Hi! I’m Tracy, gardening in the East Bay, California, Zone 9b. I’ve done 100% of the planting here; the space behind the house was just a pile of mud when we moved in. Oh, the possibilities! The front garden was full of typical new housing plantings and grass, which I have completely removed.
The strawberry tree (Arbutus ‘Marina’, Zones 7–9) may have been the first thing I planted in the slope in the back.
Because it is so very dry here, I recently did the entire slope as a dry garden. The plantings are all under a couple of years.
Dry gardens don’t need to be boring. Here, various succulents grow in colorful peacock planters.
The dry garden is on the right, with wetter perennial gardens on the left. The tall bearded yucca (Yucca rostrata, Zones 7–10) makes a dramatic statement in the dry garden.
The wide diversity of forms, colors, and shapes of succulents and cactus makes the dry garden endlessly interesting.
A cluster of tall cactus makes a vertical element, contrasting with the round golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii, Zones 9–11).
The dry garden runs down right to the pool.
This ponytail palm (Beaucarnea recurvata, Zones 9–11) was a freebie from half a mile away that I spotted in a cracked pot. The owner gladly let me handtruck the ponytail palm away, and it is an excellent showstopper for the slope.
View down the slope, showing the wide range of succulents, including a couple more golden barrel cactus
A tall Aloe ‘Hercules’ (Zones 9–11) is another favorite. It will eventually grow to form almost a small tree.
Tracy sent so many great photos that we’ll return to her garden next week and explore her perennial beds.
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I love it, it’s beautiful, and thank you for conserving water!
Thank you, it's still all very young. It has been a fun project, and lots of hauling rock lol!
A really fascinating garden taking advantage of your hot, dry environment and saving water.
Dry gardens are so cool! I love the plant diversity. It's so different than what I grow in CT.
Thank you! I do have some different banana varieties back there because I just can't help myself.
That Ponytail Palm was a great find, it's going to thrive in your garden... I'd love to be able to grow one!
The cluster of tall thin cacti is really eye catching, and I love that Bearded Yucca.
And in your photo that mentions the Aloe ‘Hercules’...there are some really pretty and unique little creature-like succulents snuggled up to a rock- I just love those!
This is a whole different world of gardening that I'm used to, it's just amazing to see what you've done here!
Thank you! I think the little succulents you are mentioning are Crassula baby necklace. They were so tiny when I put them in I could barely handle them. They love being next to the rocks and have really taken off!
Very interesting choices and in time, they will all mature and look marvelous. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you, I don't think the pictures quite show how long and large the slope is (my fault, not a great photographer)
Absolutely stunning!!!I love this. I agree a desert does not have to be boring. We've driven from the east coast to west coast and my favorite areas are NM, AZ & CA deserts. The colors are amazing, the shapes and plants are varied and the rock formations are astounding. GREAT JOB!!!!!👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
Thank you so much!!!
Spectacular!!! Very different from anything I’ve ever seen!!!
Thank you! :)
Thanks so much for sharing your unusual garden - it's fabulous!
Thank you, I enjoy being unusual!
You have done a fabulous job installing your dry gardens with a great assortment of low desert plants. Adjusting the eye from lush green gardens to desert plants takes time, I know since I have gone from lush green, flower filled IL gardens, to my high desert gardens in Denver to my final low desert gardens in Tucson. Saving water is critical in the western states and you have designed a great garden filled with a fun selection of shapes, sizes and textures that the amazing world of succulents can provide. Beautifully done!
Thank you Sheila! It is an adjustment, and I still have a love for perennial gardens FOREVER. I bet your Tucson garden is fabulous!
Like all gardens, mine is a continual work in progress. That is the fun in gardening, don't you think? The added benefit is having the reason to need to keep going to the nurseries to see what else is necessary! Enjoy your beauties.
Marvelous! This is a perfect example of making a garden that is perfectly suited to its environment. Your pool looks like a gleaming mirage in the desert. You are exceptionally talented!
Wow, Thank you so much!
I have never seen a Yucca rostrata. How unusual!
I love those stumpy guys!
Hi! I'm Tracy, if you'd like to see other photos of my garden I'm @tz_garden on instagram. Tracy Rinella The front yard is also a no-grass space, but perennial instead of dry. I also "attempt" to grow bananas, mangos, tomatoes + herbs for my little bunny. She's helped me fertilize & mulch the entire place :)
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