Novice. Need advice with planter in Nor Cal!

CalMomof3March 24, 2014

We just replaced our old bushes with Cordyline Electric Pink, Euphorbia Ascot Rainbow, and Blue Fescues. I realize these plants are young and will grow, but it seems we need something to contrast the cordyline. I feel like we could do more here. Or is it fine how it is? The planter is westward facing, so it needs to tolerate high heat and be as drought-resistant as possible, considering the lack of water we are experiencing in California. Any suggestions are appreciated, as I am a novice and this was my very first gardening attempt. Thank you!

This post was edited by CalMomof3 on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 11:52

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calistoga_al

I think your planting is too mechanical, like soldiers in a row. Everything looks healthy, just too rigid, not relaxed. Al

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 9:43AM
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CalMomof3

Thank you for your response. We tried to space everything out. I agree with you, though. Its rigid. Maybe once it all grows in, we can adjust or add as necessary. Just not sure what or how.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 10:39AM
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princesspea(sunset14)

I think this looks like a promising combination, I like the tiered bed arrangement. If it feels like you want to do more, something spreading, or trailing, can help full in and soften the currently young plants, although I confess I really like symmetrical planting like this, I think it benefits from an appearance of abundance - I am not very patient for plants to grow and fill in.

I would take a look at: hens and chicks, lambs ear, or yellow alyssum for a fill-in plant, that is easy care, low growing and spreading. Put it near the edges of the bed. I am also a fan of trailing rosemary, however, I feel like it wants a taller wall to spill over, and you did just ditch your old shrubs, you might not want another one!

Pea

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 2:08PM
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princesspea(sunset14)

I think this looks like a promising combination, I like the tiered bed arrangement. If it feels like you want to do more, something spreading, or trailing, can help full in and soften the currently young plants, although I confess I really like symmetrical planting like this, I think it benefits from an appearance of abundance - I am not very patient for plants to grow and fill in.

I would take a look at: hens and chicks, lambs ear, or yellow alyssum for a fill-in plant, that is easy care, low growing and spreading. Put it near the edges of the bed. I am also a fan of trailing rosemary, however, I feel like it wants a taller wall to spill over, and you did just ditch your old shrubs, you might not want another one!

Pea

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 2:22PM
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CalMomof3

Thank you, princesspea. I appreciate your feedback, and I like your ideas! I will look into what you recommended.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 7:53PM
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gyr_falcon(Sunset 23 USDA 9)

What you have are three boldly colored plants. The Euphorbia Ascot Rainbow has a bit of red, so it will compliment the cordyline. The blue fescue is a bit out of the complimentary color range, and thus is really competing with the bold cordyline. The Euphorbia and fescue would play nicely together if the cordyline was not in the mix. If you wish to keep all three, I suggest chosing a green, small leafed or airy, low-growing filler plant and using it to mellow out the visual clash. If the filler is a flowering plant, try to go with something with a very small white flower. You want something that is visually rather boring to mellow everything out while visually joining the bed plants together.

For placement, calistoga is correct in that it is visually more pleasing to not plant in single rows. I copied and altered your photo to show how to plant fescue in a more pleasing triangular pattern. I moved the cordyline to a unevenly triangulated group of three on one end of the planter, and the remaining two positioned diagonally on the other. In non-massed situations, odd numbers of plants (3, 5, 7) are generally better than even numbers of plants (2, 4,6) I moved some of the Euphorbia between the cordylines to help balance out the bed.

It is difficult to judge the size of the bed from a single, close-up photo; nor can I tell where the common point of views are (what direction the bed is usually viewed from). But I hope these tips will help you achieve the look you desire.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:37AM
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CalMomof3

Gyr_Falcon, thank you for taking so much time to explain!! And photoshop too? Wow, thanks, that's really helpful. I will think about rearranging them differently now. What you've said and shown make a lot of sense. What kind of green low-growing plant would look good to fill the spaces? It was so much work to put this together, but live and learn right? It's worth it to put it together properly. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:22PM
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MK

As a zone 9 resident I know how punishing the sun ca be to a western facing bed. I like your choices but would like to see something taller and softer for balance. Have you though of a trellis or espalier for the house? It looks like this bed is along your front walkway so it would make for a friendlier entrance.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 2:58PM
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CalMomof3

Nice idea, dobieone. I will look into it! Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2014 at 11:29AM
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anotherlinda

Calmom,
sometimes rigid is good. I personally love your plantings in your tight space. You've got color, texture, height. I love it!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 5:26PM
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