Amazing idea: paint your front gate turquoise

turquoise front gate tended.wordpress.com

This was so beautiful it literally stopped me in my tracks. Everything was neutral and quiet from the hardscaping to the house color to the hardware. The part of the garden that I could see was all foliage. Then there was this gorgeous, inviting turquoise blue  gate right smack in the middle of it all. What a charming way to give the home privacy and more usable outdoor space.

A low maintenance, low water front yard garden

low water front yard tended.wordpress.com

It was so cool to see this front yard garden in Montecito among the water-hogging tropical-esque gardens and the hidden, but no doubt spectacular, gardens behind walls and hedges. Simple, stunning perfection.

Sago palms, ponytail palms and agave all grow quite happily here in the bay area as do any number of drought tolerant evergreen shrubs. I’d need to substitute the cacti for varieties that can tolerate our cooler climate and wet winters. Prickly pear grows very well around here and can reach 6 feet tall. I’d also use an upright grower like crassula tetragona which can reach 3 feet tall.

Plants you can’t kill: Pink Jasmine

pink jasmine tended.wordpress.com

I love all things jasmine: plants, perfume, tea.. This pink jasmine vine (jasminum polyanthum) is growing in my neighbor’s front yard and I can smell it all the way down the street. Pure heaven.

Pink jasmine is a no brainer. You definitely need some. It thrives in heavy clay soil, it thrives in containers, it tolerates drought, it tolerates shade. I’ve never fed mine and it grows like crazy with no yellow leaves in sight. Technically jasmine blooms late winter to early summer, but it can bloom sporadically most of the year. If it’s planted in the ground, it can grow to 25 feet. It can look a bit messy once the flowers are spent, so you can either prune it lightly or leave it alone and let the new growth take care things for you. The vine itself is neat, green, and lush.

Cut a little and let it spill over the sides of a flower arrangement. Your house will smell amazing.

Pine trees in polished clay containers

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In the best stroke of luck ever, I found these polished clay pots secondhand (buying used is one of my new year’s gardening resolutions). They don’t quite match but they’re beautiful, heavy, good quality pots. I planted them with baby pine trees that I ‘recycled’ from Christmas decorations, added tumbled stones to keep water in and raccoons out, and put them out front on either side of the garage door. I plan to prune the trees into tall, narrow forms as they grow. If that doesn’t work out, I’ll replace them with podocarpus.

I managed to pop them in and snap some pictures before it started pouring again. We desperately need this rain, but I do think the succulents have had enough.

succulents in the rain