--Red arrow: the neighbor's problem Eucalyptus. The other neighbor's problem Ficus are behind the fence at the top of the photo.
--Blue arrow and small red circle: A golden Duranta, partially destroyed when a huge portion of the Eucalyptus fell into our yard.
--Big red circle: stump of 'Swanes Golden' Cypress smashed by the Euc-fall.
--Blue circle: Clump of burgundy (sterile) Pennisetum
--Red lines: temporary stairway of blocks
Project on-site supervisor:
The slope needs a rehab, obviously. It's a difficult area because of one neighbor's Ficus benjamina roots, another neighbor's Eucalyptus trees, the steepness of the slope, the drought...a lot of issues. This is not a primary place in the garden, but I'd like it to look good without using much water. Water restriction is necessary beyond our drought because of the Ficus trees next door. At one point I pulled out all the huge surface roots the Ficus trees sent down the slope. I then completely stopped irrigating the area to discourage the roots from returning.
Please stay out of my soil!
The Duranta was great for a while. At certain times of day, the bright chartreuse foliage would stand out from dark shadowed background of Eucs and Ficus, a cheerful, glowing splash against blackness. Unfortunately, it needed regular watering that it didn't receive.
After the neighbor's Euc came crashing down and smashed the Duranta and Cypress, the Duranta partially grew back, while the Cypress did not. I cut down the Cypress and left its stump to dry. One thing gardening experience has brought me is to let large stumps, tree or shrub, dry out completely before removal. I left it two or three years, and it popped right out with a couple of shovel shoves. Saved hours of misery!
In the next photo, Salvia leucantha, (circled in red) planted long ago before the Euc began to hang over the area and before the flippers planted those dreadful Ficus, made do on nearly zero moisture. I watered it just a couple of times last summer when it really drooped, and it was fine--and bloomed! I plan to leave the Salvia, for a while. The Duranta needed more water than I gave it, and often looked stressed with burnt foliage and bare spots.
The Salvia blooms in late summer despite minimal irrigation. I don't know how the Nandina along the fence survive, but they do despite no water at all beyond the 6" of rain we got this winter. Tough plants. I fear watering them will enable the Ficus roots to come roaring back.
Here's what I've done so far:
I (regretfully) removed the Duranta--there was a sucker left I potted up--they are tough, if sufficiently watered. The Pennisetum is gone.
I've repaired the Nandina planter cups along the fence--they provide extra soil for the Nandina roots, and also function as a stairway of sorts on that side of the slope. The Ficus roots pushed them all up so they were no longer level or stable. Ficus roots killed and removed All but the topmost cup is fixed (red arrow). One valuable lesson gained from working on slopes is to dig out a small foothold when necessary, for safe perching while working (blue arrow). I used the foothold constantly when adding the larger planter cup to the right of the blue arrow.
The new large planter-cup, made of scrounged blocks, has been a safe level place for me to stand while repairing the Nandina cups. This new cup will become the home of...'Austin Griffiths' Arctostaphylos...maybe. 'Austin' is currently planted in a fairly shaded area; it may need more sun. In this planter cup it would receive morning and early afternoon sun followed by shade for the worst of the afternoon heat--seems right.
I thought to somewhat replicate the golden splash of golden Duranta with the Hakea salicifolia 'Gold Medal' I impulse-bought a few weeks ago.
Whoa...has that grown already?
Not as intense a splash of gold, but also not as thirsty, no spines like the Duranta has, and reportedly very tough. 'Gold Medal' gets quite large (12' at least), so it would shade out the Salvia leucantha after a while, but I have to put it somewhere (famous last words for impulse-buy plants).
So that's project progress so far. This project has been relatively easy, or is my brain still on Spring, so I'm oblivious to the effort involved?
Brain still on Spring: three of the new 'Dee-lish' rose, and one 'Ascot'.