Monday, April 20, 2015

Replanting A Bare Area

I had a area in the front yard that for many years was filled with Ribes thacherianum, Santa Cruz Island Gooseberry. It had very nice flowers in the Spring. The photo below is from the Winter/Spring of 2013. This species would always go dormant from Summer until the first rains, then it would wake up and leaf out.

However, after the Summer of 2014 it did not come out of dormancy. I think the Summer was just too hot and dry for it. Perhaps in a more protected location it would have survived. Anyway, I was not too upset because I am now organizing my garden into geographic zones, and this island species did not fit with the Chaparral species that I have in that part of the front yard. So, it's time to replant.

The first job was to clear out what remained of the Ribes.

Once the area was clear, I needed to decide what I wanted to put in there. Neighboring plants include Fremontodendron 'Pacific Sunset', Toyon, Buckwheat, Chaparral Mallow, Del Mar Manzanita, Summer Holly, and Baja Bush Snapdragon (which no longer fits in this section of the garden). I wanted to add shrubs that would be representative of the Chaparral of San Diego County but not repeating what I already have. I also want to leave room for some annuals.

Fortunately, Recon Native Plant Nursery had their Spring Sale on April 18. I looked over their list of available plants and found some good ones that fit my criteria. I normally don't like to plant at this time of year. I prefer to plant in the Fall when there is cooler weather ahead and maybe some rain. But I wanted to get these plants while they were available because other times I have waited until Fall and then the plants were not available. So here's what I bought.

The Rhamnus and Cercocarpus will eventually get pretty large, possibly 8 ft. or so. The Dendromecon will also get fairly tall and will get yellow poppy flowers. The Eriodictyon will be medium height, while the Cneoridium will stay fairly low and bushy. All of these should be more drought tolerant than the Ribes that was here before and will fit better with my Chaparral theme. In the space between the shrubs I plan to scatter seeds of poppy, lupine, phacelia, clarkia, and other annuals.

Below are the plants in the ground, with oak leaf mulch. I also plan to add more rocks when I can get them. I gave them a good amount of water to get them started and then I'll monitor daily to see how they are doing. I'll be watering from the rain barrel which I'm refilling from the shower warm-up water.

I put the Denromecon in a spot where it will have somewhat more shade while it is really small.

I put the Cneoridium and Eriodictyon together as companions, though I'm not really sure why. It just seemed like a good idea.

My experience with Yucca shidigera in the garden has been very good, so I expect this one will grow fairly rapidly and flower in a few years.

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