Below the Bridge
The January weather this year was accommodating enough that an early re-start on the hillside garden proved too tempting to turn down.
|"Cut and fill" in the unfinished hillside garden|
The front garden has a roughly "S" shaped path that meanders down the hillside. The dirt path in the bottom left is on top of "fill" from the "cut" to the right.
|Below the bridge - rough grading for the dry creek|
|For posterity - the "before" shot.|
|A few days later - more rocks arrive|
|During the first weekend of work|
After the palettes of material arrive there's always a fun discovery phase where I see what exactly I have to work with this time around.
|Afternoon in February, 2022|
With no rain for some time the ground is already turning color. Normally this is our rainy season and while I appreciate the beautiful weather this means the ground may dry out earlier this year.
Most of the rock at this point is fairly well spread out across the hillside to help with the process of picking and choosing just the right piece.
I've been using some ledge stone for a tighter, more finished look in this area of the garden. This will eventually act as informal seating wall at the back of a garden forecourt.
By mid March the wall has been completed.
The area between the wall and the sidewalk will be covered with a layer of crushed drain rock which will act as the subsurface for the forecourt.
|Getting started on bottom of the crevice garden|
Unfortunately I don't have the best rock for a crevice garden; it feels too blocky. I'm hoping that once I layer in place smaller rocks, gravel and plants that the final look will improve.
|The "crevice garden" also serves as an edge to the dry creek.|
This part of the hillside will form a rocky outcrop intersected by the seating wall. The goal is to make the outcrop feel as though it's a naturally occurring formation which was cut away in order to make room for the wall and patio.
|Seating wall intersecting a rocky outcrop|
The garden's structure introduces obstacles that encourage
visitors to walk a path of least resistance and experience the space at a slower pace. The boulders also perform a practical task - retaining
the hillside and preventing future erosion. All the cut and fill work
and addition of these rocks has changed the flat plane of the hillside
into a roughly curvilinear mass punctuated at points with "bump outs"
and alcoves. Hopefully this introduces a sense of discovery.
|~95% of the rock in place|
|Crevice Garden in the afternoon light|
|Salvia nemorosa "East Friesland"|
Like many gardener's out there I've been a fan of Kenton Seth's since first stumbling on his blog a few years back. I've drawn inspiration from pics I've seen of his crevice garden work and tried to create my own version (with a modified plant palette).
|Salvia "Lyrical Rose"|
|Salvia africana-lutea (Brown Salvia)|
I'm generally excited to introduce more drought tolerant grasses in the garden as well. The above Pennisetum ("Slender Veldt Grass") is native to South Africa so I'm hoping it does well in our Northern California climate.
The young Agave pedunculifera (above on left) are toothless, soft agave with flexible spines which are largely harmless. It's become one of my favorite plants on the hillside because it's tough but still has a graceful form and green color which soften the garden.
I'd planned on finishing the crevice garden and dry creek with this post but other tasks always seem to pull me in different directions. It will eventually be finished - likely bit by bit!