If you read my posts and/or live in Southern California, you’re aware that we are still struggling with a drought. Last summer we maintained the yard
as best we could, minimizing our watering schedule, mulching the planting beds and removing plants as they died of thirst. As a garden enthusiast I was in denial. I did some research into plants that were drought resistant, but never pulled the trigger on actually planting or buying those plants. I was in a garden funk. Now, determined to make some improvements, I’ve started on the planting bed adjacent to the patio.
Note: While I love a good before and after, I’m not always willing to show the before. This is taking some courage on my part to let you see how horrible this flower bed became. (This picture was taken in January of this year) 😦
The Japanese boxwoods were transplants (3 years ago) to begin with. It was a surprise to me that they all survived, but they never truly thrived. Then my gardener decided he needed to hedge them more frequently than he should have. This is the result. It’s my experience that once a portion of the boxwood dies back, even with trimming and cleaning up the boxwood they rarely flourish again. So, a clean sweep was made of the flower bed, except for the Iceberg roses, which have become a mainstay since they seem to be happy no matter what. And I kept my Eden climber, for pretty much the same reason.
I decided to remove the Cecile Brunner rose since it had become so large and very high maintenance. I wanted to plant some sun loving plants below so I removed it. More on that later.
Without the boxwood we needed some bender board. Mr. B. did a great job of installing the redwood bender board I chose (as opposed to the synthetic product). I know there’s more longevity with the synthetic, but I like the look of the wood, so we’ll see how long it lasts.
The ‘to do’ list for this area was:
- Remove the Cecile Brunner rose – done
- Remove the Japanese boxwood around the patio – done
- Amend the soil with an organic compost planting mix – done
- Plant a border plant such as Polygala ‘Petite Butterfly’ (this plant is drought resistant and blooms nearly year round here in Southern California.
I confess, while several of my sweet readers asked when I was going to show this planting renovation, I was waiting for the delphiniums to bloom and the Polygala to fill in a bit.
The Iceberg are just about to pop into bloom, the Polygala ‘Petite Butterfly’ are filling in, the heliotrope seem happy and the delphinium need to be staked, always a precaution since they are often top heavy, especially if we get any rain.
The only drought resistant plant is the Polygala, but the delphiniums are going to live only through summer, so I’ll most probably replace them with lavender. The heliotrope may outgrow this space, but I hope not.
Here’s the final plant list:
Polygala ‘Petite butterfly’ – border plant; drought resistant; will grow to 2′ wide and 2′ high at maturity; it’s an evergreen in our zone 10 and blooms most of the summer:
Delphinium: 1-2′; come in a variety of colors, most in purple, lavender and blue shades. Toxic to humans if consumed.
Heliotrope; 1-2′; the flower is scented. The plant is just this side of the delphinium in the picture.
The extra space around the plants are to give them plenty of room to grow, I’ll take pictures this summer and share the progress.
One last garden note, I cut the Cecile Brunner down and it took most of a morning. Cutting is easy but cutting up the canes for the recycle bin, not so much. So we left the stump, which is sizeable as the rose has been planted for years. Now I have 4 pretty strong canes coming out of the stump, my thought is to leave them, see if they’ll bloom and hope that, since the canes are small (like a new bare root rose) that it will be manageable for a year or two. Any experience with this situation? (See it on the far right of the image below?)
Now I think we’re ready for spring/summer outdoor relaxation. Since I’ve prepared for warmer weather, we’ll probably get some remnants of El Niño, which eluded us this winter. 🙂
Any plans for your garden? ♥ Karen