What happened with the hedge?

Regular readers of this blog might remember that as part of our energy efficiency upgrade, we had to ask our neighbor for permission to remove the boxwood hedge between our properties because PG&E had to put a new line right where the hedge was. Our neighbor graciously agreed to have us remove the hedge, and also to have me suggest some plants.  Of course I suggested a selection of California natives, and we eventually agreed on a combination of 3 species. A few months ago, when PG&E was finally done, I had my landscape contractor use some of the dirt he had to remove to stabilize the urbanite pathway to build a berm. Most natives love good drainage, and I wanted to give my babies the best chance. So, what did I choose? 

Two Rhamnus californica (California coffeeberry), shown here with some deer grass and yellow San Bruno aster in the background. Rhamnus does well in both sun and shade, and I planted the two closer to the house in the shadier part of the hedge strip. 

Between the two coffeeberries I planted one Arctostaphylos 'Sentinel' manzanita, and I planted two more on the sunny side of the second coffeeberry. Sentinel is one of the rare manzanitas that prefers to be taller than wide (or at least not much wider). I'm looking forward to the blossoms in early spring and the graceful dark branches look great. 

Closest to the street are two Arctostaphylos 'Sunset'. This species grows wide and possibly not quite as high and I hope it will bloom a little later than 'Sentinel', though the favored most sunny location might put them in sync. 

All three species should grow to 5-6 feet in height, and I'm hoping for a foot of growth per rainy season. To help them get established, I asked my irrigation contractor to put a temporary drip on both sides of the bushes. I can attach a hose every 10 days or so and deep water to encourage good root development. 

I finished each plant with golden gravel because bark mulch can result in fungus infection especially on manzanita. Besides, I'm interested in trying the mulch-less approach on my side strip to offer the bees some bare ground. An interesting experiment. 

For now, I'm hoping my mini-hedge will make it through the summer in one piece and hope to see something approaching a hedge in the spring of 2013. At that point, I can remove the temporary irrigation. But even before that, I'm hoping for coffeeberries in a few months and beautiful manzanita blossoms and berries next spring.


susan morrison said…
Nice choices. A. Sentinel is a favorite of mine.
ryan said…
Should be great. It's already much nicer than the old hedge in my opinion. Sentinel is a favorite of mine too.
Sue Langley said…
I love the texture of the coffeeberry. It has even formation of leaves which have that dull sheen to them. Mine has grown slowly, but the deer have nibbled it. One of the few natives I've planted that they touch.

I also just planted an A. 'Sunset' which I saw in the demo gardens at our native plant nursery. Love it! Nice choices and low or no water after a while, Mouse!
I've become quite a fan of Rhamnus californica. Can't wait to see the hedge fill in! I just bought my first Arctostaphylos for here, 'Dr. Hurd', after seeing a gorgeous specimen on the GNGT that had some of the lower foliage removed to expose it's beautiful bark.
Christine said…
This is really exciting! I'm sure you weren't too bothered when PG&E broke the news that the old hedge would have to go! Can't wait for an update on the bee experiment, too.
Lindsay said…
Can you send me a picture of your hedge as it is now? I've been considering coffeeberry as a hedge and just can't find a lot of info on it or even pictures, especially pictures as a formal hedge. Thanks!