plant suggestions for socal cottage garden?

slowjane CA/ Sunset 21May 31, 2014

hi all -

i'm struggling with our tiny backyard and found everyone's pictures here very inspirational! i posted over in landscaping but seems like often the concerns over there are on a much larger scale.

since moving here last summer we've put up new redwood fencing, installed a 9' square patio for a table, and gotten two 4'x4' veggie gardens going. i'm landscaping the front yard with all ca natives - ceanothus, mallow, buckwheats etc. so i'm interested in natives but also willing to wander in the backyard. there is a huge orange tree whose canopy covers half the yard.

it gets a lot more sun back here during the summer - so my pretty baby's tears i'd tucked around the patio and between walkways promptly shriveled, though the creeping thyme is hanging on...

what are some climate appropriate/somewhat drought tolerant plants to consider to get that cottage look? looking forward to your suggestions!!

our new fence with ugly dry dusty dirt....

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Lilyfinch z7 mid tn

Hi jane !
What a nice garden space you have ! I love the seating area . I personally have no idea how your garden zone is. But some plants that I know are drought tolerant and look great in a cottage garden are lavender , salvias , and sedums. Also grasses are very pretty ! How does honeysuckle do for your area? I am particularly fond of gold flame honeysuckle . I also just got a plant of Florida honeysuckle from brushwood . Hasn't bloomed yet but I'm looking forward to it .
Have you heard of Santa Rosa gardens ? They have a lot of great plants to look at online I think you may love. Also sign up for their emails, they have lots of great sales. don't forget your local nursery , they will really help! Please share pics with us as you go ! We love pictures here. ( at least , I do ! ).

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 10:13AM
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Lavendar is a good idea. I would also do rosemary (just because I don't live in California anymore, and that is what i miss being able to grow easily!). You could do a whole herb area between the veggies and the patio. Nasturiums grow well in all that sun (not a perennial, but easy to grow from seed). California poppies are lovely, and come in several varieties besides just the bright orange.

Do you know Annie's Annuals and Perennials? They have a lot of California natives. I love looking at their catalog because they show really pretty plant combinations.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 11:57AM
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slowjane CA/ Sunset 21

Thanks for the suggestions! I bought several penstemons and silver falls dichondra to start with. How about Black-eyed Susan - Thunbergia - ?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 4:31PM
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Hi Slowjane!! I am fellow SoCal cottage gardener. My penstemons tend to look very pretty the first year and then get rather dissembled looking and bloom less. I may be doing something wrong.

In addition to Annie's Annuals, which is in NorCal, there is also Digging Dog. They have some great California natives. Rolling Green is pricey but they have got terrific plants; never found a pest on one. Matilija Nursery has the most wonderful plants; they are up in Moorpark.

So here are my winner plants: Black eyed Susan does very well here. My thunbergia grows like a demon but refuses to bloom; my neighbors' looks heavenly. I can not explain this. Favorites in my cottage garden: California native lupines (no water.) Echiums of all varieties. All the milkweeds native to California and Mexico do great. Coreopsis do very well. I've never gotten anything but the plain old pink coneflowers to grow, but those ones do very nice. Cosmos do respectably with a little water. Four o'clocks need a bit of water but not a lot. If you don't mind watering a bit and you have dry shade, fuchsias do well here. Any and all salvias tend to be quite enthusiastic and the hummers like them. Tansy get spectacular here but comes and goes. Vinca is quite pretty and self-sows, but I think it's labeled as invasive and you are not meant to plant it. (Mine came with the house. I tear out some, leave some.) All my sedum are happy with very little water.

With irises: if i buy them locally, they do fine. If I buy them elsewhere, they croak. The same is true of daylillies. I have my garden set up in 'water' and 'no water' zones so I can have the flowers I love so much but I can make the water conservation folks happy, too. I justify the roses by conserving water elsewhere.

I have a succulent garden I have created by using leftover succulent bouquets. They've become all the rage, and I work at USC where they have these all over. So when events are done, I beg for one or two of the arrangements, take the plants home, stick them around, see what lives and dies and looks good. It's quite random and lovely and it's been cheap! Most succulents you can just stick in the ground.

I think one should always grow rosemary by the garden gate.

This post was edited by DrPekeMom on Mon, Jun 23, 14 at 0:18

    Bookmark   June 22, 2014 at 8:43PM
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