When things don’t work out as planned

I have been doing landscaping, both paid and unpaid, for fifty years, all of it in flat, dry, desert conditions between sea level and 338′ above sea level.

In July 2017, I moved from 17′ above sea level to 682′ above sea level. I neglected to check the USDA zone (I’m in 9B-10A), and for the first time in my life, I did not drive the neighborhoods at the elevation to see what the neighbors are growing.

Consequently, I’m discovering that plants that I grew very well at lower elevations just are not happy out here at high elevation in the East San Diego County boondocks. It’s understandable since we have had lows of 28°F and highs of 118°F. The highs are more prevalent than the lows; just two consecutive days of freezing temperatures but, so far, 63 days of temperatures above 100°F and 21 days above 110°F.

The poor plants are sunburned or just barely existing, so I’m in the process of pulling out the plants that are not doing well, mostly aeoniums, and replacing them with ferocactus, red-spined barrel cactus. I have several that are doing spectacular out here, and I like the effect of the red spines.

Ferocactus herrerae
Ferocactus herrerae

Ferocactus gracilis
Ferocactus gracilis

Ferocactus cylindraceus
Ferocactus cylindraceus

I’m buying more to fill in where the aeoniums were. I like the effect, as seen below, which I believe are Ferocactus cylindraceus:

Ferocactus and Euphorbia

On Monday I’m getting about twenty Ferocactus wislizenii. Here’s the picture provided by the nursery:

Ferocactus wislizenii

Double R Creations & Photographic Art by Russel Ray Photos

Advertisements

22 thoughts on “When things don’t work out as planned

    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I have. I’m not a big aloe fan. They either are too big or too small. A friend of mine, Kelly Griffin at Atlman Plants here in San Diego County, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on, and hybridizers of, aloes.

      Like

      Reply
        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          That’s what I would think. However, the taller ones are too tall for my gardens, and the small ones don’t seem to like the extraordinary heat I have out here. I have two aloe clumps, one under a bougainvillea where it’s doing very well but is not visible unless you know to pull the bougainvillea branches back. The other, an Aloe ‘Silver Fox’ is inside where it gets just the morning sun. It’s also doing very well, even blooming right now.

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
  1. acflory

    Hmm…I had no idea that elevation would make such a huge difference. Or, to be more exact, I never thought about it in terms of humans and our gardens.
    Question: are you designing your garden to be irrigated, partially irrigated or not irrigated at all?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Originally, irrigated. However, after 2 years here and only about 10% complete with the irrigation system, I’m abandoning it. Since 1/1/19, I have had 44.1 inches of rain out here. I collected 500 gallons of rainwater. I’m thinking an irrigation system isn’t necessary.

      Like

      Reply
        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          I’m on the 20-mile incline separating the coastal desert (0-50′ ASL) from the high desert (50′-1400′ ASL). Clouds roll in from Japan but can’t get over the incline into the high desert with all that moisture so they think, “Hmmm. I’ll just drop all this moisture on Russel.” The coastal desert gets about 10″ of rain each year. The high desert gets about 5″ annually.

          Like

          Reply
  2. janetweightreed10

    An interesting post. I was drawn to it by your beautiful plant images. In the UK where I live our climate is changing…so that in the south east of the country many people are growing mediterranean flora and fauna – something that when I grew up here would have been unheard of. Enjoy your weekend. Janet

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  3. appletonavenue

    We’ve run into the same thing when we move. We’d uproot our beautiful healthy plants from one garden to another where they proceed to die. Took us about a year to adjust. Pays to do a little research I guess. But hubby likes to learn as he goes.

    It looks like you’ll have more cactus than succulents. I don’t suppose anyone will dare enter your garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

Leave a Reply to acflory Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.