Building My Garden: Part 6 – Finishing Up the Mediterranean Beds

Since the garden bed expansion project I have been slowly planting and finishing off the various beds.  I’ve been taking my time because I am busy and also kind of wiped out.  I’ve done a lot of work on this garden and think it looks pretty good considering it was only started in February.

The mediterranean garden is now made up of two long beds.  The large one near the street and the narrower one along the chain link fence.  I am hoping I will get the drip irrigation and mulch down and finish the path with decomposed granite some time this month.  We’ll see how much energy and money I have.

The entire planted part of the yard is approximately 70 x 40 feet. It’s a pretty good size.  In the fall I hope to expand the garden further with the side yard which is also 70 x 40 feet.

Over the course of the next year these plants should fill in enough so that barely any soil is visible.

The only things that remain unplanted are the backyard bed of shrubs and odds and ends.  Frankly I’ve just been too tired to tackle this and needed to give my back a break.  But I’m getting sick of looking at it and may try to get it started tomorrow.  Some Salvia, and Grevillea, and a Cotinus coggygria ‘Golden Spirit’ will be the stars of this bed along with a few different Ozothamnus that I am trying out (since I know nothing about them).

I’ve planted many lavenders in the expanded medit beds including several different cultivars of Lavandula stoechas like ‘Willow Vale’ and ‘Boysenberry Ruffles’.

Lavandula stoechas Coco™ Dark Pink is a very unfortunate trademark name. Sadly it seems the cultivar name is L. stoechas ‘Cocdap’ which is just a horrible morph of the trademarked name and not much better.   It is a pretty, compact, dark pink L. stoechas so I guess I’ll put up with the generic name that is meant to appeal to the broader public.

Berkheya purpurea

I first saw this plant in Beth Chatto’s gravel garden but it wasn’t quite blooming yet so I wasn’t sure what it was.  The mystery was solved when Andrew Keys over at Garden Smackdown blogged about it and I recognized it from his photos.  I ordered mine online at Dancing Oaks Nursery and they sent me two for the price of one!  I love free plants!

Artemisia ludoviciana ‘Valerie Finnis’

Early on in my gardening career, my experience with Artemisia on the east coast was that they melted in the heat and humidity of summer.  So I don’t know much about them.  They seem much better suited to my new coastal climate so I am trying out four different types to see how I feel about them.

Artemisia pycnocephala ‘David’s Choice’

This artemisia is a selection of one that is native to coastal California.  It should form a nice low mound but as you can see it has these weird ropey inflorescences so I am not sure how I feel about it.  Maybe it will not be as weird looking once the plant grows a little and they can be pruned out, but pretty much every picture I found online the plant had these weird alien looking blooms flailing about.

Frankenia thymifolia

This is an unusual little groundcover that is sort of like a cross between a thyme and a dwarf conifer.  It has these teeny little pink flowers.  The poor things have been sitting in the ghetto for the past two months and were looking a little raggedy. But they burst into bloom a week or two ago. I finally got them planted today so hopefully they will settle in despite the abuse.

Gaillardia ‘Oranges & Lemons’

I’ve been seeing this Gaillardia on wholesale lists for a while now so decided to grab a few to finish off the edge of the medit bed.  I’m a sucker for anything daisy shaped and the colors are pretty great.  I have a more compact one called ‘Gallo Red’ too.

Another project I finished today was fixing up my seedling nursery.  I wanted to make it a bit more professional looking.  I need to cover the young seedlings with bird netting, but I was using stacks of bricks to hold them up over the plants, which looked awful. I figured I could create some sort of frame with PVC pipe but had no idea how to go about making it.  Just in time, Clare over at Curbstone Valley Farm, saved the day. She posted pictures of a structure that she made with PVC, to create a humidity tent for her grafted heirloom tomatoes. I’m not very handy with tools and building things so the pictures made me feel a bit less insecure.

I started out making a rectangular frame base big enough to contain a dozen nursery flats. I cleared my old nursery bed near the vegetable garden and pulled up all the weeds and then put down weed cloth.

I added four T’s to the frame to create supports to hold up the netting.  Overall a pretty easy experience and much more professional looking.  It also holds the netting higher over the plants to give them a bit of room to grow.  Now I just need to get some PVC snap clamps to hold the netting more securely.

So the garden is coming along.  Hopefully soon I’ll have a post about irrigation and mulch!

5 thoughts on “Building My Garden: Part 6 – Finishing Up the Mediterranean Beds

  1. I’m envious that you’ve visited Beth Chatto’s garden — I’m such a fan of hers.

    And the artemesias are wonderful. I love the way LO smells after a good rain, with A. californica and the sage. Mmmmmmmmm…….

    • Beth Chatto’s garden was actually the entire reason I went to England last year. The Chelsea Flower show and the other dozen or so gardens I visited on the trip were just a bonus.

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I hope you have some underground barrier to curb the Artemesia ludoviciana’s wandering ways…

  3. Looking good! I keep the wierd flowering stalks pruned off the ‘Davids’ choice’, and its keeps the foliage a bit denser, and the plant more tidy looking. Cool plant, ugly flowers! That Valerie finnis can be a thug too, so keep an eye on her!

  4. Looking great! I wish my yard looked like this. Being a 1st time home buyer I have made some mistakes. One of them was spraying weed killer over my grass, as soon as finished I saw a warning not to spray it on grass. I do not have that problem anymore because I killed the grass…. I hope to one day pull out what is left of the lawn and do some type of ‘grass-free’ landscaping. Keep the inspiration coming!

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