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Planting on a Sunny Slope

Posted by aloha2009 5 (My Page) on
Thu, Mar 15, 12 at 22:30

Since I've already started several other threads, what will one more hurt :)

With several suggestions, I've got some great ideas for one of the planters (17 x 17 x 25' triangular curved) on one side but the other may be tricky. I've got 20gal Austrian Pine and a Hawthorne tree about 20' away from that. The neighbor has a cottonwood (and it's subsequent roots) that shades the area towards the end of the day. So the area can best be described as sloped (about 10 steps high), sunny, with cottonwood roots to contend with.

With the one side beautiful, I feel compelled to do something decent to the other side. It doesn't have to be as "glamourous" but I don't want it to just be one extreme on one side and another on the other side. We'll frequent the area a lot during the summer but the rest of the year it will go largely ignored.

I've read coneasters can be good but it sounds like they look their best in the winter. Something that would do well in the sun and shade (some day) would be nice but I'm not against it just being good enough for the next 10 years. I don't want to break the bank having to get a few hundred starts so the area fills in, in a few years. Having a summer bloom would be ideal.

How do you think yarrow, daylilies or iris would fill in? Someone suggested salvia, which I've never had but would love to get some.

My last yard was full of shade, so all these sunny areas have me scratching my head. Thanks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Planting on a Sunny Slope

A sunny slope says alpines to me, but your idea sounds good too.
Don't forget wildflowers can fill a spot until other things fill it in.

RE: Planting on a Sunny Slope

My Iris do really well on my south facing slope. Most of the summer, it's dry, and they almost never get any shade. I have them stationed on the outside of my fence, next to the posts. In the fall, after they are done blooming... I try to divide them up, so eventually every fence post should have its own clump of Iris.

Also on my south facing slope, with NO SHADE - ever...the lilacs (surprisingly) bloom consistently every spring. Even despite the occasional spring frosts that can take them off guard. My Sage, Catnip, and Thyme do okay there too... with the bonus that the smell really good. For later blooms in the susan's always show up. Same with the California poppies, sedums, pansy's - many of those plants can reseed themselves every year.

I get 320 days of sunshine anually...but at this altitude, that sunshine is potent. Often, plants that typically thrive in full sun will FRY on my south facing slope. Even the grass dies if it gets too dry in the summer. Finding things that can survive there can be a challenge...but anything drought tolerant has the best odds.

Other than that... adding a new layer of compost to the entire slope every year has worked wonders. Besides that, everything growing on my south slope gets surrounded by a fast draining mulch too... (except the pine trees, and in some cases...spaces where I'm intentionally trying to encourage erosion, etc.) Without that protective layer of mulch, whatever bare soil does not erode away by August... takes on the consistency of hard baked pottery, which is no fun to work with.

Just some ideas...


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