After last week's Tuesday View, I began to carry out my plan of cutting back and cleaning up in the South Border. I trimmed down Pennisetum setaceum rubrum first. This allows the plants behind to get more sunlight. What chiefly shows up is my still-small Cereus peruvianus, which I expect will eventually dominate the lower half of the border. It has some growing to do, but then it has a reputation as a fast grower.
Then there are the sweet peas - my young seedlings just visible - which will be happy for the sunlight during these cooler months. I still need to get supports in for them.
The bare shanks at the back of the photo below belong to Perovskia atriplicifolia. It is still more or less dormant for the season, and I don't intend to cut it back until it shows signs of new growth - and the weather improves... more on that later!
One of the irises I added last year is growing just beyond and will similarly be glad of the extra sunlight, and probably grateful for the shade as the Pennisetum grows back through summer.
With the Pennisetum at ground level, Eremophila maculata "Valentine" becomes visible from this angle. (See the upper right hand corner in the top photo.) It will be nice to have it showing now since it is loaded with buds.
Elsewhere in the border, the lavender miniature rose is also well stocked with buds.
Nearby, I trimmed the little Salvia "Summer Jewels" back to new growth, and I think it looks a good deal healthier than before.
But even a quick look at the usual view will show that I have not trimmed the Muhlenbergia back. At first this was because of rain, now it is because we have freezing temperatures predicted for tomorrow night. I decided to keep the foliage in place, not only to protect the grass, but also all the little seedlings beneath. Winter apparently is not quite over! Hopefully there will be minimal harm in the garden, but I had better get out there and cover anything that requires protection!
Thanks to Cathy for the wonderful Tuesday View meme, which encourages us to keep a close record of what is going on in a particular part of the garden!
Weather Diary: Fair; High: 55 F (13 C)/Low: 41 F (5 C); Humidity: 41%-95%
Kris P (Wednesday, 25 January 2017 16:17)
You're well ahead of me o the winter clean-up. I haven't had the heart to cut back my ornamental grasses yet but I need to get to that, especially as I have more than I did last year.
Brian Skeys. (Wednesday, 25 January 2017 16:52)
I have just found your new blog Amy, I love the new design, I have just taken the same leap of faith and created a new blog at word press. brimfields.com
Scott K (Wednesday, 25 January 2017 18:40)
I'm happy to have found your blog as I'm another gardener living in the Sonoran desert snd am slwsys interested to know how other gardeners here overcome the challenges of our climate.
Cathy (Thursday, 26 January 2017 01:46)
I am glad the Muhlenbergia hasn't had its trim yet, as it does look so pretty still! I do find it amazing that you can grow such beautiful plants and yet still have frosts. Hope there is no damage and it warms up soon!
Kate R (Thursday, 26 January 2017 10:04)
Amy this border is looking so good. Honestly I would never believe that this was a desert garden! It is really filling out and looking so lush. Good luck with the sweet peas - I think you were quite successful last year? Im trying a winter series myself and they are starting to flower now. The ones I tried last year - I think they were Spencers, were much more robust plants but as they flowered later it was waaaay to hot for them! Gardening is a continually evolving experiment isn't it?!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 26 January 2017 14:39)
Kris - The Pennisetum had gotten so sloppy that I've been itching to tidy it for weeks. The Muhlenbergia is actually a neater plant, so it was easier to wait on it. As the weather is warming back up here, it probably won't be long before I start clipping... ;-)
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 26 January 2017 14:46)
So glad you located it, Brian! I thought I had gotten over most of the moving muddle, but am just finding out there are a lot of blogs I lost track of. You will understand, no doubt! I'm looking forward to seeing more from Brimfields. I still link (above) to ourgarden@19; should I switch the link to Brimfields or keep both?
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 26 January 2017 14:54)
Scott - It is always a challenge, isn't it?! But a lot of fun too... Welcome to the blog!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 26 January 2017 15:00)
Cathy - Frost-hardiness wasn't put to the test, finally, as temperatures remained a bit above freezing - hurray! In general I try to use plants that can take a few degrees of frost, but there are always a few opportunists (the plants, not me, right?) that slip in!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 26 January 2017 15:08)
Kate - Thanks so much :) It's funny that you and I are experimenting with sweet peas from either end of the summer heat quandary. Mine are getting off to a disappointingly slow start, but I'm growing the heirloom Old Spice strain again as last year they held on well into the heat, and I knew the Spencers probably wouldn't! I intend to watch your early ones this year, as there's no reason not to try both eventually and extend the season at each end!
Kris P (Friday, 27 January 2017 13:50)
Hi Amy. I finally harvested a few dozen seeds of my Barleria obtusa. If you're still interested in trying it, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address. Best wishes.