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  • Writer's pictureJoan Gand

Landscaping the bottom of the canyon

Updated: Aug 22, 2022

We were so fortunate to be introduced to the Melissa of Artistic Arbor Gardens, and her daughter Amanda, irrigation expert and as it turns out, an amazing designer/gardener. After Melissa did a major pruning of all our big trees and shrubs, it was time to work on a large empty area at the bottom of the canyon that used to be a large vegetable garden. Since we knew this area provided drainage when it rains, Melissa and Mandy suggested creating a dry stream with rocks that were already in the canyon . Also, we had quite a collection of fruit trees already, we knew they would do well, so they suggested we make an orchard area on one side of the dry stream. Here's how it looked when we started - a blank canvas!

At this point, the dry stream was created - it took one whole day, but all the rocks came from the canyon! We trusted Mandy's design skills, rarely needing formal plans but she drew up a basic idea of what she had in mind...

As luck would have it, one of their other clients wanted to remove a huge stand of blue agaves. They immediately offered them to us and that became our signature plant!

You can see how dry the canyon looks because it turned out the irrigation was turned off (we didn't know) and then when we turned it on, there were leaks everywhere and low pressure. Mandy came to the rescue over the summer patiently hand watering and repairing the irrigation until it was fully functional.

We then planted an assortment of trees along the far bank of the dry stream including 2 more avocado (1 was there), lemon, 2 fig, 2 pomegranate, and some free banana trees (had 1 already) gifted from a neighbor. Notice how green it looks now that the irrigation is working compared to the photo above.

We are still working on planting more shrubs and ground covers, but the main plantings are in.

The view at the bottom

Just installed 3 new beds of soil, held in with rocks, to plant succulents. We will have these on both sides of the walkway.

Paddle plants along with existing cycad. The succulents came out of our Palm Springs garden.

Canna lily and pink lemonade lemon tree - soil does not drain as well at the bottom of the canyon as on the slopes, so we are learning which plants can thrive there. So far the tropicals are doing the best.

Kahil ginger and banana plant

Slipper plant (Pedilanthus) and blue foxtail agave

New path installed in place of the old, cracked and wobbly one.

Summer of 2021 - starting on hillside plantings of red aloe, mangave "Mission to Mars" and salvia greggii.

Summer 2022 - Added more agave, tecoma, ginger and leucadendron to lower garden

Summer 2022 - Added Bromeliads in bare areas next to the stairs

Spring - 2022 - Succulent garden is filling in nicely!

August 2022 video

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