In a bit of a diversion away from the usual subject of vegetable gardening, I am pleased to report that our front yard no longer lies barren. Plants – actual plants now reside in the space that once was a flatland of mud and weeds. No longer the embarrassment of the neighborhood, we can now hold our heads up high – and even smile – as we approach the front door.
If you’ve been following the previous segments about this project, you’ll remember the exciting plant removal, and pathway and irrigation installation. (It’s really worth comparing the pictures of before and after, I must say). Now I’d like to share what plants we used (most of which were suggested by our fabulous landscape designer Jack Irish) to create our low water garden:
The over sized palm trees were replaced by 4 Melaluca Linarifolia (tea trees)
Underneath them we planted a carpet of trailing rosemary
Along the front of the house we have Rhamnus Calif. “Eve Case” (Coffeeberry) – this is hidden behind our laurel bay in this picture.
The short grasses in the front are Nolina – (Bear grass)
The taller grasses in the back are Helictotrichon Sempervirens (Blue Oat Grass)
Over on the right with coral flowers is Justica Spicigera (Shrimp Plant)
And far off to the right is Arbutus Unido (Strawberry tree – shrub form)
In the pot on the left, for some visual quirkiness, we have Spiral Juncus.
On the other side of the walkway:
More Coffeeberry in the back, with a Jasmine in a pot behind it (okay, that’s not really low water, but it’s contained). There’s a hibiscus in the other pot – a whim of mine over the summer.
The plantings in front are comprised of a combination of Stachys (Lamb’s Ears), Convolvulus Cneorum and Achillea (Yarrow). The Yarrow replaced our original choice of Mimulus, because Mimulus is apparently not available until spring or summer.
Then we come to the orchard:
We wanted fruit trees somewhere on the property, and rather than sacrifice sun in the backyard (trees make shade, which means veggies don’t grow well), we opted for a mini orchard in the front. We had an existing plum tree that was moved to its new home (on the left), in the center is a new kumquat tree, on the right is a Valencia orange that we moved from a very shady place in the back yard – hopefully it will live – and in the back we transplanted a Meyer lemon that has been in a pot on the patio for years. The empty space is for a nectarine, which we hope to get soon.
In the foreground, you see an upright rosemary followed by more Convolvulus cneorum, Achillea and Stachys. The red flag represents a plant that isn’t available until spring or summer, but we just couldn’t find a substitute for: Genista Lydia – Sweet Broom. With it’s yellow flowers, we’ll happily wait.
In the background along the border, you see Dodonaea Viscosa, which has red tinged leaves, Ceanothus, which sends up purple flowers, and more Arbutus Unido.
Finally, the little triangle area right in front above will feature a fountain (when we find the right one), surrounded by Juncus Patens “Elk Blue” grass, and Myrtus Communis “Compacta” – a dwarf Myrtle. You can also see (along the drive way in the planter above left of the triangle) Pittosporum Crassifolium, which we opted for because of it’s fragrant flowers.
None of this would have happened without the help of our contractor Paul Belanger of Belanger Landscape, and Daniel Mayorga of Mayorga Landscape Design. They provided the installation and labor (including the wonderful smelling cedar chips to finish the look).
Still to come – a low-water ground cover in the orchard and the parkway, lighting, and that aforementioned fountain.