Sunday, September 23, 2012

Flying Rabbit Island Evolves

First Year

Third Year
Fifth Year

Fifth Year

Fifth Year
The weather is still in the high 80's around here. Although September and October typically have some very hot days, overall it tends to start cooling down. I am waiting patiently, still pretending it is summer, although the days are getting considerably shorter and the calender says it's fall. After a year of little change or additions, there is one big thing (other than the privacy screens) that needs to be addressed. When I put in this large island in the middle of the backyard lawn a few years ago, there were two things I wanted to accomplish. First I wanted some shade. The yard seemed very hot and unappealing in the summer. Second, I wanted something interesting to look at from the windows and the chairs on the patio outside the living room doors. When we moved from Laguna Beach, we gave up a lovely view that we really missed. I decided to create my own views and Flying Rabbit Island was one of the first (named after a lovely sculpture we installed the first summer). When I planted the island of dirt that we dug out of the middle of the lawn, I planted three California Pepper trees. I know they aren't everyone's favorite, but I like their fern-like foliage, the way they sway gracefully in the slightest breeze and their multiple trunks. I know they are messy, but in a large bed, away from any pathways or patios, the debris doesn't bother me. When they were planted they were rather small. Fifteen gallon pots were all we could easily get through the gates. I planted a whole bed of flowers all around them that was quite stunning for the first few years. At first the trees suffered from too much water as I tried to get the perennials established, but then we cut back the water and everything was happy. Until this year. It turns out the trees have grown into a lovely respite of shade, making the sun loving roses, iris and daylilies quite unhappy. Although one side of the "island" still gets enough sun for those plants to thrive, my other lovelies are without blooms this year. It is time to make a change to a more shade loving group of plants that don't need a lot of water. As soon as it cools off a bit!


Northern Shade said...

You get very quick growth in your climate. That's quite a transformation in only 5 years. I wish some of my shrubs would grow as quickly, but they don't make as much progress in our shorter growing season.

EVA said...

what is the name of your beautiful tree on these photos? It looks like a fastgrower, - that I saw in an article once. Looked for it ever since, but have never seen it in Denmark.

Thanks for the amazing post.


Sheila said...


Those are California Pepper (Schinus molle) they like to be kept on the dry side with a mild climate.