There are MANY wonderful native plants to use for landscaping. Here is a quick list of suggestions for the front of a residence. Natives are a great option for their drought tolerance and for the habitat they provide. Having a beautiful landscape is even better when you get to bird watch from your windows! This design should provide seasonal color as the plants come into bloom at different seasons.
*In lieu of photos, there is a link to a photo and more info about each plant included.
East facing Gray house, owners want landscaping to cover the base of the house and to add some color (yellows/oranges with pops of purple).
N bed has a bay window in the middle, and is approx. 15 ft. long by 6 ft. wide
S bed has a liquid ambar tree very close to the front and is 19.5 x 3.5 ft.
East facing is great for many perennials that want some sun but can’t handle the intensity of our summer afternoon sunshine. Plants that like more sun should be okay on the southern most part of the S bed. Only shade lovers for the N bed.
Consider several layers of growth – ground cover (a living mulch!), herb layer (grasses and perennials for texture and color), and a shrub layer. I will assume they don’t want plants to cover the windows for privacy as that would impede the view.
Ground cover - Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) – has ferny looking foliage and yellow or white flowers in the summer and fall. 1-3 ft, tall and .5-1.5 ft wide. Likes sun so should be planted at the southern edge of the S bed. Shorter grower so it won’t make too much shade for the other plants in the bed.
Middle of the bed - Lion’s tail (Leonotus leonorus) 3-6 ft. tall, 4 plus ft wide
N side of bed (nearest to front steps)
Hooker’s Evening Primrose (Oenothera elata) 5 ft tall, 3 ft. wide
or something to fill the entire area (and not have too much shrub growth up against the house:
CA Goldenrod (Solidago velutina ssp. Californica) 1.5-5 ft tall, spreads over time
N BED - has a large bay window in the middle
On either side of the bay window:
Golden Currant (Ribes aureum) 3-10 ft. tall, 3-10 ft. wide (but I’ve never seen one more than a few feet wide) Has golden flowers in spring, followed by small red currant fruits
In front of bay window:
Oregon Grape (Berberis aquifolium) – 3.5-7 ft tall, 6 ft. wide, beautiful yellow flowers in winter and early spring, followed by grape-like fruits favored by birds.
Front of bed:
Interspersed between shrubs:
CA Fescue (Festuca californica) for textural interest
Ground cover of Ceanothus ‘Yankee Point’ nice green foliage and purple flowers, could be planted on the side closest to the entry. 2-3 ft tall, 8-10 ft wide
Douglas Iris (Iris douglasiana) – a low growing plant to add color in winter and early spring. 1-3 ft. tall (mostly shorter!) and 2-4 ft wide
There are SO MANY different kinds of ranunculus to choose from! It's hard to know why the price varies so much and what's up with all the different kinds. I'm going to share my experience with the varieties I am familiar with thus far. Please seek out the largest corms you are able to find when shopping for ranunculus. 5/7 (I assume that's the diameter of the corm in centimeters) is the a good size. TLDL: You get what you pay for, and size definitely matters!
First, I have to admit that my favorite line of ranunculus are the Italian ranunculus sourced from Onings America. In my warm climate where we grow in winter (that sometimes has weeks of 80 plus degrees) these perform beautifully. They are reliable, productive, have nice tall stems and come in a dizzying array of colors of petal shapes. Elegance is their more affordable line and is grown the old fashioned way. Their cloned lines are called Success and Pon pon (which I assume is Italian for pompom).
The Cloni (sometimes called Clooney by florists) line is produced by tissue culture (cloning) and has either the Success (for the more common petal forms that resembles a rose) or Ponpon for the ruffly petals that sometimes are mixed with green and make a pompom looking ball. They are quite expensive and make larger flowers. They are distinct and fantastic! Fiesta is their more affordable version of Ponpon but only comes in a few colors or mixes.
These are a more recent addition and are more wildflower looking. They don't have the ruffly petal-filled flowers that the more common ranunculus have. They are bigger plants with tall stems and multiple flowers on a stem. They are wonderful mixed in a vase with regular ranunculus.
These are more affordable than the Italian varieties and are fairly heat tolerant - important for our climate. The flowers aren't as large as the Italians but they come in all the colors people want so these are a great way to try out ranunculus and figure out your techniques without risking so much money. I don't have photos that I feel confident are Amandine varieties but if you google some "Amandine ranunculus" you'll find lots of beautiful colors. Chamallow is a blush pink, Juliet, a bright pink, and Purple Jean a soft lavender.
I'm still not sure how I feel about these. The photos are incredible but in my trials last year (I tried 10 of Maillane or Maritime (can't recall which) and only 2 of them grew. In the facebook group for flower farmers I read that the company that produces these harvests their corms earlier than other companies and that might be why they aren't as reliable. That's definitely a con HOWEVER they have colors that you don't see from other lines. I'm giving it another try this year with a lot more varieties and will report back on how they did. So far in the pre-sprout stage I'm not very impressed. Maybe they are just slow? I'll keep my fingers crossed because the corms are quite expensive.
These are super affordable! That's a great thing if you just want some lovely flowers to look at in your garden. If you want sturdy stems to harvest you might want to pass on these. They can be fine but they aren't bred for the flower farming market so the focus isn't on making plants with sturdy stems. They are a GREAT line to practice with until you have your growing technique solid.
Why to grow ranunculus
Because they are so incredibly beautiful!