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Shrubbery reccomendations needed

Posted by peachymomo Ca 8 (My Page) on
Tue, Jul 23, 13 at 13:01

It's looking like I might get to have the dry creek installed in my backyard sooner than I was expecting, thanks to my generous father. Which has me thinking about what I will plant around it when it's done. There will be two different zones for planting, the east-west stretch is just to the north of our neighbor's large redwood trees so it gets more shade and it will also be where the majority of the water will be draining through. The north-west stretch along the back of the property is closer to the oaks, gets more sun, and has fewer problems with drainage. In the corner where the two meet I plan on having a dry well/rain garden to allow water to collect and percolate down into the ground.

Here a photo taken looking down the length of the east-west fence, the dry creek kind of got started just to get gutter water moving away from the house a little while ago.
 photo backyard004.jpg

This one is looking towards the corner where the rain garden will be.
 photo backyard002.jpg

You can see in the second picture where the most privacy screening is needed, I'd like evergreen shrubs that get 12-15' tall and thrive in shady conditions with occasional flooding. I'd also like to add some shorter plants in front, and possibly some small trees in places for interest. I don't mind giving the plants near the redwood trees some supplemental water, but the ones that are going to be planted closer to the oaks I would like to be able to stop watering once they are established. My other desire is for plants that will make good habitat for birds and other critters, ideally I want a mixed hedgerow that serves to create privacy, beauty, and shelter for wildlife.

Suggestions, please?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

Clearly you live in NorCal.

(Miss the redwoods.)

Whenever I need plant materials inspiration, I turn to Houzz:

http://www.houzz.com/%22Northern-California%22-plants-shrubs

There is also a smaller Ideabook on Houzz for Northern California plant combinations:

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant Combinations - Northern California Gardens


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

Yes, I live in the North Bay near Santa Rosa. I think the sticking point is the dry creek, I can't plant just any shrub because it has to be suited to somewhat riparian growing conditions. Maybe I can find a list of plants to use in California rain gardens...


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

Peachy,

This might get you somewhere:

RAIN GARDENS: Practical and Beautiful
(Sonoma County - UC Sonoma Master Gardeners)

Recommends plants:
"...use as many native Northern California plants as possible, or compatible Mediterranean plants with similar cultural requirements. Here are a few suggestions: goldenrod, several buckwheats, purple coneflower, various salvias, native ornamental grasses, phacelia, milkweed, island bush snapdragon, blanket flower, butterfly bush, pitcher sage, seaside daisy, yarrow, checkerbloom, verbenas, catmint, ornamental and culinary oreganos, rosemary, lavender, santolina, California poppies and other native wildflowers, and bulbs, to name just a few."

Another link:
Top Plants for Sonoma County
http://ucanr.edu/sites/scmg/Top_Plants_for_Sonoma_County/

;-D

Here is a link that might be useful: RAIN GARDENS: Practical and Beautiful


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

Yes, I've read that article on the Master Gardener's website. But I've looked for California natives that are evergreen, shade tolerant, and grow up to 12'-15' tall, and I haven't had any luck yet. CalFlora nursery has Evergreen Huckleberry, which can grow up to 8' given the right conditions and plenty of time, but I'm hoping for something larger. It seems like most California native shrubs that get large require more sun than I have in this spot. Hollyleaf Osmanthus is not native but will tolerate shade and get tall enough, I'm not sure if it will thrive beside a dry creek though. I was also considering using an evergreen viburnum, since some of them tolerate shade. I did another search for large, evergreen, shade tolerant shrubs and I found these possibilities: Cocculus laurifolius, Calycanthus occidentalis, Ilex crenata ‘Sky Pencil’, Taxus X media 'Flushing', Cephalotaxus fortunei, Rhododendron maximum. Does anyone have experience with any of these plants, and if so do you think any of them would be suitable for a shady privacy screen?


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

Peachy,

I'm not a plant expert. (Just 2D & 3D landscape/hardscape imaging and have worked with *a lot* of contractors. Also, I know how to find things out.)

I would phone someone at the Master Gardener's program and ask. Usually a university has summer staff and can point you in the right direction. Even a horticulture professor might know lots about natives in your area.

Ceanothus (wild lilac) come to mind as a tall (flowering) evergreen shrub that might handle shade. Grows *everywhere* around Ojai, where I live. We have lots of Oaks.


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

Poison Oak grows well in those conditions (heh heh). The rhododendron sounds interesting to me, Peachy. I wonder how long it takes to get big? Calycanthus occidentalis, which I have always wanted, would be my first choice, I think. Waxleaf privet is always there if you can't come up with anything better. I have one growing in full shade, and they will grow with almost no water once established. Sorry I can't think of anything else. For your dry creek bed, you will be able to use Giant Chain Ferns, hummingbird sages, and heucheras, so that will be more fun that picking out the background shrubs.


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

Thanks DJSquire, I'll give the Master Gardeners a call if I can't make up my mind from a bit more trolling online... There are a few plant experts on this forum, and I'm hoping that one or more will chime in.

Like Hosenemesis, thanks!

Poison oak, eh? I've never seen a poison oak privacy screen, and I hope that I never do...

After doing further research I saw that Rhododendron maxiumim, being native to the East Coast, requires constantly moist soil, so not very good for us here. However Rhododendron macrophyllum is native to our coastal redwood forests and grows up to 13', so I think it would be good to use as an accent shrub. I think all large rhododendrons take a long time to achieve their mature size though, so not really ideal to be the backbone of the privacy screen. I also read that Calycanthus occidentalis is deciduous, so it will be another accent shrub that I add. I'm thinking I'll probably plant a line of privet to get privacy and then add other things in front for interest.

I definitely agree that the dry creek is going to be the fun part of the project, less restrictions and more change in conditions, from very shady to fairly sunny. I'm so excited to have something to admire in the backyard other than the oaks, it will be wonderful.

Thanks again!


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 1:54

Look at the Las Pilitas site for the native hedges page, they have plant suggestions for that.

One thing with dry creekbeds, if you need to actually walk in the area, make sure you have enough flat stones solidly placed to enable you do do that. Trying to walk on loose river stones can be difficult. And looks like your creek bed will fill with fallen leaves most of the year--is that acceptable?
Just things to think about.

Here is a link that might be useful: native plants for hedges


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

Thanks for the list, I browsed through and saw some very nice plants but unfortunately nothing that tolerates full shade.

The leaves falling into the dry creek will either have to be accepted or DH can blow them out when needed. There is no option for moving the creek or not having it, we really need the grading fixed and there is nowhere else for the water to go because of the oak trees and septic tank leech lines. I've thought about making the creek also serve as a path, but I prefer a wilder look than that allows. There will be plenty of time to change my mind though, we're going to do the project in phases and the decorative rock is going to have to come later.

This post was edited by peachymomo on Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 14:17


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

I suggest thinking over Callicarpa. My neighbor has one and it is beautiful It is in shade most of the day.I think it is about fifteen feet tall. She has not trained it as a tree but I think that would be possible.We have alkaline soil here.


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

Wow! What a beautiful photograph, emmarene. The purple of my dreams.


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

Yes, very pretty! Definitely added to the list of possibilities. Thanks!


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

I have and love Red Tipped Photinias. They grow tall enough for privacy, do terrific in shady and sunny areas of the yard, and tolerate dry and soggy conditions - appropriate for residential landscaping ...unlike the redwoods.


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

You won't want to use evergreen huckleberry. It takes a couple of years to establish, and grows slowly afterwards. It also needs regular water in the summer and you may need to amend the soil with peat to keep the pH low enough. Unless you're on the coast or in the fog belt, rhododendrons will need regular water from July-September.

Carpenteria california (Bush anemone) is native, evergreen, grows moderately fast, and will tolerate winter flooding. But they'll max out around 9'. Butterfly bush might be a better bet for height and rate of growth (they grow like giant woody weeds), though I don't believe that they'll do well in shade.


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

  • Posted by hoovb z9 Southern CA (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 7, 13 at 1:05

Toyon will take shade. They are all over the place here and perfectly happy as an understory shrub.


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

I am trying Azara Dentata for a shady spot.


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

Thanks for all the suggestions! I'm making a list to take to the nursery, and I hope to be able to start planting fairly soon. I've been super busy lately getting things ready for the big project as well as dealing with work and a couple of different birthday parties. Maybe I'll get a chance to relax and enjoy the results in a month or so...


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 13, 13 at 21:06

Heteromeles arbutifolia, Myrica californica, Garrya elliptica James Roof. Carpenteria californica Eve Case, Rhamnus californica, Cornus stolonifera, Acanthus mollis or A. spinossisima, Aralia cordata and A. californica, Aucuba japonica, Choisya ternata Sundance, Pittosporum tobira variegata, Leycesteria formosana, Calycanthus californica, Darmera peltatum, Nandina domestica, Fatsia japonica are all shade tolerant, alternating wet/dry accepting plants that are good for dry shade and screening purposes.Some. like the Myrica may be prone to thrips and spider mites under drought stress. I'd also suggest you look at older copies of Sunset Western Garden Book that list shrubs/small trees for shade and drought and natives and cross-reference for your conditions. The plant lists from the 1960's version are much more extensive than more recent revisions IMO.


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

  • Posted by bahia SF Bay Area (My Page) on
    Tue, Aug 13, 13 at 21:07

Heteromeles arbutifolia, Myrica californica, Garrya elliptica James Roof. Carpenteria californica Eve Case, Rhamnus californica, Cornus stolonifera, Acanthus mollis or A. spinossisima, Aralia cordata and A. californica, Aucuba japonica, Choisya ternata Sundance, Pittosporum tobira variegata, Leycesteria formosana, Calycanthus californica, Darmera peltatum, Nandina domestica, Fatsia japonica are all shade tolerant, alternating wet/dry accepting plants that are good for dry shade and screening purposes.Some. like the Myrica may be prone to thrips and spider mites under drought stress. I'd also suggest you look at older copies of Sunset Western Garden Book that list shrubs/small trees for shade and drought and natives and cross-reference for your conditions. The plant lists from the 1960's version are much more extensive than more recent revisions IMO.


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

Many thanks Bahia! Now I've got a really good list, long enough that I don't have to worry if the nursery doesn't have some of the varieties that I want. I can't wait until it's ready for me to post pictures of the finished product.


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RE: Shrubbery reccomendations needed

What about Carpenteria californica? The bush anemone grows in a very limited locale in the Western Sierra foothills near Fresno. It grows naturally along perennial and seasonal creek beds and it is a sight to behold in the spring months when it blooms with hoards of large, papery white blooms. I've seen small strands of it along the San Joaquin River gorge just above the Millerton Lake dam.


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