at the corner of “oops” & “not so fast”

opuntia (dead)

No amount of waiting or wishful thinking is going to bring the Opuntiaback to life. I see them growing happily around town, and I put effort into planting properly. Some sort of critter or bug had been nibbling on it before the rain set in, so it probably let in the moisture to turn it to mush. I think I will try one in a pot next.

Agave neomexicana ($)

The jury is still out on Agave neomexicana. I think it’s too soon to give up on it, but it is not looking very happy.

leather fern

Nearby, this crispy critter is Astrolepis inuata, or wavy cloak fern. Looks hopeless to me, but I won’t dig it up just yet.

sedums engulfing hesperaloe and yucca

Bucking the trend at the other end of the same berm, the sedums are engulfing a Yucca ‘Bright Edge’ and a hesperaloe. My plan is to extricate them from the sedum’s clutches, move them somewhere else and hope for the best. My best plans for this berm seem to be destined for failure, so I just may let the sedums have it.

Romney coulterii (dead)

Meanwhile, out at the fence-line, the Romneya coulterii was not looking good.

Romneya coulterii (it’s alive!)

But wait! What’s this? Sometimes I am too timid about cutting back hard. Mom Nature has no such qualms. Time will tell if it was just what this plant wanted.

Rhododendron sinogrande (?)

We were so disappointed when we saw how dejected Rhododendron sinogrande was when we carefully removed his winter wrappings. Those drooping upper leaves soon darkened, curled up and fell off.

Rhododendron sinogrande (in recovery)

Soon the lower stalks formed big buds that looked like they would become flowers, but no, here they are unfurling replacement leaves. Even that stalk in the upper left corner is showing signs of new buds forming. Hallelujah!

Lilium ‘Casa Blanca’

In the six years that my ‘Casa Blanca’ lilies have been growing here, they have never been bothered by slugs. I went out there the other day in the pouring rain and there were slugs draped across many of the upper leaves. Looks like they have feasted to the detriment of this year’s blooms. We shall see. I tore them off with my gloved hands (they resisted as if they had been super-glued in place) and threw them back into the woods where they are actually beneficial. I will patrol the area more diligently in future.

nibbled geum

And then there are the deer. A friend gave me this geum. The buds were swelling and just beginning to color up. I was looking forward to the splash of orange: just what this bed needed. Instead, the deer neatly nipped off each bud. Time to mix up a new batch of my evil witches’ brew to spray on susceptible plants.

geum (coming back)

It worked! Here is the first cheery orange blossom to make it all the way to maturity. If you want to try my formula for deterring deer, you will find it here.
hydrangeas (struggling)

My hydrangeas took a big hit with the one-two punch of two harsh winters. Some did better than others, and if you want to know which ones will be hardiest you should check out Joy Creek’s blog. Hydrangeas are one of their specialties and they devoted their most recent blog post to the subject.

wall pocket (my bad)

Sometimes we have no one to blame but you-know-who. I have had great success with Ipomoea batatas spilling from my porch pocket. I found a couple of them, plus a coleus with exactly the perfect complementary color at our local one-stop market and popped them in the pot. I kept them watered, but they insisted upon this dying act. Well, I emptied the pot, scrubbed it out and soaked it in bleach solution overnight. The new coleus housed there is doing fine. So how about you? How has nature, in her many guises, conspired for and against you so far?

9 thoughts on “at the corner of “oops” & “not so fast”

  1. No kidding ! I think I’ll keep my Opuntia in a pot. We PNW gardeners must spent much $$$ on replacing plants. At least we have enough survivors to keep us at it.

  2. Loree~So…are you saying that you think the Agave is a goner? And yes, on balance there is plenty to root for.

    Linda~I think we have it better than most parts of the county, but we have had to make some tough adjustments lately.

  3. Nice to see the successes mixed in with the disappointments. I’m like you in babying some plants that seem to have some spark of life left to them, and right now I’m babying a big collection of plants that gophers have snacked on. At least we don’t have deer munching at the tops of plants that have been spared by the gophers eating from below…

  4. Hi Ricki – fun catching up on your blog after an extended absence from the internet. I’m relieved to see that I’m not the only one with agaves that look like that. At least I’m in good company.

  5. Ricki, I always marvel at the way the deer seem to slip in under the cover of dusk/dawn and eat the buds just as they are about to open. It’s uncanny. Mother Nature certainly has thrown alot at you so far this season, I’m glad to see you’re taking it all in stride.

  6. James~We have the gopher set muching away as well. Interplanting with poisonous things like daffodils and castor bean and smelly things like alliums seems to help.

    Wendy~Welcome to up and down club.

    Megan~Welcome back! I hope this means that you will be back blogging. You have been missed.

    Debbie~The deer don’t bother with subterfuge around here. They just sashay around in the full light of day.

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