Succession Planting

 1. "Succession planting is a gardening method that extends the growing season and yields a greater harvest"

More of those!

2. "Succession planting is the layering of plants to create dramatic change in the garden over the growing season, and to extend bloom over a long period." 

When a beautiful spring becomes a "meh" summer, the problem is a lack of succession planting.  Meh:   

 3. "Succession planting is a method to gradually transition an area from a full sun exposure to a shaded exposure."

Example:  the next photo. The Oak is gradually turning a full sun bed of roses into a future of shade and a fluffy blanket of fallen oak leaves.  The Lagerstroemia on the left will require eventual removal as (if) the Oak grows larger.  The Oak will someday shade he house as our climate deteriorates into the misery of year-round heat, until the Oak, too, dies of heat, or drought, or insect pests, or the transformation of all of California into towering apartment blocks surrounded by little green mustaches of token shrubbery.  

 4. "Succession planting is a method to gradually transition from an irrigated garden to a summer dry or arid garden."  

No more of this.  Sigh:  

  or this:

And more of this.  Which is not so very it?

As I fumble and stumble my way through the gardening experience, it's time to think about succession in terms of the last three of the above descriptions.  Regarding #1,  the growing season here is 360 days a year.  It need not be longer. 

Incidentally,  the first two definitions are real.   The second two, I made up.  Succession over a long period of time isn't really "succession gardening"--it's... "gardening".  

A detailed approach to combining #2 and #4 of these ideas is presented here.  While it's brilliant, it also saddens me, because I love the plants I love, and the plants I love, while they might not love lots of water, undoubtedly love some in summer.   Even Aloes.  

And certainly Verbena, Dahlias, and the Garvinea series of Gerbera daisy: 

New one!  A garnet red.  

'Firehouse Purple Fizz' Verbena:
Zinnia seedlings:

While I might (and have) become accustomed and attached to some very xeric plants...

Such as Hakea from western Australia: 

Such as Dasylirion wheeleri from west Texas, a bee-covered flower tower of what looks like woolly rigatoni...

...such as Aloe dhufarensis, also now flowering: heart still sings for roses, dahlias,
and Geranium 'Rozanne'.  Not just Agave 'Blue Glow'.  Learning to love xerics is learning as much as it is loving.  You love what you love.  You cannot do otherwise.  

Moving pots around is a way to change things up.  Rolled the big sloppy splash of orange bromeliad out by the Dahlias:

But ahhhh, flowers!

So I've been planting small, heat-loving Pentas, Cosmos, and Salvias, babying the Zinnias in hopes of brightening July and August, spot-watering as needed, and moving pots around to make summer a little more interesting.  

Temporary shade and mandatory rodent protection to help them settle in.

The Salvias can do without shade or rabbit protection.  There will be a splash of red flowers here in a few weeks, and hummers feeding from them. 

Surprise: the "butterfly gladiolus' flowers already emerging.  The labels said late summer. 

Carefully planning out every bit of water to meet restrictions.  A juggler working to keep all the balls aloft.  I want to delay Succession #4 as long as I can.  

Source: pieceofeden

Succession Planting