Those of you that have been reading my ramblings for awhile will, no doubt, recognize this house and garden. I wrote about it back in July of 2013 and then did a follow up in December of that same year. The second post detailed the impressive (custom) winter enclosure that protects all the not-hardy plants that are lifted and moved for the winter...
Like those beefy Aeoniums on the right.
Isn't this a gorgeous dark Mimosa tree? (Albizia julibrissin 'Summer Chocolate')
Such a lovely collection of potted gems on the front steps...
We (my plant lust partner, Patricia, joined me on this visit) were told the Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) blooms all winter, inside of course.
The Sedum is obscured by all its flowers! It's there somewhere, under the foamy white.
Look at all those pups around Mama Agave!
I would love to watch passers-by, as they stop to stare at these.
We're now on the back patio, and how could I not stop to admire this gorgeous Bromeliad?
The fountain is the perfect accent to the wonderful view...
So why exactly we were back for another visit? And what's up with the title of this post? Well in mid June I got an email from Dale, the homeowner/gardener: "I thought you might be interested in my latest project: I am almost done with the installation of a series of recycled concrete rubble terraces on my steep south-facing back slope"...(previously un-garden-able)..."Now for the REALLY FUN PART: planning and planting the terraces and walls with some very showy, dangerous-looking plants that complement my Mediterranean house and southerly setting with great soil drainage. I'm looking for plants that will be visible from the street below because [it] gets a lot of walking and biking traffic."
Check out a new project? How could we refuse? So Patricia and I showed up, ogled the front garden, were handed a glass of wine, and then we went to explore the new territory. This is the section just off the kitchen, there's a door that opens on to those temporary steps. The palms are there simply because he wanted them to be in the ground, where they'd be happy. They'll be moved soon now that the work is done. Dale told us that he plans to plant a low hedge along the edge of this level of the terrace (behind (on the house side) that row of concrete rubble). He asked for planting suggestions. What do you recommend?
We traveled onward, down the very steep slope. I was a little concerned, a glass of wine on an empty stomach, a steep drop off...you know, things could have gone bad. However the ground was very solid. Any pathways we walked on were wide and the stairs were well placed. It's an empty space with so much possibility!
From this angle things are deceiving. You see so much soil and don't really grasp just how much concrete you are standing on. You will soon.
This mature Madrone (Arbutus menziesii) anchors the otherwise empty space (those stairs are temporary, to aid in the construction of the terraces).
Here you can start to see a little of how the space is broken up into different planting areas.
This is what defines each level.
That is the edge of his property.
What would you plant here? Dale (and I) would love to hear your suggestions! Patricia and I gave him a list of our favorites but I bet you can think of several things we did not.
There will be some irrigation available, but whatever is planted here will have to be plenty heat tolerant as this is south-facing and all that cement is going to reflect a lot of heat...
Here's a view from below the property. Dale has been given permission to plant up the neighbor's land (on the right) as well.
This gives you a great look at just how much material was brought in to create the terraces, and what a feature the Madrone is. Dale plans to install rusted wire trellis panels along that bottom wall, then cut into the cement below and plant vines, thus obscuring a blank canvas currently used for graffiti. Pretty impressive undertaking isn't it all? If it were your garden what would you be planting? Oh and thanks so much for sharing it with us Dale!
All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.