At the San Pedro annex the upslope neighbor rents, but he is an avid tomato gardener, so we've bonded over that experience. After after coordinating with the landlord and the neighbor, Stephen, we all agreed to remove some ivy and install a new garden. Our stalwart gardener Saul Jaramillo did the heavy work of removing most of the ivy. I redug the garden and removed the roots that he has missed. (He did a good job, but having done this before I can attest that it's a hard task to get all the roots. Ivy lovers - rest assured that it will spring back from some overlooked root pieces. Ivy haters - rest assured that we'll rip it out until it gives up.)
Juli and I had long ago decided that if the opportunity presented itself, we'd put in Cercis occidentalis (western red bud) and that was the bulk of our plant investment (about $80) in 5 gallon pots. Everything else was in about 4" pots. Neighbor Stephen had requested sunflowers, so we ended up with Encelia farinosa (brittlebush). We added Fragaria chiloensis (beach strawberry or sand strawberry native just up the coast from LA. I think that we purchased 'Chaval', which Native Sons suggests is not the exact right match for us, 'Aulon' being better for the care exposure this will get. ) and Sisyrinchium bellum (blue eyed grass, forgot the selection) as targets of opportunity since they had done well in a nearby garden with similar exposure (the strawberries more so. In fact wild strawberries are some of the tougher ground covers and I'd give them the edge in any native plant fight.)
Read on for additional pictures and a lesson learned.