Over the years, I continued to focus on the more manageable lower section of the slope, ignoring the ivy and honeysuckle covered area above the stairway.
|The photo on the left was taken in November 2013. The photo on the right was taken this morning.|
Once the giant Yucca elephantipes (visible in the distance in the left-hand photo shown above) was removed in December 2014, creating a flat area on the other side of the lemon tree, I did some work there too.
Until last year, I left the steep upper section of the slope entirely alone. A few months after last July's horrendous heatwave I began slowly chipping away at the dead sections of ivy and honeysuckle incinerated in that event. The uppermost area remained green and, since I couldn't reach further than three to four feet above the concrete stairway anyway, I didn't take my effort any further. I'd only exposed about 30 square feet before the ivy and honeysuckle responded to our substantial winter rain by stretching their vines in an effort to cover the area I'd cleared but the experience was enough to have me pondering what more I could do with the area if I eliminated all or part of those vines for good. This week, I walked my neighborhood, looking for inspiration in what neighbors with front yard slopes have done.
Some approaches were anything but inspiring.
|Artificial turf can be used effectively in some settings but this isn't one of them|
In contrast, the entrance to our neighborhood, largely created using succulent cuttings donated by residents over the course of years, is looking better and better.
|Calandrinia and Echium covers the flat area along the main road outside our neighborhood but ice plant, a scattering of Pelargoniums, and Centranthus add spring color to the east-facing slope while blooming Aloes provide winter color|
The natural area along the street leading from the entrance also offers some ideas, at least if you ignore the mass of weeds.
|I can't identify all the plants arrayed along this area but Yucca and Sumac (native Lemonade Berry, Rhus integrifolia) make up a part of the mix|
Here's a look at the most impressive homeowner efforts.
|Here's a gratuitous close-up of that beautiful Leucospermum. It's funny but until I took these photos, my brain hadn't fully processed the fact that there's also a lot of ivy here.|
|This front slope also has a lot of ivy but the lower section has been cleared since the last time I walked this way so maybe some replanting is planned for the area adjacent to the street. I admired the tall Cordyline midway between the 2 palms.|
Closer to home, our next door neighbor's driveway slope is looking good right now.
And my more moderate front slope isn't looking too shabby either.
While I continue chipping away at the ivy and honeysuckle along my back slope's concrete stairway, I'll consider my options for transforming the upper section of my back slope. The easiest thing to do would be to let those vines reclaim the area, at least until the next summer heatwave burns them to a crisp again, but that's not a particularly satisfying solution. Ideally, I'd like to remove at least half the vines; create a flat path through the mid-section of the slope to allow me work from above the concrete stairway as well as below; and plant the area in-between with a mix of succulents, Pelargoniums, and a shade-tolerant ornamental grass like Sesleria. That's my dream anyway.
Happy dreams to you this weekend!
All material © 2012-2019 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party