Sunday, January 5, 2014

Wide Shot - January 2014, back hill

Heather at Xeristyle has been posting monthly wide shots of her garden at her blog. Go here to see her picture for January, and other people's links in the comments. For this month, I wanted to focus on the hill side in my back garden. Out of all the areas in the back garden, it needs the most work, given that the plan conceived two years ago really didn't work.

Last August (08/2013), the hill looked like this:
From South looking North
It had just been weeded, and a new path put in at the top of the hill. All of the plant material that was dead had been removed. There are 2 pine trees (Pinus pinea, Italian Stone Pine) on either end, and 3 fruit trees (peach, nectarine, almond) in between the pine trees.

Here is what it looks like today (01/2014):
same view as before - January 2014

From the opposite side
Most of the green, especially near the bottom of the hill, is weeds (oops!). I have started to try a couple of plants (optunia pads, some aloe) but winter is not a good time to plant here, since we get really cold nights sometimes. Also, there's been no rain.

So this will be one of the major areas I want to plant in the spring. I'm thinking of trying most or all of the following:
1) big scrubs, like Fremontodendron, Dalea, Caesalpinia, Buddleja (this is my neighbor's way of dealing with his hillside - big scrubs in bare dirt. He seems to not have too many weeds...)
2) Coreopsis along the top and bottom, and pathways (or another low desert bloomer?)
3) various (cold-hardy) yucca, agave, optunia, aloe, dasylirion, etc
4) grasses (Mexican feather grass, purple fountain grass (not hardy), bamboo muhly?)
5) maybe some vines for ground cover?
6) containers on the top and bottom paths (the bottom (brown) path is decomposed granite, and was pretty weed-free up until this winter)

The hill gets full sun all day long, especially in the summer, so it's not the most hospitable area.

Hopefully, in another few months, this hill side will look way more interesting!


  1. Renee! You have my dream yard - I am in love with your modern lines...and I can totally see your vision. I am SUPER excited to see how it comes together. Thanks so much for participating and for sharing your pictures and ideas. CHEERS!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Heather! I can't wait for it to come together - hopefully this year will be a big step forward!

  2. I vote for a combination of 3 and 4. I think it would be stunning. Oh, I'd add more large rocks too.

    1. More rocks do sound like a good idea... I'll have to incorporate that. I've been sketching plans, since it's too cold to plant anything. Thanks for your comment!


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