Last year in spring, we had a new line put in by PG&E. Unfortunately, it was necessary to remove our neighbor's boxwood hedge to give PG&E access. Fortunately, our neighbor agreed to let me choose the plants. After talking to several experts and considering different options, I decided on 5 manzanita (3 'Sentinel' and 2 'Sunset') and 2 coffeeberry 'Eve Chase'. More about all that in this post.
When I put in the plants, I added some temporary irrigation and gave everything a good soak about every three weeks. I was hopeful that with the winter rains, the plants would shoot up to 5 feet or so. Alas, it was not to be. Yes, we are seeing some pretty blossoms, especially on A. 'Sentinel'.
But the plants still look sparse.
It wasn't quite what I'd hoped for. Though I am quite happy that the plants look healthy and I hope they're rooting well.
But here's what I'm really hoping to see.
I was surprised how many manzanita hedges one can find surrounding the offices of the high-tech companies nearby.
I believe most of them are A. 'Howard McMinn', a cultivar that tolerates a range of conditions including part shade and no summer water (or even summer water). 'Sentinel' is fairly similar but grows taller (if you let it) and less wide. Choosing 'Sentinel' allowed me to have more variety in the hedge - we did want to avoid a single-species hedge, which looks strange if one plant dies.
But with these hedges, the deep green is attractive year round and the little bell-shaped flowers in spring are delightful (and beloved by early pollinators).
You can shear this plant to be more hedge-like, or enjoy the graceful shape of the unshorn hedge. I'm hopeful that next year - or the year after - my hedge will have grown as lush and beautiful.