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I've been researching Xeriscaping plants for zone 7. I have decided that my zone 7 is the perfect zone. Not too cold and not too hot. Temperature ranges from 0 to 100 (except this summer). We usually don't get much rain in July and August, this year has been the exception.
I am amazed that how many beautiful plants can be part of a Xeriscaping landscape. The photos in http://www.highcountrygardens.com/ proves it. Xeriscaping does not have to include Cacti and succulents if you do not like them. This is research that I have done for myself, I thought I would share it with everyone.
For the most part, I went with some of Michelle’s recommendations, David’s Favorites from High Country Gardens, and from my personal experience. I left out some of the plants that were recommended because they didn’t specifically state that they were drought resistant. The exceptions I made were plants that I knew from personal experience that had done well in my garden.
If you see that a favorite drought resistant plant of yours is not in this list, I would love to have that information. Most of these links are from the Plants Database, if there was insufficient information, or no photo, and it was from High Country Gardens, then I substituted with a link to www.highcountrygardens.com
Cherish, this is a terrific thread I am new to xeriscaping after finding out firsthand that I just cannot water enough on the right days, (we have a summer water ban) and keep everything growing. So far my best success in the garden has been the simple purple coneflower. I just love it, it is the only flower that continously makes me smile because it is so reliable, flowers constantly. I have not done a thing to them except let loose some ladybugs. I planted a 7ft by 12 ft area and i think I am going to back it with liatris, and then perhaps a row of yarrow. I planted a couple of each as test plants. Hopefully they both will be as rewarding. Looking at your list has also given me some great ideas. Do you know if artesmia grows well (quickly)from seed?
Suzanne, the only experience I have with Artimesia is buying it from Walmart, so I don't know anything about growing it from seed. I do love it though, at least the Silver Mound. I may try the Sea Foam since David highly recommended that one on the High Country Gardens site.
My experience with the purple coneflower is that the rabbits in my area are eating the leaves at the bottom. That's the only reason I didn't add it to the list, but I guess that's not a good reason. I did plant 3 this year and in spite of the rabbits, two of them are blooming quite well, without very many leaves at the bottom. Now that you've mentioned how well yours are doing, I'll go ahead and add them to the list.
I too am interested in xeriscaping and have been ordering from High Country Gardens for several years now. Most western states (unless you live on the coast, of course) have the kinds of climates that are suitable for this kind of gardening. And we all have water issues. Anyway, what I mostly wanted to mention is that Artemisia 'Tangerine' is often used as a barrier plant. Deer and rabbits are not crazy about it because it has a strong citrus fragrance when you crush the leaves. I love it. It isn't as flashy as some of the other Artemisia's, but it's great in my book. I also want to recommend to you both that you try some of the Lavenders. They do extremely well for me and ask for very little water once they are established. Hope to hear more about your experiences with this kind of gardening. 8-]
I have been toying with the idea of using a barrier of several different plants that the rabbits hate, and that have strong smells. Such as Marigolds, Salvias, Lavenders and Artimesia. I am very interested in the Tangerine Artemisia, it does seem rather tall though at 4 feet. I found it in the High Country site. I might be able to use it at the backside of my garden and ring the shorter plants around the sides and front. I think I'll look through High Country's catalog for plants that specify rabbit resistance.
Hmmmm...mine never grew to 4 feet. I guess it depends upon soil and weather conditions etc. Anyway, if you like it, it is an easy plant to keep in bounds. You just cut it off when it gets too tall for your taste. I does grow fairly wide tho, so it can be hemmed to a hedge.
The very best plant I ever found to keep deer and rabbits from eating my plants is called 'A Tall Fence', sometimes known as 'A big mean dog'. Just kidding LOL
P.S. Remember that 'rabbit resistance' doesn't mean 'rabbit proof'. I've never found anything that they wouldn't eat if they are hungry enough.
Yeah, I don't suppose ANYTHING would be rabbit proof, I just want to make it more distasteful for them to get at the plants they want. I live right beside a field with plenty of buffet for them and they like my bermuda grass so there is plenty for them to eat besides my bulbs. I am going to get bloodmeal from Walmart, highly recommended by my in-laws. We'll see how that works.
As for the Artimisia, I was just going by what High Country Gardens said about it. Their description said 48" by 48". If it can be sheared and still look good, then thats the stuff I need.
As for the dog...we can't get one until we get a fenced in yard. We will eventually though.
Here is a link from the plant database of a plant I have growing successfully in my garden; zone 7. I'm in Flower Mound, Texas. This plant is attractive to birds, butterflies and bees, and is xeric. It grows fast, mine is about 4 1/2 feet tall now and was only a foot when I bought it earlier this year. The blooms are yellow and look like candles, and the leaves fold up at night - very unique and interesting plant in my book! Mine hasn't bloomed yet, but I will take photos when it does. I got mine at Calloway's Nursery.
Cherish, I just stumbled on this thread! Great one!! I noticed that I have many of the plants above and you and I are in the same zones. Hope you are still watching this thread! I would love to hear about trees good for Xeris...
One more thing - Artemsia (sp?) is EASY easy to grow from seed. I did it this year and started it way too late and it still grew wonderfully! Here's a pic. The seeds are incredibly tiny - I got mine from Johnny's select and started them briefly indoors in spring then set them on my porch for awhile. They practically grew themselves! I actually had to use an axe to get them down when I cleared all my annuals. I wish I hadn't already traded so many of them or I would send you some. I do plan on ordering from Johnny's soon and since they have a couple of different kinds will probably buy more though. It's the one on the right.. By the way, to the left of that is another good perennial plant - White Sage. It's at Johnny's and it's the kind that Native American's use for smudge sticks - stinky stuff!!
Ooooh! What's that grass at the back left? That's really pretty.
You've got a nice looking grouping there. The only artemesia I have is Silver Mound. There is one little patch of seeds forming on it, but it's taking forever. I don't know if the frost will get it or if they will still go ahead and do what they are supposed to do. Looks like we'll get our first frost this week sometime.
I'm working on getting more of the drought tolerant plants, but in my neck of the woods, they have to be able to take a lot of rain in the spring too. That really cuts me out of a lot of the Xeriscaping plants, I think. But I will only be able to tell by trial and error. I'm starting to lean towards using a lot of our local stuff, right out of my uncle's field. My dad calls them weeds. Won't he be surprised when my garden is really pretty with the stuff he calls weeds.
We have been getting more rain than usual these past 2 years. Kinda makes me second guess all my plant - plans.. My Corkscrew Willow was really happy this year but my Lavender - sigh...
Grass at back is regular ol Variegated Miscanthus. If you want some DO NOT buy any! I will have to divide this one in the Spring. Send me a reminder (I can't remember yesterday lol) and we can do a trade or SASE if you like. It gets big though and has a fountain effect so if that is not appealing... It flowers too!
I like a lot of grasses b/c they don't seem to care what you do to them! I have a lot of wind and sun..
Speaking of artemisia, the cultivar 'Tangerine' is really good if anyone has a problem with deer, rabbits, etc. It has kind of a citrusy smell if you brush past it or crush the leaves and the critters don't like it at all. Sometimes it's used as a barrier to protect other more vulnerable plants. I love it, but it doesn't flower.
Have you looked into Catmint? I am in the Desert Southwest Zone 6b-7b. Catmint is amazing and if you get decent rain it would be very happy. High Country Desert describes a couple varieties, some sterile and some re-seed like crazy. I love it because it blooms all summer and everyday I have at least 10 butterflies hover around it!
Also, Boules Wallflower is a beautiful purple, Spring-Summer Xeric plant. And as someone said above you must have coneflowers. Even try Cornflowers, the Centaurea group. These are annual Bachelors Button and some great perennial ones too -try Centaurea Montana.
I have Black-eyed Susan/Rudbeckia blooming right now from a wildflower mix. I forgot I even threw in the bed last summer and this Spring it came up with no water for months.
Lantana and Verbena sound like they would do great in your area too.
This is an old post, but here goes, I live in zone 5, but I've been ordering from High Country Gardens for a couple of years now. I love penstemons, and agastache. We don't have real dry weather, but I do have hot dry spots around trees. I had the Berlindera ( hope that's right,) that smelled like chocolate for a couple of years before I lost it. I order every year. I have to be careful tho. Some plants say hardy to zone 5 but aren't.
I am putting in a Mediterranean garden in my front yard ( no grass). I know you're High Country Garden fans, and I'm sure they've got a great selection. Just thought I'd let you know about Canyon Creek Nursery. If you're looking for some unusual perennials, salvias, euphorbias, kniphofias, etc., they would have some great selections for xeriscape also. Good luck with your endeavor.
Thanks mary, I can never know enough good nurseries so I will definitely give them a look :).
I just put a raised bed out front and filled it with 2 types of opuntia, rock rose, perky sue, sotol, agave, and and and...still waiting on a few other things to get here. Most of the front still looks like a barren wasteland but it's a start.
My neighbor across the street loves her lawn and can't understand what I'm doing. She can't imagine a yard without grass. I'm hoping that when everything is in, people will do the same. ARound here, no one uses their front yards and yet they pour excess amounts of fertilizers and water on the grass just the stand there and look at it. I'm actually putting a little seating area in the front so I can actually utilize my yard when it's done. Our summers are hot and dry and winters get down into the high 20s at times. This is not an area of the country where grass is easy to grow. There's just too much water wasted. So, I'm rebelling. Those opuntias will look gorgeous in bloom, by the way.
Change is hard to accept, so by giving them a positive example you are helping them adapt and maybe even try it themselves.
Where are some pictures of your yard? Before and give us some when you get it all fixed.
I know you will enjoy it.
I'll post some pictures as soon as I get the first berm completed. It will have salvia clevlandii,gaura, calothamnus villosus, achillea and limonium perezii. In the meantime, everything else I have planted is hard to see because the plants are so small. As they fill in, I'll send pictures. THanks.
Billy, just an FYI from where some of those plants thrive - put the penstemon in the brightest spot possible, make sure the soil is very lean (don't bother composting) and *very* well draining. The biggest reason they fail here is overwatering and rotting out.
Cherishlife, thank you for taking the time to put all this information here. Excellent quick resource.
Pagancat, I spent a year in Bullhead City - I couldn't even keep an aquarium without air conditioning on, so I didn't have it. I found a rental with big windows - big mistake - I had to cover them with bubble insulation! I did manage to keep petunias growing on my patio, but not much else!
Billyporter - good to see you on another thread of common interest. I was able to visit HGC on a trip to Santa Fe in 2004. I thought I'd go crazy buying, but it was August, so of course, not a good time (instead I bought 30# of fresh roasted green chilies and carried them home in my carry-on...YUM!) About ten years ago, in CO (I've been around) I did a version of their Big Easy Waterwise garden, and then again here last year. It takes a while to fill in, but it's just gorgeous when it does.
Agastache is at the top of my list of wants, but in this very wet winter climate, I'm not ready for them yet. The one I tried last year didn't make it.
One of the things that I think about with xeriscape is to consider what natives are around. I've been known to cultivate "weeds" with flowers, no prickers, and nice habits. For example, in CO there was a mallow with tiny orange flowers that was encouraged. Here I've noticed cranesbill and a few other neat things (like wild roses, CA sunrose, ferns, False Solomon's Seal). But, a problem with natives is that they don't always take well to transplanting.
BTW, I've also been known to cultivate a weed, thinking I planted it, only to pull out the plant I wanted...hmmm...so don't take my word for anything...lol
Thanks 4paws. We dug up one wild rose and set it on the end of a 25' wall. It has spread almost the entire length. I look forward to the blooms every year. I still have the petals in a jar with blue delphinium and other garden flowers. I used to dump it out every year, sort the faded petals and renew it. I'm really getting excited by the colors of Agastache.
I just discovered Davesgarden today, went right for my favorite subject- Xeriscaping. I have done extensive research for personal enjoyment (much like Cherish), thought I'd share some of my finds with you, my waterless friends. Add these plants to Cherish's excellent list. First, perennials - trees & shrubs later.
PERENNIALS SELECTED FOR LOW-WATER USAGE - Z7 or less
1) Agave parryi
2) Agapanthus campanulatus
3) Alchemilla alpina
4) Allium species - try Allium sphaerocephalon
5) Amsonia tabernaemontana
6) Anaphalis species - try Anaphalis margaritacea
7) Armeria species - try Armeria pseudarmeria
8) Asclepias tuberosa
9) Baptisia species - try Baptisia lactea (=B. leucantha)
10) Ceratostigma plumbaginoides
11) Echinops ritro
12) Eryngium amethystinum
13) Filipendula vulgaris 'Floro Pleno'
14) Geranium sanguineum
15) Goniolimon tataricum
16) Gypsophila species
17) Hesperaloe parviflora
18) Knautia macedonica
19) Limonium gmelinii
20) Limonium latifolium
21) Linum flavum
22) Linum hirsutum
23) Nepeta x faassenii
24) Penstemon pinifolius
25) Ruta graveolens
26) Saponaria x lempergei 'Max Frei'
27) Satureja montana
28) Sempervivum cultivars
29) Solidago species
30) x Solidaster luteus
31) Stachys byzantina
32) Teucrium species
33) Verbascum species - try V. chaixii
34) Zauschneria species - try Z. garrettii 'Orange Carpet'
Now that I don't live in the tropics anymore, I find that it would be a great idea for me to spend more time here in Xeri.
So you say "But Molly, you live in Florida!" Yes, that's so true, but the difference in a 5-6 hour drive is amazing.
My property here is known as the Sand Hills of Levy County. We have sand on limerock. My 5 acres brags Long Leaf Pines, Turkey Oaks, Sand Oaks and wild Rosemary Bushes.
I can water a flower bed for over an hour, and it only takes a step on the wet to show it only went down 1/8 inch. Sooooo, it's a new kind of gardening for me.
I am concentrating on the natives of Florida that prefer this kind of sand. I buy natives from some local back yard growers who gather seeds from these natives. If I transplant some from the field out back or the road side swale up front, I hope they will have enough seeds on them to grow back after they die from transplant shock.
Cherish, in reviewing your list and the others added to this one, I am amazed at how well I have adapted and learned this new kind of gardening. I look for plants that are heat and drought tolerant and am amazed that you can still get a lot of color and personality from these kinds of plants.
I indulge in a lot of salvias, ornamental grasses and now coneflowers and rudbeckias. I am certainly surprised at how much better my roses are doing now that they are out of the tropics.
Thanks yall for all the research you have done on these plantings. I hope to come back here often to refresh.
Just two cents of caution - be careful of which buddleia you chose, as it invades the wild and isn't good for wild things (even if it looks like it is for butterflies... :-) I was saddened when I realized that all the "wild" buddleia has really taken over many places here, which is supposedly a remote area.
Xeriscaping just makes so much sense! Thanks for the bump on this thread!
OK here are my two picks for xeriscape extrordinare 1. Atriplex chenopodiaceae(salt bush) all varieties are usefull especially in the desert and in alkaline soil. It grows faaast for a bush,wide and tall, pretty, evergreen, silvery it takes heat, cold and drought and mine even survived 2 months of a rare flood which brings me to 2. Baccaris all varieties again, pilularis A. TWIN PEAKS DARKER MODERATE GROWTH B. PIGION POINT LIME COLORED, FAST SPREADING CAN BE CLIPPED INTO A HEDGE. Santhroides has bright green, nearly leafless branches, it can grow 7 ft. tall or clipped into 3 ft. hedge. All are evergreen groundcovers or shrubs, they take all the poor conditions including resistant to molds from wet feet and drought as well. they are beautiful and useful especially in fire prone areas and areas where you need a quick errosion control. No one ever talks about these well kept secrets. But I`m talking baby.
If I knew how to download pix to this site I would show pictures of my 2 year old plants.
Great list but I'm surprised no one has suggested Gailardia yet. We have several gailardias that mostly get ignored but do quite well. I have to keep deadheading though because I let one go last year and had to dig 2 dozen volunteers out of the yucky clay soil between our flagstones. I was surprised anything was growing in that soil, we don't even get many weeds that attempt such an unfriendly spot. When we moved this spring I dug up those volunteers plus some volunteers I had transplanted during the winter plus a few mature plants and stuck them all in pots. Even though the watering has been sporadic, and several other plants suffered major set backs, the gailardias are growing like champs and I haven't lost one yet.
Even though I live in Portland Oregon, I am leaning into xeriscaping. There just isn't enough water to go around on this planet already, I feel like I don't need to help contribute to the shortage!!!!
Besides, there isn't a garden chore I hate more than watering! I could deadhead and weed all day long, but for some reason when it is time to water I drag my feet. Probably because of the guilt I feel about it, and the upcoming water bill!
Some of my favorites are lavender, coneflowers, penstemmon, gaillardia, rudbeckia, helianthus, coreopsis, orange cosmos, and any ornamental grass I can get my hands on. One of the things I need to work on is getting some "bones" into my landscaping. I definetely need to find some evergreen dwarf trees and some other substantial pieces. Maybe even some rock features.
Unfortunately I am just renting a house right now, but hope to buy in 1-2 years. At that point I will do a complete xeriscape when I know that the investment of time and money will be worth it. For now I get to "practice" in somebody else's yard!!!!!
Even my xeriscape plants are having a hard time in this heat. My lavender is about dead, my salvia and artimesia looked sad and wilted until I watered a couple of days ago, and the coneflowers aren't doing so well either. I've pretty much neglected them thinking they were supposed to be xeriscape plants, but it's just so hot and so dry, they are not doing very well. So it's back to deep watering once every week or two to keep them going until it rains. I may do more than that to get them back to feeling better.
I am having the same problem with my artimesia wilting along with a few others I`ve been experimenting too but so far the only way I got some to perk up is to cover them w/ green shade cloth just to save them from shock.
Hi recently discovered 'Purslane'- portulaca oleracea. I purchased about 2 weeks ago from Lowe's. The label said Drought tolerant, blooms summer to fall, and I noticed butterflys landing on the blooms.
I will see if I can get a better pic this week. There are about 8-10 blooms on it this evening. This was when it was first transplanted.
I don't know if this is the same as the ''weed'' I pull all summer or not. Those I pull can lie on the dirt for a week and if a root touches the ground and it rains, I swear they green right up! I've never tried eating them, but they sound like an ideal food.
There's a weedy portulaca which is probably what you are always pulling, and then there are more ornamental ones that have larger flowers and don't spread out of control quite as much, those are typically the ones you'll find at garden centers.
I guess they behave different here--the weedy one still spreads everywhere, but the ornamental ones stay where I put them. Maybe it's our lack of summer rain--I never gave them much water, maybe once a week at most and they stayed very well behaved.
Maybe you could try watering them less? You get more rain than we do and obviously there's nothing you can do about that, but if you could avoid watering them in between rain they might not get so out of control.
lol I've been a gardening fool today. I put the rest of the ammonium nitrate on my lasagna garden to break up the last of the cardboard and paper and straw with the winter (I pray we get them) rains so I can finally plant in March.
The first ones were about a half hour from us but no where close to our home. Thank God. Funny it sounds like all of California was on fire. It is wierd how the west is though. There is hours of driving out here where you never see anything but desert w/no houses anywhere near. The idiot arsonists can't start a fire there though.
We go through extremes here. It rains volumes ~ then is totally dry for extended periods. As a result of the dry, I am interested in more drought tolerant plants. At the same time, our heat is intense.
My question is this ~ I need to improve beds for xeric plants. We have too much clay which won't drain well. I want to raise beds that will shed rain during the flooding. I know it needs to be a leaner soil for most of these plants. What will be the best things to amend with? I am contemplating Penstemons, Scutellarias and Agastaches for starters.
Soil drainage is a very important factor to consider when planting Salvia, Agastache, Lavender, Penstemon and other perennials that like well-drained soil. The essential element in a well drained soil is oxygen, which is just as important as water in growing healthy plants. Soil that is water-logged does not drain well and is anaerobic (oxygen deficient) resulting in drowned and rotted roots.
If you have clay soil and wish to preserve your tools and sanity, amendments or raised beds are a must. Mix the native clay half and half with coarse sand or crusher fines. (DON’T use fine sand; this will create concrete.)
I have clay too and found that out the hard way that everything that grows in this area that is a native and drought tollerant likes very ammended soil or raised beds. Lost a lot of money finding that out.
Clay takes time to rebuild, but composting will take care of the problem. I have or had VA red clay here and with time and plenty of compost, most of my 3/4 acre lot is black loam. Lasagna gardening is a great way to go, if you don't have a tiller or access to one.
Red clay has a lot of "trace" elements so it actually adds to the process. Over time compost will turn it to black loam, but it takes time and patience. Every time you add compost your are enriching your soil, drawing the worms in, which help aerate the soil and their castings are like gold. Good stuff! Worms love wet shredded newspaper and coffee grounds, it will bring em in a NY minute. I guess they like to read the paper and drink coffee too...LOL
If you're really interested try the soil and composting discussion. Lots of good information in there and many different methods of doing composting. Very interesting.
I compost on a small scale and use it up every year. I save all my vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells etc. in a coffee can and dump it when it's full, but I'm careful about the weeds I put in it now. Chickweed doesn't seem to die.
I tried layering newspaper around my tomato plants this year, but the paper didn't soak up very well. I guess they have changed it over the years. They do use soybean ink.
Re-reading thru the plant lists here, I've decided I would like a few lavenders too. I have salvias and really like them. I'd like to support the bees that I seem to still have.
Billy, wet your newspaper, it makes a world of difference. I use a 5 gallon bucket with a lid for all veggie scraps, egg shells, home use coffee grounds etc. If I'm composting weeds, they go in the middle of the pile where it's hottest. We have a friend of a friend who delivers newspapers and she keeps me well supplied. I just provide the big trash bags and pick up. I also get 5 gal buckets of coffee grounds from Starbucks at least twice a week. I provide 5 gal buckets with lids and lots of thank you's! And occasional homemade treat, fresh flowers or veggies when their in season. Nice folks and I have generated some interest in gardening among the non-gardeners. I'm trying to work this up into a project for Master Gardener hours. I just got my cert in November. It's fascinating watching people start to "think" well I could do that too! LOL
I used to go to the hairdressers and get hair, but I think most of it was colored, so I quit. I did wet the paper, but it doesn't wet well. It sort of repelled most of the summer. It was hard to turn under too. The shovel didn't cut thru it well.
I use an old square tub filled with water and lay the newspaper down in that. Allow it to soak at bit. You must have been using quite a few layers if you were having trouble getting a shovel thru it. That's ok, it will break down over time. Am not sure what you're "repelling" with newspapers? Hair for deer, newspaper for weeds...LOL
I was turning the hair under in the garden in the fall and digging it in around the rose bushes. This was many many years ago. Our newspaper isn't like it used to be. I did have a few layers for weed control around the tomatoes. It just didn't want to soak the water up. I might try it again. My Dad has some tubs. I think I'll ask for one.
Hmmmm very interesting conversation...Doc are there particular plants that like the doffee grounds more then others and how frequently do you provide it to the plants. Never knew about shredded newspaper either (note to self - bring paper to work, shred...take home)
I have a huge lasagna bed that has been going since this time last year and it is mostly broke down but I used so much cardboard and whole phone books that they took time since we had a record drought last year until now so it is doing better now. I have cubes of alfalfa pellets everywhere which helped a lot when it was in an area that gets watered regularly but not much in the areas where there was no water.
We are getting a lot of rain so I spread the cubes all around the property. I guess I will need a lot more lasagna beds. My dh hates them because they look so ugly for so long, especially if I have them out front. We have phone book pages blowing around all the time. We have alot of wind here.
Hellnzn11, I think your beds look fine. I love new beds and hope you post pictures of the finished project. I see a lot of potential! Your phone pages remind me of my coffee filters that escaped. I quit adding them for the neighbor's sake.
If you are over 35 you heard the song but just don't know it by name. I didn't either but he has been trying to download it for a year on Limewire.
Thanks. I need extra topping for the loose paper stuff. The circle area is going to be a memorial bed for my dog Mushi that I had to put down a week ago. ♥ So I am trying to figure out what I will put there for my babies memorial. I need more ammending in that spot. One of my DG friends has too many cannas so she is mailing me some, but I am not sure what else to put in there, it needs to be stuff that stays inbound with the grass there.
People use it to "bump" the thread back up to the top of the page if it's slipped down the page where nobody notices it anymore. Usually people do it if it was their thread and the question they asked hasn't been answered yet, bumping it back to the top of the page means more people will see it. Or I've also seen it used if it was a thread with a lot of good info in it that would be valuable for people to look at again.
I just got back from a visit w/friends in Vegas and there the growth is so out of hand and off what they ever forsaw when they built the Hoover Dam that now they will pay you to remove your grass and replace it w/ xeriscape.
You posted last year on the fires, and again, over 800 in California were burning at one time. I still love living here though it is a danger. Now if our trees dry up, and we don't use much water in our gardens, will the rest of California go up in smoke too?
I, too, have clay soil, no lawn, and live in a rural area. (Though getting less rural by the minute!) It is 20 miles to the nearest town - Placerville.
I tried mixing sand with clay years ago, and got concrete! Then I tried mulch, perlite and sand, and mixed all that with the clay. For some plants I put in grit at the bottom of the hole and add that to the mix, with the clay. That worked. If I plant anything, I have to make a raised bed over the clay. Yes I amend the clay every year, loads of mulch, where does it go?
For those of you in California, Amend and Gromulch, are good bagged products, as we have no barnyard animals to make proper compost. I tried composting and ended up with an unsightly garbage pile. Maybe I should invest in the commercial compost makers, where everything goes in then comes out compost? Has anyone tried them?