First look at planted desert garden
≡ This post continues the coverage of our front yard desert garden project. ≡
Yesterday (Saturday) our high was 87°F. I’m sure this broke all kinds of records. Only a few places in California—like Death Valley and Palms Springs—were hotter than Davis. It looks like our weird winter is morphing into a weird spring.
Undeterred by the unseasonal heat, albeit somewhat affected by it, we set out to plant our new “desert garden.” I felt pressured to get the plants in the ground as quickly as possible. The larger plants were doing OK in their nursery pots, but it was getting increasingly difficult to keep the 4-inch plants I’d purchased from Annie’s Annuals and Morningsun Herb Farm hydrated.
We started out placing the three large anchor plants I’d bought from Village Nurseries (15-gallon containers): Aloe ferox, Aloe ‘Hercules’ and Parkisonia ‘Sonoran Emerald’ (aka ‘Sonoran Emerald’ palo verde). This was followed by the plants in 5-gallon containers and so forth.
With my wife and our good friend Ursula helping, we were able to get everything but the 4-inch plants in the ground before mid-afternoon.
This morning (Sunday), my wife and I planted the 4-inch plants. While there were many more 4-inch plants than 15-, 5- and 1-gallon plants, the process went much faster since there was much less digging involved.
This is what the “desert garden” looks like now:
One plant I’m particularly fond of is this mature Agave macroacantha I was able to obtain from the Landscape Cacti and Succulents Nursery at the UC Botanical Garden in Berkeley. It had been bare root for a while and is in the process of re-rooting. I’ll withhold water for a week or so.
I also couldn’t help notice the similarity in form between this Aloe cameronii…
…and this Agave gentryi ‘Jaws’:
They are planted near each other, and it will be interesting to see how they develop.
Here is a wide-screen panorama of the planted strip:
I’ll add plant names as soon as I have a moment.
I realize that the area doesn’t look finished. Many plants are small, and there is a lot of bare dirt. But all that will change over time, especially as I add rocks for textural accents and top dressing. But the foundation is in place now, and I’m thrilled to have 100+ new plants to watch, observe and blog about!