Remake

It's that time of year. Halloween almost here. And time to remake beds in southern California. They do well if started in the late fall, can winter over in above-freezing temps and then grow into the spring. This gets plants established before the hot summer.

I am an informal gardener, so it's not always so easy to see the form in the way I've planted. But I like to plant where it seems to fit in my own quirky style. It can make for mess to the eye, until things get planted and grow. There's a method to my madness.

I certainly don't fit the organized gardeners of the first few categories in Nell Jean's post What Kind of a Gardener are You?  The plan you see below is for record only. I made it after I got all the plants in place and like where they were.  I knew generally what I wanted before I went to the nursery, but let my intuition be the guide once I got there. It seems to work for me.

One of my beds had an unusual number of plants on the wane this summer, so I've opted for more succulents and drought-wise plants. I did quite a bit of internet research before going to the plant store.

Here's the bed before I got any new plants in it. No pruning or transplanting done yet and some pots in places I think they might go. The bed is remade in three stages. This is the first.

Here is my drawing of the bed with the new additions and the legend being a list of the initials spelled out into words. The form of the bed has a rock bed on the left and right of a central rock with a crystal on it. The plants are interspersed in this structure.  I often intersperse according to color and texture, balance and creative license. Not your formal garden here.

 Hope you can read the legend. I did print. Skeletal map above with S's marking the newcomer succulents. A few other new plants came into the plan during planting.  I never could make a good outline of a paper until after I'd written it. This was the same. I made the plan after I tried out the plants in their pots on the bed.

Here's another photo before I planted.

 The rock bed is made with Arizona Travertine. It's related to porous limestone, but is a little harder. You can really see the orange, yellow and whitish colors of the stone, which I love, as well as the layers and porous character. That's what makes this rock so interesting.

Now for some photos after I got the succulents planted, the bed pruned and other plants removed or moved.  This is the second stage of my remake of the bed.

Here you can see one hen and chicks. Later I add another to focus the area. It's not so easy to see the burgundy aeonium and echeveria behind it to add contrast.

The full bed with sprinkler going. I wanted to get this shot before the sun hit the bed and make the photo too bright.

Now for the final touch done today, with a few more succulents and the annuals-- pansies. This is the third and, dare I say, last stage, of the remake.

Full bed with lone yellow pansy in the middle waiting for a place.

  Now I'll take you through the bed from the Bird of Paradise progessing to the plants by the door.

 Purple pansies and golden sedum with silver edged horehound to back.

Rock garden with sedum and thyme interspersed. Native penistemum in back left.

Both hen and chicks by the central garden crystal. Pansies in forground. The zinnias are still popping.

Next rock garden with pansies and sedum. The dried flower stalks are from the yarrow.  Chartreuse ornamental sweet potato wending its way through the bed at the back.

The rest of the rock garden the echinecea and rudbeckia on the far right.

This bed is not easy to photograph, but I wanted to give you an idea of a garden bed remake in my style.  Hope it's been possible to follow and even enjoy.  As it fills in I'll show more photos.

I have such fun doing this sort of thing. Really brings out the creative juices. I get so into the garden that I overdo it. After the second stage I had to rest with all the bending and stretching. I've had some pinched nerves in my neck, affecting my arms, and all that work got them inflamed again. But I didn't feel a thing as I was working. Only after the fact. And I do have plenty of dirt ground into my hands and fingernails, despite quite a few scrubs. All worth it as I step out the door and look on my handiwork. Gotta love a remade garden bed. All that potential waiting for time to pass.


Deborah at Kilbourne Grove said...

Oh, it looks so good, I really like the way the echiveria echos the colour of the house.
Have you ever read the book The Jewel Box Garden by Thomas Hobbs. He is a Vancouver garden designer who plants alot with succulents. Does very beautiful urns/containers as well.

joey said...

Wow ... take care, Marydelle, and relax ... you've done a terrific job with a lovely post to prove it!

The Violet Fern said...

This is just beautiful. I loved seeing your sketch and then your planting bed ... I tend to follow the same process, but also let intuition guide the actual planting. Well done!

janie said...

We are doing about the same thing here, getting the beds remade to grow on into spring. I am planting a lot of seeds, and this is my favorite chore of the whole year. I love to throw poppies, violas, larkspur, snapdragons, more poppies, more poppies, calendulas, alyssum, nasturtium...

I love the way your bed looks. I love succulents, probably my favorites, along with the agaves.

Great post.

Nell Jean said...

Remake of the bed, start to finish, and a glimpse of the sketch, too! Love your stones.

Anonymous said...

I draw a plan on paper when designing for a client...but my own beds I design much like you did yours. I have an idea in mind of what I want & the numbers, then let creativity take over once I get to the nursery. I am planting my new front bed this weekend.

Rosey Pollen said...

Oh I love what you did with all the Succ, Mary Delle! It already looks nice and you just planted it. I also enjoyed your plans you shared. Well worth your time and sore muscles.
P.S. There is an honest scrap award for you on my blog. You can do with it what you like. I hope you will participate!

Shawna said...

I love it and think you've done an excellent job - BRAVO!

Shawna Coronado

James Missier said...

A well planned rock garden. Quite lovely to see them growing together. Hope you get better and managed to clean your nails.
Its all worth it.

Town Mouse said...

What fun! I hope it all settles well. I actually think the photos are pretty amazing, it's hard to get a whole bed into one photo.

James Missier said...

I have awarded you the Scrap Blog award on my blog. I would love to have you participate, because I enjoy your blog very much. It would be great to learn more about you. If you don't want to, I understand.

Anonymous said...

I just love rocks as decorations in the garden. But in my case, somehow those plants overgrow the rocks and then I have to go and get more rocks...
Lovely remake of a bed!

Julie said...

What a stunning bed! You done good!!!!! LOLOL! You can just hear in your "voice" how much you enjoyed the whole process. I am about to revitalize my succulent tire gardens, and it is still so hot here in so. Florida, I am not looking forward to it...I keep waiting for a little cool air to arrive! I can't hardly wait to do it though...the one tire garden I have that is the best looking, has a lovely rock in it that I found at the aquarium section of the pet make such a difference!

Great job here!!!

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

If you do drawings, you are a real gardener! Good job!

Teresa said...

Wow! It will be just beautiful! Looks like you plan way more than you think you do. I tend to pop them in and rearrange later. Can't wait to see how it all looks in a bit after they have estabished themselves.

Wendy said...

I can't wait to see this fill in even more. I love the succulents. I just put in a few too. Love the rocks in there!

Amy said...

You did a great job, Mary Delle! I love all the succulents and choices you made. I also like the rocks mixed in the bed. I enjoyed your post!

Laura Gardens in Desert said...

Mary Delle, The bed looks like it is filled with gems and The black dirt really makes the colors pop. I like the yarrow too.

Rose said...

Great job, Mary Delle! I really like all the succulents you've added. I'm an "informal gardener", too, and though I always start with a plan, somewhere in the process it gets lost:) I like your method, too, of placing pots in places to see how they will look--much easier to visualize than a little circle on a paper.

Joanne said...

Clearly a job well done I hope the neck pain goes quickly.

Jean said...

Oh, I have such succulent envy! Your bed looks lovely. Since I live in a rainy part of the U.S. (Louisiana), I have my succulents in pots. But when we start getting too much rain I have to move them under shelter! I'd love to be able to have a little bed like yours. I'm sure you'll enjoy yours for a while. Yes, I love that creative process too.