Question from Denise:
Dear Pat….these are the problems I emailed you about… they have since been cleaned over and jute stapled on….I will send some more current pictures this afternoon when the weather clears…(of the new repairs)
I went to the nursery yesterday and looked at planting materials…not too much that I found attractive. I did like a form of cyanothis sp? I have a photo of that on my cell phone, but not sure how to send it…..would that work? they had some of the acacia redolens, it looked tall and I am not sure how we would be able to maintain it…I value your opinion and did like the look of the ivy…..would love something that has a light and rambling feel….this is actually my parent’s home…my dad passed away and my mom is in her late eighties….so I am trying to get this thing done for her…..
Answer from Pat:
If you wish me to see photos, kindly send them attached to email, not as sites I need to join or access. I simply don’t have time.
Ceanothus is a great plant to use for holding a bank but does not quickly grab soil. Native plants may die unless the planting is done correctly. (Roots of ceanothus can easily break at planting time. It can also die from root rot.) Plants must be good ones and the roots must not be in the cans too long. Wrong varieties won’t do well. I have planted ceanothus on my property 3 times. The third time was the charm because of the variety. ‘Concha’ is about the easiest to grow, in my opinion, but it takes some time to become established.
On the other hand, Acacia redolens is a cast iron plant. (I thought that was what you wanted.) Many wholesale nurseries carry ‘Low Boy’ and ‘Desert Carpet’, so any good retail nursery can order either one of them. These varieties of Acacia redolens need no pruning whatsoever. They stay low and compact. Do not purchase any other kind of Acacia redolens. You are correct: other types are too tall, but the varieties I suggested are low and spreading and they grab ground pretty quickly. Here is a photo of Acacia redolens ‘Desert Carpet’ from the website of Starr Nursery and Mountain States Wholesale Nursery.
Of course, there are many other plants you could use also. If you prefer to choose something else, my recommendation is that you purchase a copy of “Sunset Western Garden Book” and consult the list of ground cover plants on pages 94 to 97 in the Plant Selection Guide. Look up each one of these plants in the encyclopedia section of the book and study their uses, requirements, benefits, and drawbacks. No plant is perfect and none of them fit every need. Sometimes you have to make compromises and choose something less good looking for practical reasons. When you have gone through this list and studied all these plants, you may agree with me that Acacia redolens ‘Low Boy’ or ‘Desert Carpet’ is perhaps your best option, but then again you might find something else, such as prostrate rosemary or something else entirely or a mix of plants, such as I have recommended to other gardeners who have steep banks and want a lot of color. There is nothing easier, for example, than a mix of Lantana ‘Radiation’ and Plumbago ‘Imperial Blue’ on a steep slope in full sun. You requested something without color, so in your case I did not suggest these two shrubs which are among the best and easiest plants to grow on a sloping bank and hold up the soil.
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