What rolls down stairs?

If you will recall, last time we had just removed a Douglas-fir from our backyard. This opens up a lot of new sunny space in our backyard that is prime habit for sun loving, drought tolerant plants. First, to move those logs…

A log that rolled down the stairs?
What rolls down stairs, alone or in pairs?

That was an accident. It gouged out some of the wood on the way down the stairs. These were very, very heavy. Once they get rolling, they are sort of hard to control. The rest went rolling down the slope further North, into a barrier of smaller logs to keep things contained. Here is about 1/3 of the logs later that evening.

Yes, I counted the rings. Looks like the tree was about 100 years old.

The Arctostaphylos and Ceanothus that I left in place during the tree removal continue to thrive. Glad they made it through the ordeal undamaged. And, now that I am watering this area, there are new leaves emerging of other plants that got stomped down, mainly columbines (Aquilegia chrysantha) and penstemons.

Placing plants to see where I want them to go. That’s a Pittosporum divaricatum in the container in the middle of the picture. Comparing to the last post with pictures from mid-July, I am struck by how much more brown the grass is now and how drought stressed the salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) in the background look. They have turned yellowy-green and have started to drop their leaves. It is so dry here.

The plan is to make this a drought tolerant garden that will need minimal, if any, watering. We’ll see what that ends up meaning. I thought I had been planting drought tolerant plants all along, but this summer has shown me that I have a long ways to go yet.

One of the plants that I propagated last year was this 6 inch pot of Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius ‘Silver Jubilee’. This plant has done great in another part of the garden without any supplemental watering whatsoever. It’s a fantastic, slow growing, silvery plant, so I am planting it where we can see it from the dining room window.

A cute little Ozothamnus grown from cuttings taken in 2020
Ozothamnus rosmarinifolius 'Silver Jubilee'

Another plant that is going into this area is Callistemon ‘Wetland’s Challenged Mutant’ that I bought from Xera Plants. I couldn’t resist after Paul Bonine described the flowers as having a sweet scent. Not sure I am doing the right thing here, but I am planting into an old, gigantic, decaying stump. As you can tell from the picture, there is a lot of dry, rotted wood. I’ve added a 5 gallon bucket of hard clay clumps and mixed that in. No idea if this will work or not, but the area covered by this old stump is huge and I want to grow plants there. Hopefully, Callistemon like the nurse log treatment and hopefully I can keep it watered enough until it is established.

Callistemon planted in an old, rotted stump
Callistemon 'Wetland's Challenged Mutant'

This plant I blame on Loree Bohl over at the Danger Garden blog. It’s one of the agaves (Agave bracteosa ‘Calamar’) that she has had overwinter in her Portland, OR garden for many years, so now I am going to give it a try. I’m not gonna lie. I have my doubts. I’ve tried several agaves before in my rock garden and they have all broken my heart by melting during the winter. Our winters tend to run a little colder and wetter than Portland because we are a weentsy bit higher in elevation and a little closer to The Coast Mountains. I did break off a few pups and pot them up in the greenhouse as insurance.

Freshly planted Agave bracteosa 'Calamar'.
Agave bracteosa 'Calamar'

Next up, a bunch of plants from Dancing Oaks Nursery. Pelargonium sidoides, which I love for the leaves.

Silvery leaves of Pelargonium sidoides
Pelargonium sidoides

The flowers are pretty too.

Deep, dark red flowers of Pelargonium sidoides
Pelargonium sidoides

Yucca rostrata ‘Sapphire Skies’. This is a very small, young plant. Let’s see how long it takes to grow big enough to get a trunk!

Blue green leaves of a young Yucca rostrata
Yucca rostrata 'Sapphire Skies'

Flying Dragon trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata ‘Flying Dragon’.

Twisty stems on a Flying Dragon trifoliate orange
Poncirus trifoliata 'Flying Dragon'

Someone that lived here beforehand was a pig. Hundreds of shards of broken glass, bones, oyster shells, rusted nails, various other pieces of junk. Here is a small sampling. It’s one of the reasons I wear gloves while working in the soil around here.

Trash found while planting the new area

Well, hope you enjoyed the journey so far. I am going to keep planting and see what makes it through the winter. Hope it begins to rain soon so I don’t have to keep watering all of the new plants every couple of days. They say Fall is the best time for planting.

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