kriselkeeper: July 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Drought Tolerant Plants

I've been busy buying plants.  The north side of the yard is dedicated to lavenders.  The south side will be a mix of drought tolerant plants. As much as I'd love to only do native plants I must admit there are many varieties of Australian shrubs and trees I like.  I am being careful to not get more invasive creatures like I the Mexican Heather Grass.  In fact, this summer I'll be tearing them out from our south median.  

I have a game plan for this entire front garden space.  With the dg path laid down I can clearly visualize my plant selections better.  The entire space looks dry with all the granite but with the plants grown in it will feel lush again.  However, it'll probably be a year before the plants grow in to the desired fullness. For budgetary reasons I buy all plants in small sizes. I don't mind waiting to see them all at their fullest potential.

I get most of my plants at West Valley Nursery on Ventura Blvd.  It's not a discount plant store but I do find their prices to be pretty close to places located "off the boulevard".  Instead of 50 cents or a dollar less I get a wealth of information. John, the owner, is very knowledgeable and kind.  He'll take the time to listen to my plan and help me out.  For example, I told him I needed lots of lavender.  He asked me what variety I wanted, there are close to 20 different kinds.  I said I didn't know them well enough to know but I knew I wanted something that could be used in perfumes or food.  He informed me there were only 2 varieties for those purposes.  I selected Lavender Grosso. John's wealth of information is priceless, he has a great selection of plants and he does not carry the invasive varieties.  In fact, I saw a plant I loved on the hillsides going over the canyons. It was growing wild and I wanted to order one.  Turns out it's not native and highly invasive and sucks the water away from the other plants.  John was able to identify what it was just based on my verbal description.

Here are some of the other plants I selected.  

I picked out 4 different kind of sages.
Mexican Brush Sage  or Hardy Salvia Leucantha
 Winifred Gillman Sage or Salvia clevelandii

 Allen Chickering Sage or Salvia Allen Chickering

White Sage, that I didn't get the chance to photograph yet. I bought it very small and it's not doing so well.  

Then I picked out a few different varieties:
Between the two large flax is a "Lions Tail". It will have some beautiful large orange flowers that look like....well, a lion's tail, literally. They are quite in bloom right now.  I saw it in a friend's front yard and I knew I wanted one to.

 Silver Swan

Matllija Poppy or Romneya coulteri. 
It looks awful right here but these plants just bloomed.  If you live in LA and have driven pass the zoo on Griffith Park Drive you would have seen these bushes with the most amazing white flowers that look like white tissue. This will be a beautiful plant that will be about 15 feet wide.  I didn't realize it's stems are sort of prickly.  That worries me a little with small kids, but at least it's not thorny.

Lambs Ear.  How this super soft plant is drought tolerant is beyond me. 

"Platinum Wallaby" Mula Mula

Around each of the three trees I put in some Sedum Brevifolium.  My original plan was to plant grass. Then a friend suggested doing a sedum or another drought tolerant ground cover.  Brilliant. This was my choice. I split a flat between the three trees.

Although I love the look of Agaves I can't have them in our garden.  Most have very long thorns at the ends of each "leaf".  I've heard too many stories of children losing an eye when they've accidentaly ran into one.  Nothing is worth my child's eye.  

I'm so happy with our front garden space.  We now spend the late afternoons in it because it's the shadiest part of our property at that time of the day.   I'm happy when I come home and walk through it and I'm happy when I leave and and walk through it.