Photos from 5/14 and 5/16/2014 –
A section of my patio gets direct sun in the late afternoon and evening – late April through August. All of it gets indirect light. It’s covered, and from my thermometer readings, it rarely exceeds 100F or goes below 25F…the cover tempering it to a sort-of zone 9a – assuming this holds decades longer than I’m staying.
Still, less of a challenge than _____.
Some plants I know from experience, but some theoretically, since I haven’t been blessed to be in arid, 3800′ elevation parts of this zone before. The grower was of little help, from the same zone 7 and an hour from my former home, but one of our local kaktus experts advised well (Peter Beste).
(1) Squid or Spider Agave / Agave bracteosa (from David R. in DFW)
(1) Artichoke Agave / Agave parryi var. truncata (plus 3 pups from my aunt)
(1) Yellow Bells / Tecoma stans var. angustata (maybe not, I hurt the roots)
container #2 gets a bit more sun, so it’s filled in with cactus:
Astrophytum myriostigma (no common name)
Astrophytum nudum (ncn)
(4) Copiapoa esmeraldana (ncn)
(2) Echinopsis grandiflorus (ncn)
container #3 fills in with softer plants:
(1) Twistleaf Yucca / Yucca rupicola
3 2) White Rain Lily / Zephyranthes candida
(5…2 if a few don’t recover) Yellow Rain Lily / Zephyranthes citrina
All (3) large containers are anchored by the coarse, west-of-the-divide native, Beargrass / Nolina microcarpa. I normally don’t make adjacent containers too different, but here it’s me trying out some new plants, so more variety than a more unified design for clients. The beargrasses can adapt to the water needs of that range of variety.
Lowes had some large, healthy camellias that would have made an impact, but not be of similar cultural needs as 2/3 pots, so I went with the decent impact of the beargrasses. No other native plants available had enough size to provide this much impact as that Nolina, and for this light…not one.
I might topdress each large container with a layer of crushed rock, but perhaps not this type and probably smaller. Both pots brought from my old house, each with a different agave, were topdressed with “locally-sourced decomposed granite”, i.e. 10 feet away; a good look that keeps soil in place during our periodic high winds.
You’ll soon see what grows or doesn’t! Given limited lateral rooting space, my miserly watering, and light, it may very well stay uncrowded. Even if all that’s left is the beargrass (native in the sunny open foothills or shaded by junipers and oaks), the yucca, and a few rain lilies or agaves, I’ll call it a success. Success out here isn’t how close it resembles a Mann / Monet-esque Victorianascape :-)
Of course, after I cleaned my place, I settled in for a drink, then a grilled-up dinner, admiring a very modest garden. Gardens aren’t just to sell a property or meet code to get the permit, though the latter pays my bills.
A divine 80F and 20’s dewpoint, the breeze perfect, and I must have been out there over 2 hours relaxing. A good reason to have a garden.