Pacific Coast Gardening forum: A visit to San Diego for yardwork

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Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
May 12, 2015 1:24 PM CST
I am going for a visit to San Diego to see my DD. I want to help her with her small back yard. The association helps with the front and they can't do little landscaping there. But the backyard is all hers. I have ordered 3 City Planters that are currently on sale at Home Depot. She wants to grow tomatoes and some flowers.

Since they are renting and will only be there for the next 3 years (SIL is in the Navy), they don't want to spend a lot of money. Their dog enjoys what's left of their lawn. Given the watering restrictions there isn't much left of it.

I am coming from lush, tropical Houston area where right now water is not an issue. I would love some ideas on what to plant to make her yard look nice and won't take a lot of water to start off. Apparently they have nosy neighbors who will report them? They get full sun. There is a covered patio that gets some of that afternoon sun, too. She has a hanging gutter-planters on one end of the patio cover growing herbs. I deleted my best picture. But this gives you an idea of the blank slate I have to work with.

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Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
May 12, 2015 6:12 PM CST
Plumeria, Agapanthus, Cycads, Aeoniums, Scheffleras, Adeniums, Yucca, Jade succulents..depends if her location is more inland or to the coast.
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
May 12, 2015 6:24 PM CST
Really, with the severe water restrictions and the fact that coming into summer is the worst time to be planting for needing watering....it's pretty touchy. You may be planting things that she can't maintain, though it would be fun and rewarding to make things look nice.....
I just left the San Diego area a year and a half ago and things are worse there now....
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
[Last edited by wcgypsy - May 12, 2015 6:25 PM (+)]
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
May 12, 2015 7:03 PM CST
If she is close to the water, things may fare better, but if in the hills ??? San Diego is a large , sprawling city with lots of micro climates. All of the nurserys are well stocked with low water plants now, but those plants need water for at least a full season to get established. It also has to be dog friendly. Potted plants are not the way to go if water is the issue, but in ground plants will stretch the budget for a military family, if we're talking perennials. Annuals are always water hogs. I like Tarev's list, if you can start with small, or donated plants. San Diego is in Sunset zone 24, so almost anything that doesn't need winter chill will grow there because of the ocean influence.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
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tarev
May 13, 2015 11:31 AM CST
You can also consider Gaillardias, lantanas, bougainvilleas, chlorophytum comosum, lavender. As mentioned already by Carol, first year, these plants will need a bit more watering till they get established.

These days in Cali..brown is the new green. In some areas in Sacramento they do cash for green, to encourage homeowners to do more water-wise gardening. Don't know if San Diego county does the same. And another thing with San Diego, when the Santa Ana winds come, it really gets drier, wild fire hazard is high, so the typical meadow-look is not recommended.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
May 13, 2015 7:42 PM CST
I am not sure where they live in SD. I do know they got a bit of rain the other day. But she says it hardly made a dent in what needs water. I will take the list of plants with me so we can go garden shopping. Hurray! Unfortunately, unless we spend a great deal of money on flower beds and bedding soil, I think she is going to have to live with container gardening. I might construct a "floating" flower bed like I did with this one at my home.
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Thanks so much. You have been very helpful. I tip my hat to you.

Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Jun 5, 2015 12:40 AM CST
Coneflowers, penstemons, yarrows, maybe annual vinca, dahlias, small flowered zinnias? Confused

Or you could go the California native plant route. Check out this native nursery: http://www.laspilitas.com/ The Escondido nursery may be close enough to your daughter's place to warrant a visit. Scroll down to the bottom of the home page for a link on how-to for native plant gardens. (Yes, you will have to water the first year.)

Good luck!
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jun 5, 2015 1:57 AM CST
DD and I have been out all day doing my very favorite thing, garden shopping! San Diego has a great selection of drought-tolerant plants. I found the best prices (with awesome help) at Home Depot. We visited Armstrong Nursery. And though we found them to be quite pricey, we had to have the Texas Longhorn Fuchsia they had there. It's preeeety! Best soil prices were at Walmart. And my DD was ecstatic when I introduced the Dead Plant Sales at Lowe's. We joked around and called them "Zombie Plants" as i told her i had full intentions of bringing them back from the dead. As i was bringing the plant into the patio, i announced, " Dead Plant Walking! Sick garden humor. We found some grass growing in a ,good portion of her yard and that the HOA actually does water for 5 mins from time to time in the backyard. I will amend her soil and hope that what's left of the lawn will grow for her. Ordered a small electric lawn mower. Should be here on Saturday. We found enough cardboard boxes to start the Lasagna Beds tomorrow. My DD thinks I'm crazy that i love doing yard work so much. She'll learn a few things and hopefully become more interested in gardening. As my reward for my hard work, DD will drive me out to Jungle Jerry's for a new Plumeria.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jun 5, 2015 2:05 AM CST
Weeds are out of control.
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Made several trips from the stores as her car is small.
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With several new garden tools and supplies on hand, I'm ready to get to work!
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More color! More color!
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Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jun 6, 2015 3:16 PM CST
Moving along with drought-tolerant planting and pots and a new electric lawn mower. We planted a reverse flower bed. While most plant along the fence or border, we bordered the patio where grass wasn't growing and instant wow when you walk out the back door. Also found that that area was where the HOA sprinkler head is, giving the planted area the advantage of water whenever the HOA decides, even though its only fir 5 mins. We'll take it!

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Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jun 6, 2015 3:35 PM CST
Wow! What an improvement!
Name: Liz
Santa Rosa, CA (Zone 9b)
Charter ATP Member Cat Lover Region: California Dog Lover Roses Hummingbirder
Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge)
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Lizzipa
Jun 6, 2015 10:43 PM CST
Wonderful transformation! She's a lucky daughter. Smiling Many of us save dish & shower water - ie. I have a bucket in my shower to catch the water, until it heats up. It's enough to help with watering those new plants. (And she's young enough that she won't mess up her back, like I did, carrying all that water outside!)
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jun 7, 2015 1:12 AM CST
DD already saves water from her sinks. Her shower heats up almost right away. I think thats fabulous as ours takes forever to heat up. I respect the drought situation here. The drought-tolerant plants do need a drink for a couple weeks to get established. But after that, once a month should be fine, if that much. Her verbena will get bloom food every 10 days, along with the Million Bells but no extra water. The cordyline, bottle brush, and Rock portulaca can acceot once a month watering. Everything is covered in 3-4" of mulch. The 3 planters I got are called City Planters from Home Depot. It has a 4" water reserve at the bottom and a plastic "mulch " cover thst helps prevent drying out. Only a small hole was cut in it to insert the plants into the soil. Except for some bloom food , those planters can be left to their own devices for quite a long time. There is a watering tube that puts the water back to the bottom when needed. I will help DD along the way as she is just learning about gardening. But she is so pleased to have a nice new yard and new electric mower for what's left of the lawn. ... I am itching to water the lawn! Hahaha. But I won't. I keep listening for the HOA sprinklers to come on at midnight each night. I hope they will while we are still here so I can see where the water hits the new landscape. .... We completed the project tonight planting the last plants, sedge. I am a little sore but happy. My friends tease me about traveling somewhere just to find some new yard work to do. This is not my first time. I rototilled my sister's back yard in San Diego and got some lawn started a number of years ago. And I went to my Cousin's home in San Francisco just to help her clean out and trim her back yard. We found an amazing garden hidden under overgrowth. I admit. I am in my element when it comes to landscaping new yards.
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Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
South San Francisco Bay Area (Zone 9b)
"The mountains are calling..."
Region: California Garden Photography Garden Procrastinator Daylilies Pollen collector Dog Lover
Moon Gardener Irises Heucheras Vegetable Grower Garden Ideas: Level 1 Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Polymerous
Jun 7, 2015 10:11 AM CST
Nice work!

I hope you are right that the plants can get established enough in a couple of weeks to only need water once a month, thereafter.
The current avatar image is that of a volunteer daylily seedling showing cristation.
Name: tarev
San Joaquin County, CA (Zone 9b)
Always count your blessings in life
Region: California Houseplants Plays in the sandbox Orchids Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Composter
Cactus and Succulents Dragonflies Hummingbirder Amaryllis Container Gardener Xeriscape
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tarev
Jun 7, 2015 10:21 AM CST
Beautiful outcome there Cheryl! Hope the garden thrives well. Smiling
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
Service dogs: Angels with paws.
Dragonflies Dog Lover I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Photography Bee Lover Plays in the sandbox
Butterflies Region: Texas I sent a postcard to Randy! Charter ATP Member Annuals Garden Sages
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lovemyhouse
Jun 7, 2015 10:52 AM CST
Cheryl, love it, love it!
Hurray! I tip my hat to you. Thumbs up
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
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ShadyGreenThumb
Jul 8, 2016 9:32 PM CST
Update: Just got back from San Diego again. DD has removed the largest bed to the left of her garden. Seems the snails attacked all the flowers there. She found they were coming through a sewer drain in their yard but the damage had been done. She also found out that her lease says she isn't allowed to put in flower beds on the Navy base housing. hrrrmph! She did leave the bed up against the fence. All that is left are the Rock Purslane and the Salvia. The Salvia is barely hanging on but is coming back after the snail attack. The sedum was under attack, too. She removed them and potted them up in the hanging gutter pots. They are doing well again. Her potted plants, have survived. in fact, her plumeria is blooming profusely and her lime tree has many, many limes on it.

While I was there, I pulled up the weeds and cleaned up the remaining bed. She didn't want me to top it off with mulch in case it has to be removed when they go to another base. I can't imagine anyone wanting to have it removed especially since all, and I mean ALL the grass is now dead from the drought? Her plants are the only green left in her yard! I put down quadruple layer of hardware cloth over the drain to keep the snails from coming out. I bordered it with rocks and poured rock salt around the rocks to keep the slugs from coming up, too.

There was not much to do where the lawn was but I hacked down the weeds, mowed it and blew the leaves off. It looked cleaner but pretty darn barren! In fact, the whole City looks pretty brown due to the drought. It used to have so many flowers and greenery to look at! Sad all the way around. Some of the homes have resorted to Astro Turf! But even that bright green looks odd among the dead stuff. I hope they recover from this!
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
[Last edited by ShadyGreenThumb - Jul 9, 2016 12:12 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1206358 (17)
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Jul 8, 2016 9:43 PM CST
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Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.
Name: Carol
Santa Ana,Ca. (Zone 10b)
Sunset zone 22
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jul 16, 2016 7:22 PM CST
That is such a shame! Moving around the world with the military is bad enough, without such silly restrictions. As to the snails and slugs; I haven't even seen a trail since last year. It's too dry for them.
Name: Cheryl
Kingwood, Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: Texas Greenhouse Composter Plant Identifier Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Amaryllis
Plumerias Ponds Foliage Fan Enjoys or suffers hot summers Tropicals Garden Ideas: Master Level
Image
ShadyGreenThumb
Jul 16, 2016 9:49 PM CST
Yes, @ctcarol. Base housing makes it hard to make a house your home. But at least they mow and maintain the front yard.

The hardware cloth seemed to stop the snails. Her yard is dry as a bone, too! But they sniffed out the moisture she had among her plants. She literally had 30-40 of them at one time. BIG ones! Escargot style! Everywhere! And of course in the day, they would hide in her plants. She had a planter that held water. Things were growing fabulously until snails started breeding in there!

Next base they are considering across the country to Jacksonville FL. DD is already stressing about moving her plumeria.
Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly, Kiss slowly, Love Truly, Laugh
uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you Smile.

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