Back slope California native garden plan

Here's a Google map of our back yard with the planting plan indicated on it with scaled circles. The plantings fill a steeply sloped hillside that flows down to the right and ends at a path that borders a property line fence.

This plan derives from one originally made by Ric Dykzeul and executed by me.  Some of the plantings were successful and others were not, for reasons that I try to capture below.  After the break is Ric's plan and my comments.

Ric's plan is shown above and focuses on the area north of the pool equipment zone (from where the Malacothamnus is located on my plan and above).  Of note for both plans: It's a slope - down to the right.  I now have a path and stairs that I didn't when Ric designed his version.  I also have an intent to use the path and stairs for garden viewing.  Ric's plan had a trio of Rhamnus californica (now Frangula califnornica) along the lowest part of the slope with Ceanothus in between.  I've kept that pattern of a trio of same plants with two interspersed Ceanothus except that I plan to use Dendromecon.  I also echo that pattern in the top tier with Artemesia and Salvia.  The repetition will add to garden harmony, I think.   TPF = Theodore Payne Foundation

Keeping on back slope from Ric's original plan:

~Arctostaphylos 'Lester Rowntree' (Lester Rowntree Manzanita)  6' H x 8' W according to TPF. No summer water.  The one already doing well by stairs had to be uprooted 10/23/16 when Saul and I took out a bunch of stumps and I placed a bunch of wooden terracing.  It was placed immediately in a pot and watered.  It looks stressed, so it may not survive.  Plan to replace located as shown above with hopes it will be ok.

~Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. thyrsiflorus 'Snow Flurry‘, Common Name: Snow Flurry California Lilac,  6'-12' H x 20' W and Infrequent to moderate water per TPF.  This selection was what Ric recommended and so I think this what I planted, though my blog has no confirming record that I was able to find.  Planted in 2012, I think. I may need to transplant this one soon to make the soil level appropriate for the new grading that resulted from recent work on the hill.

~Ceanothus 'Frosty Blue‘, confirmed selection from my prior blog entry.  Planted on back slope 10/2012. 6-10' H x 8' W per TPF.  Water: Occasional to moderate

~Galvesia speciosa (Bush Snapdragon) on back slope.  I suspect I have the species based on memory but I'm unable to confirm that in my blog. 3' H x 5' W  per TPF.  Also per TPF, “Sun Exposure: Partial sun or shade and Good against a north or east-facing wall where it is out of direct sun.” It's east facing against a low retaining wall.  However, they aren’t super flowering for me and could do worse if I moved them up a tier on the hill.  I've decided to keep in place after discussion with Juli.

All these plants have been successful enough.  The Ceanothus plants didn't grow with the rapidity that I had hoped for, nor have they been as florific, but there were a LOT of competing roots and regrowth from the cleared hillside.  I think they will grow better now that the roots have been cleared.  Also, re-reading the watering notes from the TPF suggests that I need to water the Ceanothus more often than I have -  they recommend infrequent to moderate frequency but I have watered zero to once in a summer.

Moving / Demoing:

~Buckwheat at top of slope – Ric's plan was unclear on whether the Galvesia took the top tier of planting or not.  I chose not, and planted buckwheat in the top tier (to the left of locations marked G in Ric's plan).  I liked them at first but this particular buckwheat is better suited for a role in the mid to back of a garden where it's not front and center year round, so I asked Saul to shear it down in preparation to repot for installation at PVIS in their native plant garden. Replace with Salvia and Artemesia.

~Atriplex brewerii (now A. lentiformis ssp. lentiformis AKA Salt Bush or Quail Bush) - demo and replace with Malacothamnus (below).  This was intended to be a rapid screen of my pool equipment from the neighbor and the two I planted did so exceptionally well in that location that they were garden thugs.  They never would have been happy being sheared as close as I needed them to be and they also smell like urine.  Out they go!

~ Rhamnus californica ssp californica (California Coffeeberry) 3 purchased 2012-10-11 -two failed earlier and the last one was doing so poorly that I pulled it from the back slope 10/2016.  From what I read, this should have been a fast grower and well-suited to the hill, so I don’t know if I got the wrong selection from the get go, if they were in poor health as-purchased, or if the location was just too difficult for them.  Water is occasional to moderate, 8-12’Hx4’W.


~Artemesia californica 'Canyon Grey' (Prostrate California sage brush) - This is established elsewhere and I will transplant this prostrate form to where the buckwheat currently is at the top of the slope above the Galvesia.  This sagebrush has a lower and tidier look than the buckwheat that it will replace. Discussed this with Juli 10/22 and she agreed.

~ Lonicera hispidula (Pink honeysuckle).  Adaptable water. 5'hx5-10'W vine. Concern that pool equipment location is too sunny, but Las Pilitas says OK in full sun.  Plant on N side of pool equip to fill in below planned rose that Juli has selected.

~Dendromecon harfordii (Channel Island Tree Poppy, Harford's Tree Poppy) 3-10'H x 2-8'W per CalScape.  This replaces the unsuccessful Rhamnu californica in the original plan.

~~Salvia leucophylla 'Point Sal' (2’x4’) Beautiful and tough groundcover for hot dry areas. Does best with infrequent deep soakings--especially inland. Highly recommended for erosion control and bird habitat. Sun Exposure: Full sun, Water: Drought-tolerant to occasiona.  Planted at the top of the slope

~Brickellia californica (California Brickellbush) - Planted for the scent. "Extremely fragrant plant fills the air in summer. " -TPF. 4' H x 3 - 6' W, Full sun to part shade.  Water: Drought-tolerant to moderate.  North side of pool equipment, second tier down so it's out of sight.

~Malacothamnus fasciculatus 'Casitas' (Bush mallow / Chaparral Mallow) 4-6' H x ~3'W per Las Pilitas, 3-12' H x 6' W per TPF.  Used as a replacement for salt bush "Superior background shrub for dry banks, and slopes. Recommended for erosion control. Spreads by underground roots. Very drought tolerant. Good butterfly plant. "-TPF

~Nasella pulchra (Purple needle grass) - From PVLC.  Planted 3 4".  I'll let this fill in the understory and keep it off the paths.  The California State Grass!

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