Thursday, June 11, 2015

Gainer Garden Revisited: Six Years On. Drought resistance has never been so chic.

Eclectic low water garden design, custom wood-working and a well known luminary/artist (walkways) collaborate to create a slice of low water urban chic. This beautiful, thriving garden was first highlighted on our website in 2009 and continues to surprise us.

This garden includes evergreens, natives and drought resistant, low water native grasses demonstrating that "drought resistant" and "low-water" can be creative, modern and ultra-relaxed.

Owner-made benches sit opposite each other, one in full shade and one in part sun.  Neighbors have the option to rest, chat, enjoy the garden, or optimally all of the above.
A mix of native grasses surround one of two beautifully, ornamentally pruned Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn' Manzanita. A Rosemary hedge to the right offers privacy and food for both the homeowner's and the bees.
Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn' Manzanita - 6 years old and recently pruned.

Native grasses surround the feature tree.
Festuca rubra and other native grasses grace the front yard and gives this garden a sense of causal country style.  The homeowner's appreciation for wildlife and water conservation were primary aspects of our garden planning.
A mix of native grasses give this garden a 'meadow look.'
Calamagrostis foliosa (Mendocino Reed Grass) is most happy in part shade.
California natives: evergreen groundcover Salvia sonomensis 'Bee's Bliss' in the foreground (bottom left) and Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn' in the background (top right).
Salvia sonomensis 'Bee's Bliss' (bottom left), Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn (middle), and Lavandula intermedia 'Provence (at bottom of photo)
Plant list includes: Achillea 'Moonshine', Achillea millefolium 'Sonoma Coast', Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn', Calamagrostis foliosa (Mendocino Reed Grass), Epilobium/Zaushneria 'Lavandula intermedia 'Provence', Salvia sonomensis 'Bee's Bliss'

An orange flowering native plant, Epilobium/Zauschneria 'Everett's Choice' (California Fuchsia), makes an ideal, low-growing groundcover.  Flowers can be seen from early April through June, and again in the Fall.
A large Blue Agave was removed in May 2015 and in replacement were Agastache 'Orange Nectar' (Hummingbird Mint), Achillea millefolium 'Sonoma Coast' (Yarrow), and Calamagrostis foliosa (Mendocino Reed Grass).
The Agastache provides nectar for hummingbirds & bees from April through October, while the Arctostaphylos provides nectar for them from January through early May. Just wait until the hummingbirds find these! Party time!
UPDATE: Photo taken on February 9, 2016 - "This six year old Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn' blooms from late January through February."
"This six year old Arctostaphylos densiflora 'Howard McMinn' is highlighted by a sea of green underfoot. Native grasses are constantly changing with the seasons; brown panicles and seedheads in the summer and fall, are now replaced with a robust native grass lawn."
"I'm so pleased with the look and feel of our front garden. The plants suit the land, and will be a friendly habitat for bees, birds and us too. Thanks T & P for bringing California back to our garden."
M. Gainer, homeowner.
Citrus trees screen the once empty space between two driveways and provide fruit to both homes and neighbors alike.