Front Parkway (Part 3)

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Looking back at the October posts I wrote on the front parkway project, I am feeling good about how things are progressing. On  October 19th , the weedy grass in the parkway was dug out by men younger and stronger than me. It was a pleasure to watch this part of the project proceed so quickly and painlessly (at least for me). On October 30th, I kicked around ideas on what to do with the now bare 76 foot long by 6 foot wide strip. After a bit of soul searching I decided that I would plant bunchgrasses in and around drifts of cobbles. Both the rocks and the plants would come from other garden beds in my yard. This plan required the least money spent (other than the labor cost, which was well worth it!!), the least new materials brought in to the garden, and hopefully the least about of maintenance during and after the plants get established.

Between a couple of rainy days, I was out there digging out needlegrasses (Nassella species) from the side parkway, and planting them and some new purchases in the front. All was going oh so well.

Needlegrass placed near rock piles and elsewhere. These grasses will spread by reseeding throughout the parkway. 
Even though deergrass (Muhlenbergia rigens) gets large and I was set on using smaller grasses, I couldn’t resist planting just one in the parkway. I will plant more across the sidewalk in the front yard. I bought this plant and the one below at the CNPS – San Gabriel Mts. Chapter plant sale. It came from El Nativo Growers and was beautifully rooted, neither pot bound, nor too small, just perfect.
California fuchsia (Epilobium canum) shows off its bright red flowers in late summer and fall.
Looking pretty bare but it is a start.
While watching from my office window as a neighbor allowed her dog to walk through the itty-bitty new plants, my daughter suggested that it might be a good idea to add a sign to let people know that there are new plants, including wildflower seedlings.

So far so good… but not perfect. Although there is very little bermuda grass resprouting there is a whole lot of weedy grass seedlings and clover coming up. Of course I spread some wildflower seed so I am reluctant to hoe the surface.

I don’t mind the fallen leaves but the sprouting grasses and clover could overwhelm the wildflower seeds.

Yes, Brent (blog: Breathing Treatment), I should have waited with the wildflower seeds and not because they will overgrow the new grasses, but because I have not dealt with the weeds yet. Now, on my way back from jogging, I bend down to pick out a few weed seedlings – kind of overwhelming but it may work out anyway.

The rest of the garden is anything but bare. Roger’s Red grape (Vitis ‘Roger’s Red’) is in full autumnal brilliance, right next to large clusters of bright red toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) berries. Non-native Chinese fringe trees are alight with yellow foliage. Seed heads from California goldenrod sway in the breeze, and baby green seedlings of globe gilia spread through the side parkway. I miss the east coast autumn but love the fall colors of southern California just as much.




Milo standing in the purple three-awn (Aristida purpurea). The awns do not seem to bother Milo but some dogs have problems with them getting stuck in their fur, their paws and even their eyes, so exercise caution with dogs and needly grasses.

Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!

3 thoughts on “Front Parkway (Part 3)

  1. Barbara, your Toyon berries look wonderful! Our Toyon is very young, only planted a year ago, but I&#39;m hopeful in the coming years it will bring a splash of red to the garden at this time of year. <br /><br />I like that you planted one deergrass in your new planted bed too. They do have a wonderful presence in the garden, and I may experiment with some soon too. I hope the area

  2. Hi Clare. Not to worry, your toyon will be great in just a few years. The ones in that picture were planted in Feb. 2007. By the time they were 2 – 3 yrs old they were looking great, full of berries. First year or 2 is slow, though.

  3. It&#39;s always a funny surprise to unexpectedly find your name in print. Thanks for acknowledging my suggestion, even though I had the wrong rationale! <br /><br />I don&#39;t mind being wrong so long as I learn from it, so I&#39;ll keep your experience in mind when I plant my garden.

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