top left: a playful surprise from Verbena bonariensis, throwing a dramatic yet delicate exclamation point at the end of the curving retaining wall hedges.

top right: close up of the tangerine wands of
Bulbinella frutescens, softening the chunkier blocks of succulents with grass-like stems.

above: two different moods, spiky succulents jostle for position on the parking strip, and a romantic mix of senecios above the retaining wall .

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Ashbury Heights  
overall idea for site:  customer wanted the large corner garden redone, with attention to keeping dogs out of the parking strip and skate boarders off the retaining wall. I designed the parking strip in an informal style, with tough plants that would eventually crowd together and keep animals (and people) out of the beds.
The area behind the retaining wall was closer to the house, and done in a slightly more formal treatment.

description of site: heavy clay soil, with the parking strip facing east and the rest of the garden facing north on a slope. a partly sunny site frequently hit with wind from the west. These pictures were all taken in late May.

pluses, solutions to challenges: the clay soil retains moisture, both areas get a good amount of sun. Because the area above the retaining wall was less accessible, I was able to use less bulky plants there.


above and left: details of the parking strip. I chose chunky aloes, aeoniums, and agaves (thornless A. attenuata) for their weight and overall forgiving nature. Quick spreading libertia and bulbinella tied the larger plants together, while Californa poppies colonized any bare spots. The dominant color scheme of warm green, orange and maroon, received a complimentary kick of purple from nearby verbenas and senecios .

above the retaining wall: along with a move toward formality, the color palette cools a bit with blues, purples, and pinks, with soft yellow and cream compliments. In the foreground, a wrap around hedge of Escallonia compacta will brighten up with pink blooms just as the senecio and aquilegia fade.  The bright periwinkle Geranium 'rosane' will continue through most of the year.

Another thing I liked about this site was the abundance of other gardens and the ability to borrow elements from them. At far right the white agapanthus echos the creamy Dietes bicolor , and the deep burgundy plum picks up similar colors from the escallonia and several dark loropetalum shrubs just out of site.


above: a favorite late Spring pairing, senecio and aquilegia, echo the earlier colors and shapes of Spring bulbs .

  Dean Ouellette 415-820-1623