Fine-Tuning Winter Planting Plans

I've been walking around the garden muttering to myself lately, mostly trying to figure out where I'm going to plant the things I have ordered for this fall and winter. It is distinctly possible, though of course unlikely, that I might not have room for everything. This garden is huge, but I do want to be careful to keep spaces open for things like the dog pond and major trees. I hate moving plants.

So, of course, one of my first plans for this winter is to move the Mme. Alfred rose from the side fence, where I now realize it will cause mayhem, to the back fence, which has been getting more sunlight than I remembered, and where it can help with a minor security issue we've had since the laundromat closed this spring.

Back garden planting

Other things you can see in the picture: I have a Psorlea pinnata that I plan to put in front of what will be the chicken yard. This is a South African large shrub with pretty pea-shaped blue flowers. It's turned into quite the pest in Australia but is just fine here, where it tends to stay where you put it. Not that it has anywhere to go, given that it would have to get through downtown Oakland to get to any sort of real wilderness.

I think I killed the manzanita. If so, I will buy another one. That heat was a real bear, especially because it happened while I was still at school.

I originally was going to plant a fig tree by the dog pond. But common sense prevailed (figs in the pond?), as did my love of figs, so the fig tree will go closer to the house, and something else will go there. Maybe a western redbud, because I'm starting some seeds this fall.

I also decided to plant another brugmansia along the side wall, near the blueberries. I want to put a little bench back there, and scented trees are nice by benches. I ordered a couple buddleia for that area, too.

Also: note the small amount of grass that will actually be staying. And check out my excellent cardboard boat. I raced that across a swimming pool two years ago, and I can't figure out what to do with it. Funeral pyre?

Here's a view you won't often see right now: looking out to the front from the strawberries. There's just not much there, and what there is is mostly the neighbor's plants. This winter, I want to put up a set of trellises to hold kiwis and passionfruit vines. That's four vines (both need pollinators) that tend to be vigourous. But I do have 25 feet of pathway to put them on.

Side yard

Some minor notes: more apples this year (we're not 100 percent on varieties, but definitely Cox's Orange Pippin), and I ordered some daylilies, even though they do not excite me. I have been assured I will love them. I am giving them a chance.

The big thing you can see here and in the next image is the rainwater percolation basin I've been designing. One of my goals is to have zero runoff from the site: all water that falls on the property or rises into the basement will stay here. That's not so easy when you have a lot of rain that falls all in three months, so I decided to dig a pit, line it with permeable paving materials, and let the water collect there while it percolates back into the ground.

I may end up building more than one. Actually, I almost definitely will be building several of these. If everything works out OK, they will look more like traditional hardscaping than, you know, a percolation pit. When it's not raining/hasn't rained recently, they should just look like a sunken patio or a dozen.

Here's the view into the orchard from the flowering quince. Steps up out of my rainwater catchment, some more flowers, a permanent bed for the strawberries... pretty much basic stuff, expanding on the work we did this year. We also want to plant a fig this year, but again we're still deciding on a variety. There are not enough fig tastings to be found.


I left a lot of room for flowers, on account of my massive seed-starting operation for this winter. I also ordered a bunch of interesting bulbs for fall planting. How many of them will continue to appear after this year I do not know: sometimes we're zone 8 and sometimes we're zone 9, but I'm pretty sure we don't have enough chill to maintain things like tulips.

(I think I also killed the buckeye I was going to plant back there. Easy to get a new one, though. I have some seed for that, too, so I could start my own.)

Also on order this winter are some more dahlias. The dahlias that came up ended up all being the same colour, basically, so I'm ordering some darker ones and some white, a few yellow, and a red. Just to liven things up in there. I love the pale purple/pink thing, but it is a bit monotonous, even for me.

Dahlia bed

The strawberry corn is doing very well. I don't know if I would plant it again, but it has been very gratifying to have it just plain thrive. The birds seem to enjoy pecking at the one ear I've pulled off and given them, too.

And isn't (most of) the lawn looking nice? I overseeded the irrigated part last week, so I've been watering it a little three times a day, which it seems to love. I'm not going to keep even half of the grass we have in the garden, but it does a good job of keeping the weeds down and the Bermuda grass out until I put in the final plantings/hardscape.

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posted by ayse on 08/23/06