I am working on a design for her entrance patio, currently looking like this...
|The former owner is clearly not a gardener.|
Some things I know...Ralph would like a little bit of grass, and must have roses.
Francesca might like a vegetable and herb garden.
The design issues....
1. No shade, so we will probably plant a shade tree.
2. Poor soil - a dump truck of compost from Soilutions?
3. Need to address irrigation
4. Awkward placement of power pole and meters (how expensive to move?) Or
could we establish a different path to front door with a strong focal point to
move the eye away from this? Trellis or large potted plant in front of the
power pole to disguise it?
5. Unknown elevation...need to find out gardening zone.
6. Do the new owners want seating and or a dining area in this area or just a
7. Do they want to introduce some curves in the design or stick with straight
8. Water feature? Do we keep that very modern concrete block fountain seen at the right of the photo?
9. Fire pit, chimenea or corner fireplace?
10. Budget constraints?
11. Need to identify orientation to the sun and what existing plants will stay...think that is a desert willow on the right side of the photo.
12. Do Ralph and Francesca like a riot of color or a more restrained color palette?
We need to get this space looking more finished by the date of the wedding shower, because Francesca's friends may hold the shower at this location, so we will need to borrow pots of flowers, move the pavers, and perhaps install some of the hardscapes...gravel or mulch temporarily until we can decide on a suitable grass? Ralph, would you be happy with buffalo grass?
Here are some inspiration photos...
|Linear softened by round rocks|
|Or a combination of straight and curvy?|
I lean towards curvy myself, straight lines are a little too formal and modern for me, but, of course, this will not be my garden! Francesca and Ralph which do you like?
More pretty courtyards....
Here is a list of plants we might use...to be safe we will assume hardiness zone 6b although in this protected courtyard we might be able to get away with zone 7 for some plants. Because Placitas' water supply is limited at best, we will choose drought tolerant varieties to begin with and then perhaps add a few things that might need a bit more water as we see how well the water sippers do and how much water it takes to maintain them.
1. Hollyhocks-typical along adobe walls in New Mexico
2. Salvia (Meadow Sage)
|Image via High Country Gardens|
3. Yellow yarrow. Other colors are also available and beautiful.
4. Butterfly bush - comes in many colors and is very drought tolerant once established. As you might guess, it attracts a host of both butterflies and bees.
|Image via worldofhummingbirds.com|
5. Agastache or Hummingbird Mint. Fabulous sunset colors, very drought tolerant with a licorice scent.
|Image Via High Country Gardens|
6. California poppies (best grown from seed) Adds lots of color at a small price and comes back year after year from re-seeding itself.
7. Jupiter's Beard (Centranthus ruber Coccineus)
A personal favorite of mine, I am transplanting some from my garden.
8. Succulents that will spread- even grocery stores carry an interesting variety of these beauties. Great for low water gardens.
9. Groundcovers (wonderful for conserving water once established) Some possible choices....Ceratostigma plumbaginoides-Hardy Plumbago, Cotula Tiffindell Gold -Creeping Gold Buttons,
10. Autumn Sage blooms in the fall but it is beautiful year round.
|Sedum when first blooming|
|Transitioning as fall deepens|
|By October Image Via|
And of course, we cannot do without penstemons and lavenders!
Penstemon digitalish Husker Red is a beauty with its gorgeous foliage...
But to be honest, I have never met a penstemon I did not love!
This is not the only project on the drawing board. In my next post we will look at renovations to a very established Nob Hill garden.