New Fence - New Opportunitites: Pool Garden

It's Friday and I'm taking today off to make a 4-day Labor day weekend. This morning I've been pondering the pool garden. Wood Rat has almost finished the new bamboo fence that replaces the old falling-down 4 foot pool fence. It is simply marvellous. Above is a small area we mocked up with a path leading to the gate onto the north valley path that curves around the contour of the valley.

Below are a set of "before" pictures showing the fence, and the current state of this garden area.

This is our only enclosed garden, and it is an artificial space to be sure. So I feel I have some latitude in planning. The emerging garden planning criteria are:
  • If not endemic, must be non invasive
  • Prefer California natives. I have a hankering for hollyhocks though.
  • Not too messy, leaves and fluffy things going into the pool are a pain.
  • It's a full sun environment, but I can give some water as this is near the house
  • Fire safe plantings, relatively speaking.
  • Succulents would be nice.
  • Nothing sharp or prickly for bathers to stumble into.
I'm thinking I'll try one of the endemic manzanitas I'm growing from cuttings and one of the toyon plants growing so nicely from seed, to see how they behave over time in a garden setting. Mostly we would want low plantings. I'm thinking - how about a Channel Islands garden, or area within the garden? I already have some things from that region.

With global warming, I read (I think on the GWN forum) that we might think about planting Southern California natives in our garden - it's a sad thing to think about our Central Coast habitats dying out because of the heat. We're already in a banana belt zone here on the ridge. So So Cal natives might be fun here. If they can take the wet winters and fog drip in summer.

Here's a sweep round the garden so you and I can see and remember the Before! I hope there is a Happy Ever After!

Looking left from the top picture, we see this:

Then this - wide open for new plantings. I thought about including edibles but I'm not sure - the gophers can get in for sure, even if the deer and bunnies can be excluded:

Then this:

OK backing up to the woodland gate we opened with, and looking to the right, we see this messy space:

Then this also messy space. I'm going to move the cold frame but not sure where - somewhere that gets bright light but no direct sunlight:

Then this: The sage is fun but gets way too big and is old now and the plantings behind are also old, and are non-native and need to be yanked:

Getting near the pool shed now - my messy storage area. I need to figure out another spot for all these supplies:

Full disclosure! Not pretty back there...

Front of the pool shed, the pots need re-doing and the area needs a bit of a freshening up.

To the right of the stairs is the deck outside our bedroom and bathroom. Again, these pots need emptying and refilling with something more attractive. I will keep the variegated abutilon in the corner. Ms T. Mouse had no need for these and I took them a few years back, but they've pretty much run their course now I think. But we like the variegated one - lights up that dark corner:

See where the pots are in front? they are sheltering the clarkia seedlings that are now springing up with ease and abandon. We put the screen up because it's very sunny on this west-facing deck in the evening and this gives us some shade to sit and enjoy a sip of beer after work in the evening:

This area between the deck and Wood Rat's office door is neglected. We do need a space to store the pool equipment.

Woodrat's office door is white as bought - and could be painted maybe? - Through that gate you go to the greenhouse and the South Garden - another area in need of much work. Wood Rat is going to fill in some of the space between the top of the pool fence and the plank above with trellising so we can grow a vine up it, near his window.

Walking through the above gate, and turning to the right after a few feet, I took this picture:

The greenhouse is not yet finished - it's being held hostage by four giant tomato plants.

They are too big to move the pots so we can put the wire mesh gopher barrier and then put the bark down

Isn't it lovely, the fence!

Woodrat will put a straight piece over the gate. The gate leads to the neighbor's fruit and veg garden. We share the fruit on the trees right behind the fence as they are half on our property. Here's a bit closer shot of the bamboo in redwood frame fence. We were going to add a plank (not the right word - a 2X4) along the top but we rather like it the way it is. TBD. There is wire mesh at the bottom of the fence but it doesn't go into the ground far, just a few inches. The soil was trucked in and we spread it here to bring up the level.

To the right of the above, and just behind the greenhouse is a nice nook for - not sure what for yet.
Well, here we are at the end of the tour. In fact we just moved the cold frame here, and I think it'll do fine. Wood rat can make me a little lath shelter for it if it is too sunny, and I can use this imported soil here, I'll dig out the soil, bury the gopher wire and then put the soil back in.

Last Look
OK a last look from the pool garden from a different perspective - standing just in front of the greenhouse, looking north - looking first to east, Wood Rat's office, then sweeping to the west.

Thus be this the record of the Before Times. And if all-y'all have any bright ideas, keeping the criteria mentioned at the beginning of the post in mind, I'll be glad to consider them whether for individual plant ideas or general themes and such.


Noelle said…
Oh, I love how you showed us everything....full disclosure is not something that I think many of us garden bloggers share - especially those corners of the garden that we like to pretend don't exist. I look forward to seeing the progress of your pool garden. I am also getting ready to plant some hollyhocks :-)
Town Mouse said…
Well done! Oh, I'm so excited. This looks stunning!

(BTW, you could probably propagate that variegated albutilon, they propagate very easily).
xoxoxo said…
The empty nook could be used for your pool cleaning storage and the gardening supplies :) Can hardly wait to see what you plant!
Gail said…
I agree with Noelle most of us don't show the hidden treasures! I do love the fence~Do give yourself permission to plant some hollyhocks! You could plant them in a container and set it in the garden.
debsgarden said…
Full disclosure! You are much braver than me! I love all the bare dirt, just waiting for plantings. To me there is nothing more exciting in a garden than a new area waiting for fulfillment. Good luck! I look forward to seeing what you do. And BTW, I love hollyhocks!
I really like the idea of a Southern California (or Channel Island) garden, but then I guess I'm a little biased. Maybe sticking to the more coastal species would give you more luck with our dryland plants. I'm sure many of the dudleyas would like what you have to offer. And I wonder how bladderpod (Isomeris arborea) would do for you up there. One of my two has been stunning for most of this year.
Anonymous said…
Even the "before" shots contain quite a bit of beauty. But yes, you must paint Wood Rat's office door! Some shade of brown or tan I think, perhaps the color of the bamboo? And maybe even paint the door-ish greenhouse walls to match? I look forward to seeing what you make out of all this.
Anonymous said…
A lot of work, but the greenhouse and fence are wonderful. You have such a clean slate in which to plant, I bet ideas are bouncing all around.
Christine said…
Oh, how fun! I am obsessed with Channel Islands plants- the Buckwheats and Dudleyas. I'm also a little liberated by your full disclosure photos- I have some very dark, dirty, junky places in our yard and I'm glad I'm not the only one. The pots on the patio I would cluster a little closer together to make a vignette. Perhaps take an empty pot, turn it upside down and set a pot on it as a pedestal for a plant in the back for some height variation. Congrats on all the progress and that beautiful fence!
Country Mouse said…
Christine, that's a great idea about getting more height and making a tighter cluster of pots. I didn't get to the pot cleanup over the w/end but posting the picture of That Dark Place sure was motivating (as I meant it to be!) - I've now cleared everything up and moved a bunch of things into deeper storage, and swept out thoroughly! Good luck with your Dark Places :-) It's a good time to do "spring cleaning" in a California garden, I think - right before fall planning and planting :-)