If it works, why change it?

Sometimes I want to keep trying different things. “Optionizing” as DH calls it. I can optionize any decision into the dirt if left to my own devices without any constraints. When I first started planning my Heat Bed, I made use of a handy local annual publication Native and Adapted Landscape Plants. Each year a new version is put together thanks to Grow Green and I find it calling to me from the counters of the garden shops I tend to frequent in the first quarter of each year. And – it’s free!

I started the plans for the Heat Bed last fall. I pulled out my free guide and quickly filtered the options down to any plant that was listed as both “Sun” and “VL” for “Full Sun” and “Very Low Water Requirements.” From there, I narrowed the field to any plant whose maintenance was listed as either “No maintenance required” or “Cut back in January.” After all, this landscape will someday be a rental again and I wanted this bed to last.

With a narrowed list (of eight options) I took my measuring tape, graph paper, pencil, straight edge, and eraser into the front yard. Quickly abandoning the straight edge, I came up with Plan A.

My eight options took me around the Land of Internet Nurseries to check pricing, availability, and any possible conflicting information. I arrived at Landscape Mafia. A wish list was made, and thanks to my thoughtful parents – plants arrived just in time for Christmas! When I had found Landscape Mafia, I had no idea how very local they were. I had wondered how plants such as the Fragrant Mimosa would handle shipping. Then one day, arriving home from work, there they were! Apparently shipping had been avoided in favor of the more reliable (and faster) delivery method of one of the nice fellows from Landscape Mafia delivering the plants himself! That’s right. I had apparently just missed him, but he had pulled up in his small SUV and unloaded the pots onto the porch. You can believe that walking up to a porch decorated in new foliage lead to grins of delight and exclamations of joy!

And just like how this post has gotten a smidge side-tracked, so did my plans for filling the Head Bed. The tree in Plan A had to come down in January. I luckily and gratefully discovered the community gardens and suddenly had five times the space to plan for edibles before the heat came. Work geared up more than expected for the first quarter (and the second, and now the third…) and the Heat Bed was left for another day.

I finally installed the plants from Christmas, only to them slowly lost to random mishaps. I was down to four plants from seven (when Plan A had included 43.) So I went into old habits and concocted Plan B. Nurseries had plenty of shade options, but unless I wanted agave, succulents, or manfriedas, I was out of luck. Home Depot claimed “sun-loving” and I took the bait. Thankfully, it was cheap bait, because most of those are now gasping in the heat. I could keep them alive with daily watering, but that defeats my desired journey with the bed.

I’m going to leave the Heat Bed for now. Anything I plant now won’t have a strong chance of survival with the days only getting hotter, and drier, until October. Plan C will look more like Plan A. Sure, the 40′ Silver Maple is gone. But the Fragrant Mimosa gained a foot these last six weeks, the Mexican Bush Sage is still blooming it’s purple velvet plumes, and at least one of the little orange daisy bunches is hanging in there.

Plan C may have one of these:

And I’m still dreaming of a gathering of these:

I may’ve accidentally taken my spade through a main root line of my Moss Verbena, but am hoping it makes it through the summer to recover this winter and look more like this again:

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4 comments on “If it works, why change it?

  1. Alice says:

    My low-maintenance, drought-resistant bed of perennials looks to be your twin.

  2. I have never had any luck with a Home Depot plant…believe it or not, Walmart makes more sense. They source their plants from growers in the region, rather than nationally, so you have a better chance of getting plants that are acclimated.
    Lots of stuff on half-price right now…I just couldn’t resist yesterday! 😀

  3. Miachel says:

    I’m so impressed by your planning. 🙂

    And holy cow, the mimosa is gorgeous.

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