The Nightmare- aka the hill out back.
I have an impossible goal, I'm sure. I live in the mountains, zone 6 transitioning to zone 7. My little microclimate is more of a zone 7. My property is on a fairly steep slope, acidic soil, mostly clay with veins of sandstone and mica. Once a semi-wooded lot, the previous owners graded the whole thing and then did nothing else. Basically, any good soil there once was is currently enjoyed by the neighbor across the street :)
I'm slowly making progress with my landscaping but the back hill is becoming a problem. There is no way I can put topsoil on it and have it stay put. It's baked in the summer (zone 8 desert plants would be happy) yet blasted with frigid wind in the winter (anything above zone 6 would most likely die). I have tried the rolls of straw mulch with disappointing results.
My eventual goal is to build a garage on one far side of the nightmare and cut a huge retaining wall into what's left. When I say build/cut, I mean pay someone better the me or mine to do so. Not happening anytime soon ;) I don't want to plant anything that can't be removed when that happy day arrives.
My solution thus far was to line the bottom of this nightmare with a row of cinderblock. Once some 'soil' accumulated, I enriched it and planted hardy roses which have humored me thus far. (I still think they gossip about me when my back is turned but they know where the fertilizer comes from.) The cinderblock is on borrowed time, ugly stuff, but that's to be dealt with this fall/winter. I must admit it's done the job in terms of preventing wash-out.
The barren wasteland does have a few native inhabitants- greenbrier, pokeweed, oak, maple, and black locust. (The saplings grow amazingly well to my dismay. As tempted as I am to just let them go sometimes, I do have a house to protect.) There are also a few unhappy clumps of grass, a couple of wild violets, and one brave mountain laurel.
I have sown blanketflowers, other daisy-type flowers, clover, marigolds, and creeping thyme that won't creep. All seem fairly content except for the poor clover- they were an attempt on my part to enrich the 'soil'. A friend gave me some sedum, "You can't kill them if you try!", which I have found to be true but I feel a little sorry for them.
Any suggestions? If reality, I'm willing to try anything that will grow. Ideally, I'd like to plant something that would grow, flower most of the summer, come back each year, and maybe even smell nice. I understand if you're laughing at that!
Since the hill is so steep, it would be safer if I could broadcast seed v/s planting. I'd like to try a few winter-sown seeds this year and then more seeds in the spring. I have no problems with wildflowers- I'm not wanting to landscape the nightmare- I just need to do something before erosion sets in.
I suppose I could have someone hydroseed the nightmare. Has anyone ever tried that?