On October 9th, 2011, one of my first posts was a "Before and After" of the front garden and I've kept it as an annual feature for the past five years. There isn't much special about the date other than it just happened to be a date for which I had a good "before" photo. Since it's the five-year anniversary of this blog I'll take you back through the years.
2010 (Before Blogging)
Looking pretty good there considering most of this reflected just two years work. We had dug and divided existing pink Salvia greggii which produced a nice bloom prompting me to take the photo below.
We were going backwards after all that work! I started this blog in the middle of a drought so my first "after" looked more like a "before" with dead ornamental grasses front and center. Salvia greggii and lantana which looked so good the year before are struggling. After a summer of drought and record heat I looked forward to autumn rains which never happened since we had another year of drought ahead.
Things were a little better the next year with New Gold Lantana in full bloom and Salvia greggii recovered enough to bloom. I widened to view to include the garage corner. All the better to feature the Agave ovatifolia growing enough to hold its own. By then I had replaced the struggling salvia and orange lantana with Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grunsoni). Miscanthus grasses in the island bed have been replaced with heat and drought-tolerant Yucca recurvifolia.
Much better. We had removed the scraggly Cenizo sage dominating the island bed last year in favor of smaller, low growing plants. By then rains had returned and the drought tolerant yucca in the gravel circle (foreground) got too wet so I decided to try ornamental grasses there with mixed results.
Pretty obvious ornamental grasses don't work that great in the gravel circle in the foreground by the street since this is the second one to fail there. Those green dots in front of the agave are Damianita which replaced New Gold Lantana. Damianita are evergreen and more drought tolerant.
The gravel circle out by the street got a soil makeover for better drainage and a nice Yucca 'Color Guard' was planted. It looked pretty good for a while but I replaced it with a pennisetum grass in the spring of 2016 about the time the agave weevil struck my garden. I added pennisetum grasses to the island as a replacement for the Yucca recurvifolia which died after blooming.
Again this year Salvia greggii finished blooming a few weeks ago and were cut back to get another bloom before the end of November. Interesting to note Salvia greggii seems to have bloomed earlier the last few years making these photos a bit colorless. I could change the date but then that would defeat the concept of posting on the same day each year. Currently an Agave quasimoto occupies the gravel circle up front. The Vitex by the garage was replaced with a Yucca rigida last spring and that Agave ovatifolia has grown large enough to show off as a major feature from the street.
Pennisetum grasses in the island bed are going away as mentioned in a recent post. They're flopping all over the place and shading out the sun-loving damianita because they don't hold up in wind and rain. But I still like the idea of ornamental grasses to soften all the driveway concrete and landscaping rock.
Over the years I added different views of the driveway and back gardens. I focused on the original front angle view for 2016 and will show more views in another post. You can see all my previous October 9th posts at the links below.
October 9th 2011
October 9th 2012
October 9th 2013
October 9th 2014