Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A partly sunny bed of natives

Clumps of Douglas Iris hybrids encircle a currant shrub
The backyard is divided into various collections of plants based on their sun exposure. Some receive full sun, some part sun, and some full shade. Some are on drip irrigation, some are not. Typically these "islands" of plants feature a centerpiece shrub, raised on a berm, surrounded by colorful perennials. 

This particular plant grouping is shaded much of the day by a large avocado tree, but does receive sun at various times of the morning and afternoon. The specimen shrub of the "island" is a 3 year old 'Barrie Coate' pink-flowering currant that begins flowering in January and continues into early April. It is surrounded by several Douglas iris hybrids ranging in color from dark purple to white. These begin flowering in late February and continue to mid April. This space is also shared with two western sword ferns that lie on either side of a bird bath and California polypody plants that appear seasonally from Fall to late Spring. Finally, two 'Point Reyes' groundcover manzanitas are situated inbetween the bird bath and a step stone path. The foliage of the manzanitas is dark green, providing a nice contrast with bright green of the neighborning ferns. The manzanitas are covered with small white/pink flowers in late Winter. This bed of plants is outfitted with drip irrigation for those times of extended drought. I give them 5 minutes of water a couple times a week, just to keep them looking fresher.

Iris douglasiana 'Canyon Snow,' the first of the irises to bloom this year
Western Sword fern, Poystichum munitum

Pt. Reyes bearberry, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi 'Pt. Reyes'
California Polypody, Polypodium californicum
Ribes sanguineum glutinosum 'Barrie Coate' in February

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