Sunday, September 22, 2019

The calendar turns to Fall but the weather sticks with Summer

What a crazy year, we had the wettest spring and the driest summer in recent memory.  Our summer has been so hot and dry it's sure nice to know that Fall weather will be here eventually.   But not yet as we're still above normal, temperature wise.  A brief morning shower brought an opportunity for photos before the sun burned through the clouds and chased me back inside.  All in all it's a good day for a tour of just how our drought-tolerant landscape has weathered this tough summer.

The front corner is our usual starting point for the annual review.  Although the angle shows too much garage it is meant to show off the sage which are just about to bloom.  Silverado Sage lined up along the drive helps to soften the concrete and distract from the garage door view just a bit.

If you ask me for garden design advice don't be surprised if I include ideas for changing the house too.  Silvery yuccas and agaves softened by Mexican Feathergrass coordinate with sage green house trim and a silvery metal roof.

A view of our 100' concrete drive I don't show often but it is a prominent feature of how we see our house.  It is what it is.  As mentioned the sages are showing just a tinge of pink in response to a rain shower last week.

We've had several off and on showers the last ten days or so which have triggered these blooms.  Any day they'll break out in bright blooms which will attract thousands of bees before they fade away.

Some new angles to play around with.  Spiky is the new leafy green especially where 10-12 hours of blasting sun limit plant selection.

From the street.  Maybe our cat's view, but it is a good one.

Agave ovatifolia has not produced a bloom yet though I'm sure it will soon.  Now six feet across.

Right about here a realtor stopped his car to tell me our house is beautiful.  I agreed which is why it's not going to be for sale for a long while. 

The weather has even taken its toll on drought tolerant native Wooly Stemodia ground cover in the foreground.

Golden Barrels and golden grasses show fall color even without the matching weather.

Across to the north side of the drive.  I always thought cold made the Opuntia santa-rita turn purple but the stress of a hot, dry summer has done it this time.  I think these are just about the deepest purple they've been since I planted them six years ago.  

Looking back across the front from the shady side to the sunny side.

Face planter path gets plenty of shade so less stress on the plants.

I kept potted plants well-watered during the heat so they are getting by.

Last year I placed a white bench in the back corner and it helps brighten what was always a dark space.

A new addition this year are two white urn planters on either side which continues the color from my collection of vintage white clay pots.

The bistro table and chairs are mainly for plant display.

We don't sit there but here's the view from the table.

In the other direction are window boxes in need of a fall update.

Octopus agave has been the best plant for this spot.  The sculptural curves get a lot of attention from guests.

My camera told me I took 192 photos today.  So we'll tour the back in my next post.


  1. Your house is beautiful! And the garden is amazing...

  2. Your garden looks great despite the challenging weather, Shirley! The house and garden fit each other perfectly. We haven't had any rain for several months but then that's normal for us, as is the fact that summer usually hangs on well into October. There's a chance of drizzle in the forecast for later this week here but I'll believe that when I see it.

  3. Our very wet spring and then the long brutally hot and dry summer was hard on landscapes; especially for those of us who garden on rocks and caliche, but your selection of plants show which ones can take it and stay looking good. I love the new angles from which you took the pictures in this post. The combination and your placement of Mexican feather grass, barrel cactus and spiky plants along the street looks great.


  4. On the train home we met a couple from Texas Hill country. San Antonio and Austin (Pam @ Digging)? Yes!!


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