This first photo gives you some idea of the conditions these plantings have to contend with…cement on all sides and a steady flow of of traffic (and the heavy pollution that implies) with full sun. Maurice Horn of Joy Creek Nursery worked with Reed to develop and oversee the plan, then worked with volunteers on the installation.
The ginkos at regular intervals were already in place, giving the design some structure from the very start. 2-3″ each of compost and crushed basalt gravel were worked into the soil, a mixture that serves to cut through clay soil and encourage deeper root systems. The plantings were watered during the first two years. Now they are watered with hoses once a year, with some supplemental when the temperatures rise into the 90’s.
As you can see, many of the new plants have reached full size.
Foliage color and texture keep things interesting year-round.
Strategically placed boulders are especially handsome with flowering plants spilling over them.
While flowers are not the main attraction, there are enough of them to brighten the design.
These asters were just coming on.
This crape myrtle was the most dramatic plant of all. I had no idea what it was (none of the plants in the strip are labeled) but HPSO always features a display of blooms contributed by members at every event, so I soon learned that it is Lagerstroemia ‘Arapaho’. I had never seen a crape myrtle with anything other than those Pepto Bismol pink flowers, and had valued it mainly for its fall color. This one is truly stunning, dressed in wine and claret.
This bottle brush shrub contributed in its own quiet way.
Pebble mosaic stepping stones allow workers into the border to perform maintenance chores.
The last time I visited was in the spring, when Ceanothus were blooming their hearts out. This time it looked as if there had been a recent work party to replenish the gravel top dressing and spruce things up.