1. Disposable plants that are inappropriate for our weather are purchased and planted en masse.
2. They aren't watered enough, and wither and die.
3. GOTO 1.
Slowly I've been trying to introduce drought tolerant (and California native, when possible) plants to our garden, along with removing the things that really ought not to be there. This has been going very well so far - well enough that we had a lot of Mexican feather grass and lavender volunteer seed itself this summer and start to flourish. Yay!
Today's project was to dig up a bunch of the extras of these plants and relocate them to the newest area of the yard we're tackling. It's a neglected strip of sunny, dry earth that used to hold a couple large bushes that had to be removed this summer. Before the school year it was planted with a ton of placeholder zinnias and impatiens by the landscaping service so as to look Good for the First Day of School; those are starting to die off and/or been feasted upon by slugs.
However, I'm filling in the gaps. In the last week, we installed the afore-mentioned relocated lavender and feather grasses, as well as nursery purchased dark star ceanothus, penstemon, blue fescue grass, wall germander, and Santa Barbara daisies. Although there's still a lot of space between plants, I'm hoping for good growth. It's amazing how much more appropriate these plants look than disposable Home Depot color spots! And, of course, the joy that the children take in helping to plant these new additions is constant. Now, they will happily explain that these plants need a lot less water than the old plants, and anyone who has helped put something in the ground will remember and point out EXACTLY which plants they placed!
We have also been experimenting with a succulent garden - one particularly sunny section of the yard is ideally suited for these little plants, and I've taken to collecting offsets or cuttings whenever the opportunity rises. You can't beat free plants, especially if you're a school. I think the only problem with these is that they are attracting so much of the children's love that it's hard to convince them not to OVERwater.
Next week: Wine barrel planting in the elementary, Primary raised bed sowing, and anti-squirrel technology. Plus: Photos? Almost certainly!