Spring Project 2016 Completed!


Infrastructure makes slope gardening so much easier:  infrastructure meaning flat places to stand in order to plant and maintain, flat places so shrubs can have sufficient soil and moisture to grow well, stairs of some sort, and appropriate irrigation.  

The top planting cup is remade and will no longer contain a Nandina.  It will remain empty because the ficus roots would only re-invade if a Nandina there was watered, but it's also remaining empty because it will be the flat place to set a ladder, in order to trim back the neighbor's ficus to the property line.  Long term maintenance planned for!  Clever, eh?  Once the top cup was done, I got a ladder up there, got on the ladder with my handy pole saw, and did some trimming. 

 I also worked on the irrigation, changing it from a few drip lines to Netafim drip tubing, which is more durable.  Of course there were more Ficus roots to remove.  

 There's the new drip line.  Because of the ficus root problem, irrigation will be minimal. The red symbols are where plants will go, or were.  The Salvia indicated by the red arrow used to be in the spot indicated by the paw print. The check is Arctostaphylos 'Austin Griffiths' spot, and the red sun, the Hakea 'Gold Medal'.

The flat area gets a big loop of drip tubing, something it never had. 
  
If the Ficus roots were not such a problem, I would do more, but this should look okay.  So, here's the completed project...
If it looks a little empty, keep in mind that 'Austin Griffiths' can grow to 8'x8' or more, and the Hakea 10'x10'. 

'Austin Griffiths' Arctostaphylos in his planting cup:

Salvia discolor in her smaller planting cup, where she has a better chance of establishing a bigger, stronger root system.    Here it will grow faster and soon be feeding hummingbirds.  This Salvia will bloom year round without a pause--year round food for the birds. 
 
If you are wondering why part of the area is not mulched, it is because the neighbor's mow/blow crew blows the Ficus leaves from next door into this area.  Because fallen leaves are "messy", I guess.  I actually don't mind--they make an effective mulch, if not an aesthetically pleasing one.  If I rake up all the leaves and mulch with shredded wood/bark, it will quickly get covered up with Ficus leaves again.  So they remain.  

The remnant of the Salvia leucantha patch--sigh.  I will probably pull it when I am sure the clumps I potted up will survive and grow.  Poor plants can't really thrive on such a steep slope, mostly because they can't get watered properly.  Water stays long enough on flat places for roots to get at them.  At this steepness, it simply runs down the surface.  
 I'll put one of the potted S. leucantha clumps into this small cup below the ladder-perch at the top of the slope.  Not enough space for a shrub, but a good space for a Salvia that is hopefully tough enough to survive should when the Ficus roots invade again.
 On the flat space at the bottom of the slope, the Hakea goes in...
 ...along with an experiment.  An Aloe/Agave nursery--a place with drip irrigation and afternoon shade for small seedlings and offsets, so they can grow big enough to be planted out on the big-boy slope in front of the house, where it is hotter and much drier.  It's a practical rather than an aesthetic arrangement--they are intended to be here temporarily.

Whoopsi, that should be "claviflora", not "claviflorum".  My bad.
 The Aloe alooides may remain here, if it likes the area, and the Ficus roots don't strangle it...  We'll see how it goes.  
At the start of the project:

After:  
 I declare the Spring Project 2016--completed!  Dedicating a spot for a ladder so I can keep the neighbor's trees trimmed back--now that is thinking ahead.  I think I might be getting the hang of this gardening thing...

Comments

  1. Well done! That is a really smart design, executed well. Congratulations!

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    1. Thanks! I'm pretty happy with it.

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  2. You did a great job on a very awkward-looking space. Brilliant to make a dedicated spot for the ladder! Stability when working there is an important thing to plan for too. The older I get, the worse my sense of balance gets.

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    1. Thanks! The enjoyment factor also goes way, way up when there is a safe place to place the feet. :)

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  3. That looks like a lot of work done, and done well! I hope the plants reward you for their new home by growing quickly!

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    1. I hope they will live long and prosper.

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  4. Good job! As I was reading this I found myself wondering about your eye, how is it doing? Oh and seed pods are developing on the Lupine, yay!

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    1. The eye seems to be okay again, fingers and toes crossed. Photography may become fun again.

      Oooh, Lupine seeds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  5. I think slope gardening is not easy at all, but this design looks great!

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    1. Thank you, Janneke. Practice has made working on slopes much easier. At first, I made many mistakes.

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  6. Your muscles must be sore after all that. It will be fun to see the "bed" mature (hope you'll post updates). After reading one of your previous posts, I used Netafim for a large portion of my yard and am really pleased with it. Thanks for sharing your experience so others can learn from it!

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    1. I will post an update as the Hakea and Arctostaphylos grow--they should be interesting.

      I'm very glad the Netafim worked for you garden. That's great!

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  7. I think it looks great and, as I think I already said, I may borrow the planting cup idea on some of my sloped areas. I don't expect to get around to tackling those areas for months yet, possibly not until fall if the season that shall not be named is as hot as expected. I've got a mulch delivery coming this week so that's my next project.

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    1. Mulch, a big, big project. I'm thinking about an order now also as my eye has finally stabilized, knock on wood it remains so. We've luckily had some decently cool weather again, that should be good for your work. Yes, let's not name that unpleasant season, or even think about it.

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  8. Wow - it looks like you got yourself a great workout - it looks fantastic, and will no doubt start filling out soon, with those nifty water cups you created. Smart too, about creating a ladder space. Glad also to hear your eye is doing better - now you just need to pull up a chair and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

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    1. Thanks, I feel a lot better about that area now. It was such a mess after the big Euc fell into it and smashed everything.

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  9. A lot of work. But, it has paid off. It looks great!

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    1. Thanks! It wasn't so bad. I got it done in weeks instead of years--weeks is pretty swift for me.

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  10. I hate how you have to make accommodations for your neighbor's tree, but what can you do? I think you did a great job considering the extreme limitations. I especially like your aloe/agave nursery. Since these babies and juveniles won't have deep roots, this should be a good spot for them.

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    1. It's one of those "fringe" garden areas. I can only do so much.

      I've already added some more Agaves and Aloes--there is a dripper every 12" on the line, so there are more spots, and there is space to add one more section of line for a few more plants. Little Agaves and Aloes grow so much faster in the ground here than in a pot where they need more care. They can get some growing done before the Hakea gets larger and takes over the space.

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  11. Looks great. I am finding out how hard it is to be reserved and leave space for plants to fill out. Well done for thinking of the fiscus leaves as mulch and not getting upset. It will be interesting to see how the succulent nursery progresses.

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    1. Mulch gets expensive with a large garden--I love that those ficus leaves are not only free, someone else does the work of putting them there.

      I hope the Aloes and Agave grow there faster than they have done in pots. We'll see...

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