After years of being told the Rosemary hedge around my garden was too monolithic I believed it. So last year I ripped out alternate Rosemary plants and interplanted with Artemesia californica (California sagebrush). I tried in these pictures to show how they look together. I don't think I did a good job, but it looks OK to me in person.
Ribes aureum gracillimum (Golden current) is blooming along the back fence. This is a well-shaded area and I expect they'd do better with a bit more light. Still, an impressive showing for only one year in the ground. The plan was to have Ribes in bloom when the adjacent Cercis was still dormant for winter. So far, so good.
I had one sad looking Encelia (Coast sunflower or California bush sunflower) bloom in the front where it gets direct sun for most of the day (not shown).
I got the Camelia from the neighbors. It wouldn't grow in their yard. I think that it was pruned to within an inch of its life over there. I've never pruned it in the several years that I've had it and it's doing fine. My mother covets it and if I take it out I have to give it to her.
The two Fragaria vesca (Woodland strawberry) that I planted in the dark northwest side yard didn't like it there and died. Just like last year, except that I know they weren't neglected this year and I watched them go to their unhappy place. That area of my yard is where the water drains during rain, so at first I thought it was an unhappy mixture of too damp soil and little light. The Fragaria started off strong but the light in that area changes dramatically from late fall to now.
The Heuchera hybid "Opal" (Island Coral Bells) planted in the same area as a backup plant trial is doing well. I hadn't grown this before but I'm glad I decided to experiment. I need to get more with the hope that I can get something to live in this area year round. Water requirements for Heuchera are about the same as for Fragaria "occasional to moderate" vs. "occasional to regular". The light requirements for Heuchera are "part sun to shade" vs. "full sun (coast) to part shade (inland)" for Fragaria. I guess the light is the key here, at least at this time of year.
full sized pictures