I've published prior posts on the development of my back garden and my north side garden. This post provides an overview of the development of my south side garden, which we transformed over time from an area dominated by lawn to a drought-tolerant landscape punctuated by succulents.
Once again, I discovered I'd taken no wide shots of the area during the first two years in residence here. However, I retrieved a photo off the internet via an old real estate listing.
|I'm guessing that this photo was taken in either 2009 (when the house was first listed) or 2010. We acquired the property in December 2010.|
|I took this photo on February 3, 2013|
|My husband built a short concrete block wall (visible on the left) to level the bed. I supplemented the soil and planted Festuca glaucus, Helichrysum petiolare, Loropetalum chinense, Pericallis, and Argyranthemum, among other things.|
|In August 2013, we started removing the lawn between the small side patio and the narrow south border containing the preexisting shrubs|
|I actually created a detailed plan for the area, showing a flagstone path surrounded by creeping thyme, shrubs, grasses and flowering perennials. Some of the plants identified in the plan were never installed.|
|View of the newly planted beds from the side patio looking south. The multi-trunked Arbutus 'Marina' shown in the background was eventually removed when half the tree died.|
|This is another photo of the newly planted area, also taken at the end of November 2013. I see just one Agave, a 'Blue Glow' (bottom, far left).|
There were very few succulent plants in the mix installed in 2013. That slowly changed between 2014 and 2016.
|In March 2014, we removed another large stretch of grass, extending the small bed surrounding the backyard fountain all the way to the garden's south side, connecting it to the bed adjacent to the south patio|
|Photo taken in early November 2014 looking east|
|This photo taken in late May 2015 shows the addition of more succulents on each side of the flagstone path. State-wide water restrictions were put in place in 2015 in recognition of severe drought conditions.|
By 2017, the southernmost bed had more clearly become established as a succulent garden.
|This photo, taken in June 2017, shows three Agave medio-picta 'Alba' pups I received from Gail of Piece of Eden in 2016, as well as three Hesperaloe parviflora 'Brakelights' I'd added as small plants in late 2014|
|This photo, taken April 1, 2018, had me asking myself why I haven't continued to plant large swaths of the red-flowered Lotus berthelotii 'Amazon Sunset' along the walkway from the south-side patio bed around the curve into the back garden|
|This photo, taken in May 2019, shows how large the three "dwarf" Agonis flexuosa 'Nana' shrubs adjacent to the side yard patio had become since they were planted in 2013|
|This August 2019 photo shows the mimosa tree in the distance in the back yard, when it still looked somewhat presentable. (It was removed in October 2020 after shot-hole borers contributed to its rapid decline.)|
In 2020, the bed closest to the patio got a renovation of sorts.
|In January, I cut the overgrown Agonis flexuosa 'Nana' back hard and planted a mix of small succulents, mostly Aeoniums, along the patio's edge|
|June 2020 view of the south side garden with the focus on the plants making up the back border. Salvia clevelandii 'Winnifred Gilman' was in full bloom at the time.|
That brings me to the garden's current state.
|This photo was taken at the end of June. That scrawny tree in the background on the right bugs the heck out of me. It sits on the property of a neighbor on a nearby spur road.|
|This photo looking east, also taken at the end of June, reflects the prominence of the Agaves (and indicates that I should probably be pruning the Agonis shrubs on the right on an annual basis)|
More than perhaps any other area of my garden, I think the south side area most clearly reflects my gradual response to our hotter summers, punctuated at intervals by blistering heatwaves, and the pervasive drought conditions. While I still appreciate the lush look the area had back in 2014, it's clear to me that many of those original plants couldn't have survived the intense sun exposure here, especially on a low water regimen.
All material © 2012-2021 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party