The back corner of our portion of the earth’s surface has been a landscaping quandary. It’s triangular in shape, on a moderate downhill angle, half shaded by towering oak and pepper trees, half baked in the blazing sun, and a major focal point for leisure-seekers lounging on the deck. What is to be done? Many plants have been sent down there to their doom over the years. What you see here are the few that made a go of it.
The survivors are a mix of California Natives and Gas Station plants; Toyon, Bush Anemone, Clara Hawthorne, Strawberry tree, Nandina, Cape Plumbago. A recent addition is a locally-favored Bougainvillea, which is assigned to the sunny fence on the right. So far, it seems to be thriving. I also just planted a Pink-flowering Currant, which isn’t looking so hot at the moment, but it’s supposed to lose its leaves in the fall so I’ll cut it some slack. So, for any plants out there reading this, here’s what we’re looking for. The ideal candidate will: tolerate clay soil, thrive in dry shade and/or full sun, survive drought conditions, not mind oak leaf litter, attract butterflies, bees and birds, and look attractive from a distance.
A few years ago we tried landscaping down here, and the terraced steps you see here are remnants of that time.
Only the Strawberry Tree survived. At the time (2005) a neighbor’s pine tree shaded this part of the yard most of the year, and might explain why the Blue Fescue didn’t make it. That seems like the kind of plant that would fit our selection criteria now that the pine tree is gone.
We just acquired a basket of Sonoma Wall Rock from Lyngso, which is destined for this area. We’re calling it Camp Arrowhead due to its triangular shape and the landscaping design theme of “Northern California camp site”.
We shall keep you informed of our progress.