More trimming…and planting

Last week we hired a yard service professional to dig up two large clumps of miscanthus in front of our house. Over the weekend, I did a lot of additional trimming and pruning. By Sunday evening, we had several yard waste piles waiting for Monday morning pickup.



Once again I was glad that we don’t have to stuff yard waste into bins, otherwise it would have taken us weeks to get rid of what we accumulated.

The downside of all this work is that the planting strip along the sidewalk looks pretty bleak:


It’s a far cry from what this spot looked like in the summer:


I could have waited another couple of months to cut back the perennials (I usually do it in January or February) but I wanted to see which spots needed filling in so I took care of this chore early.

After I was done chopping things to the ground, I proceeded to do some planting—for me, that’s always the fun part. In total, I managed to get about 25 plants in the ground, many of them from the recent sale at Morningsun Herb Farm.


LEFT: Leucadendron ‘Safari Sunset’. This was a 5-gallon plant from Green Acres Nursery.
RIGHT: Echium wildpretii (right). I planted another Echium wildpretii about 15 feet to the right. These are the volunteer echiums I talked about in this post. As you can see, they survived their extrication.


LEFT: Aloe mutabilis × striata
RIGHT: Epilobium septentrionalis, a California fuchsia (aka zauschneria) with larger and wider leaves than the more common Epilobium canum

I also did some heavy pruning on one corner of the Pittosporum tobira hedge. The sprawling Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha) I talked about in this post used to be just to the left of the hedge.


In the space I created, I planted a Protea susannae which I’d bought as a 4-inch plant at Annie’s Annuals. I love the common name of this lovely South African native: stink-leaf sugarbush. Its leaves, when crushed, release a sulphury aroma, hence the name.


It may not look like much now, but check out the flowers a mature Protea susannae produces!


As you can see in the last photo, I amended our native clay soil with lots of coarse sand and bagged top soil to improve drainage.

Yes, the sidewalk planting strip in the front yard looks a bit bleak right now, but I have high hopes for next year!


  1. After all that hard work it must have felt great being able to plant out all those new goodies! Looking forward to seeing the progress come spring, I'm sure it will look great, if not better than before.

    Oh yes I like the name 'Stink leaf Sugarbush' too!

  2. It really isn't fair that you cut down all of that growth and only have to move it 4'. No bagging, no hauling up or down a hill, no wheelbarrows. I'm also surprised to find you have clay soil, as I assumed all of California had luscious, organic stuff. :-)

    1. Yep, there is a lot of clay soil in the Sacramento Valley. It's great for many plants, just not for the majority of what I grow :-).

  3. I can't believe you really get to just pile it on the curb and all that waste just goes away like magic, is this a Davis thing?

    Love all the plants you put in, the only thing I would have added is a Leucodendron argenteum...just sayin...

    1. Yes, we get to pile "green waste" right on the street. Here are the official rules:

      In our neighborhood, yard waste pickup is Monday, followed by street cleaning on Tuesday.

      I'll pick up a Leucadendron argenteum the next time I see one, I promise :-).

  4. Wow! Just looking at your post makes me tired. You must feel really good and ahead of the game having all of that done already!

  5. I'm trying to get a lot of stuff cut back early too. I want to redo my front bed, some stuff died from being flopped on and it all needs re-arranging and editing. It's hard to get stuff done here now that it's cold, we are having temps down in the 30s at night, mid-40s during the day. I've been going out in the afternoon for about two hours, which means it is slow going.

    Here's hoping both yours and mine look great come spring!


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