Landscaping and Gardening Services in Pismo Beach and SLO County
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26 Sep 2016

Greenbark Ceanothus

Greenbark Ceanothus

Greenbark ceanothus is a shrub that produces fragrant white to blue flowers. It’s found along the coast and is part of California’s chaparral. Other names for the shrub are redheart and red-heart mountain lilac.

A Hardy Shrub for Your Garden

The green bark of this ceanothus contributed to its most commonly known name. The wood is red, hence the shrub’s other fanciful names.

Ceanothus spinosus blooms between January and the end of June. Extensive pruning won’t harm it and may be necessary to prevent it from growing out of control and becoming straggly. Ceanothus spinosus can be cut back to a short trunk and still regrow.

Shaping Your Ceanothus Spinosus

The greenbark ceanothus is a drought-tolerant shrub that requires the attention of a professional landscaper to look its best. In the wild, it often grows to be 20 feet tall. You can allow your shrub to grow to the height of a small tree and still enjoy clusters of blue or white flowers dripping from the branches. With expert pruning at the right time of year, you can have a bushy shrub thick with flowers.

Temperature Tolerance and Placement

A north-facing, sloping area on your property is the ideal place for ceanothus spinosus. It grows best in cool temperatures but can’t tolerate cold below five degrees Fahrenheit.

This ceanothus grows in rocky soil in the wild and is a great choice if you’re trying to control soil erosion on your cliff-side property. Natural soil is a must for a healthy plant.

Water and Feeding

It’s important that you don’t water your ceanothus spinosus during the summer. Keeping the environment natural increases the shrub’s lifetime. Introducing artificial elements like plant food or fertilizer can weaken this ceanothus, rendering it unable to survive in the face of natural disturbances.

Wildfire Considerations

Ceanothus spinosus presents a low danger of flammability. Removing dead or dying branches from older trees further reduces the danger of flammability.

Importance to Wildlife

Ground fowl like quail often shelter under ceanothus spinosus, and other birds and small wildlife use it for protection from winter winds. Deer may nibble on the evergreen foliage but aren’t significantly bothersome.

The flowers of greenbark ceanothus are of vital importance to native bees. Planting this shrub improves the environment by providing food for pollinators and preventing soil erosion.

Ceanothus spinosus may sound like a complicated plant, but its only requirements are the correct soil and growing environment and professional pruning. If you’d like to learn more about it and why it may be the perfect plant for your coastal property, contact us.

Things to Remember:
• Ceanothus spinosus requires yearly pruning
• Natural soil is a requirement for the health of the shrub
• This shrub is important to native bees and to control soil erosion

08 Sep 2016

Chaparral Currant

Chaparral Currant

 

 

Chaparral currant is a refreshing change from succulents and grasses. It’s a gorgeous shrub that, when in bloom, is almost reminiscent of wisteria. The blooms range from pale pink to rosy pink and light purple.

A Colorful, Drought Resistant Beauty

Chaparral currant is a member of the gooseberry family. In the wild, it can grow as tall as 10 feet, but we recommend keeping it no taller than five feet for better bloom production. Chaparral currant has something to offer every drought tolerant garden.

The fruit of the chaparral currant is edible. Currants can be made into jams and jellies and used in other ways in desserts, and the leaves can be added to herbal teas. Always be sure to check with your landscaper before eating fruits from plants that aren’t familiar to you. One type of plant may produce fruit safe for people and animals while the fruit of another plant in the same family may be inedible and even dangerous to people.

One of the most attractive traits of chaparral currant is its blooming season. Chaparral currant often begins to bloom in October and produces fragrant flowers through May. It’s a must for winter color in your garden.

Just the Right Amount of Water

A young chaparral currant can wither away due to overwatering or under watering, so it’s best to let your landscaper handle the irrigation. Once established, the shrub shouldn’t be watered during the summer when it’s not blooming or producing fruit.

Placement in Your Garden

Chaparral currant grows in clay and rocky soil, on slopes and in woodlands. It can grow in sun or partial shade. Like purple needlegrass, chaparral currant likes the environment under an oak tree. Soil with good drainage is important.

Many people plant chaparral currant close to their birdbaths. The shrub is very attractive to birds, particularly hummingbirds. Hummingbirds love chaparral currant so much that they’ll visit your garden even if you don’t have a hummingbird feeder.

Chaparral currant is a good choice to line your walkway because it can grow equally well in the shade of your house and the direct sun of your yard. The fragrant flowers make it a pleasing shrub to plant around your patio. Plant chaparral currant in areas where you and your guests can enjoy watching hummingbirds feeding from the blooms.

Chaparral currant attracts butterflies as well as hummingbirds. The shrub gives tailed copper butterflies a place to lay their eggs, and the foliage feeds the caterpillars.

Chaparral currant provides a much-needed lush, colorful element in drought resistant gardens. Due to its particular watering requirements in its juvenile phase, we recommend the care of an experienced landscaper so that chaparral currant achieves its full beauty. Call or email us to discuss adding this lovely shrub to your garden.

Things to Remember:
• Chaparral currant has specific watering needs in its first year
• It flowers from autumn through spring
• It’s attractive to hummingbirds

24 Aug 2016

Purple Needlegrass

Purple Needlegrass

Purple needlegrass is a type of bunchgrass, a wild grass that grows in clusters. It’s one of our most well known wild grasses.In fact, it’s California’s official native grass. What makes purple needlegrass so recognizable and popular?

Burrowing Seeds and Roots

The seeds of purple needlegrass have a sharp end called an awn. The awn helps the seed work its way into the earth, giving the plant the name needlegrass. The awn is so sharp that it’s a common cause of injury to livestock. Be sure to wear shoes around your purple needlegrass, and keep pets away from it.

Purple needlegrass’s root system is far-reaching and can extend as far as 20 feet. It can grow in woodland soils, clay and otherwise barren soil. It’s recommended to improve areas with soil erosion due to its wide-ranging roots and hardy nature.

A Colorful and Resilient Landscaping Grass

The leaves of purple needlegrass remain green throughout the year and top out at around one foot in height. The flower stems grow to two feet in height, making an attractive contrast when the flowers bloom.

Purple needlegrass’s flowers look a lot like wild wheat. They’re purplish-red and almost iridescent in direct sunlight. Although the flowers aren’t the type you’d cut and put in a vase, they’re handsome and add some rich color to your yard in early spring.

Historical and Modern Uses for Purple Needlegrass

Native Americans used the leaves of purple needlegrass for weaving baskets. The California Indian Basket Weavers still use purple needlegrass leaves to teach basket weaving to children.

In addition to replenishing areas with soil erosion, purple needlegrass is utilized to stifle the growth of invasive non-native plants. Planting purple needlegrass can both improve your soil and protect native plants, but for the best growth, don’t plant it too close to other grasses. Your landscaper can help you pick the best places to plant purple needlegrass.

Purple Needlegrass in Your Garden

You can plant purple needlegrass in full sun or partial shade. It doesn’t need much water, but some irrigation during the height of summer will keep the leaves from going brown. Water purple needlegrass once a month during the summer.

Purple needlegrass is primarily used in landscaping as a groundcover. It can be planted under trees for additional visual interest.

Purple needlegrass doesn’t produce the type of flowers that are attractive to bees and butterflies, but it is a very important food source for small wildlife, especially since so many native grasses that wildlife depends on for food have been overtaken by non-native exotic grasses.

Contact us today to learn more about landscaping with purple needlegrass.

Things to Remember:
• Purple needlegrass is ideal for yards prone to soil erosion
• It grows in nearly all soils and in sun or partial shade
• Purple needlegrass is a valuable food source for native wildlife and helps reduce the growth of invasive species

 

 

17 Aug 2016

Chamise

Chamise

Where there is chaparral, you’ll find chamise. It’s one of the shrubs that make up the easily recognizable ground covering in the California high desert. Chaparral, and by association chamise, range from Mexico to California and into Nevada and Oregon.

A Flowering Shrub for the Harshest Landscapes

You probably wouldn’t think that this hardy, drought tolerant shrub that grows in the high desert is a member of the rose family. When viewed up close at the height of its late spring and early summer blooming season, the shrub is covered with masses of small white flowers with pale yellow-green centers. It’s considered an evergreen and will look best and produce more blooms if the dead seed heads are pruned.

Chamise can grow up to 12 feet tall. Again, pruning it to keep it under control at a shorter height will result in a more attractive plant that will add dense greenery to your yard all year. The leaves are a handsome olive shade of green. Some homeowners choose to allow the shrubs to grow to their full height for use as a windbreak. Another benefit of adding chamise to your yard is the prevention of soil erosion. Chamise is recommended in particular for homeowners with sloping properties.

Soil and Irrigation

The best soil for chamise is natural, rocky, sandy soil. Remember that this is a shrub that thrives in the harshest natural conditions. It’s one of the first shrubs to reappear after wildfires.

Chamise is drought resistant but has special water needs. Your landscaper can advise you about fire dangers associated with chamise. Warm weather can bring out flammable oils on the leaves. Watering chamise once or twice a month during the hottest part of summer will greatly reduce the production of these oils.

The Best Places to Grow Chamise

Chamise is a good shrub for the entrance to your driveway. If you have a cliffside property, chamise in full bloom looks dramatic spreading out on and hanging over the cliff. If you have a yard with a lot of natural boulders, plant chamise around them.

Chamise and Wildlife

Do you have problems with wildlife grazing on your plants? Chamise isn’t a favorite of deer and other animals that seem to view your garden as a buffet. Chamise is an important native plant because its flowers feed butterflies, and its shrubbery provides fall and winter shelter for birds and small animals. The dense leaves form a natural nesting environment.

Chamise in the Garden

Chamise dresses up areas of gardens with non-flowering shrubs. It looks impressive planted with other tall shrubs that produce blooms of different colors, particular shades of purple. As mentioned above, chamise is an ideal choice for adding greenery to a rock garden.

Contact us to learn more about landscaping with chamise and using native plants in your rock garden.

Things to Remember:
• Chamise is a survivor in hot, rocky environments where other plants can’t grow
• It must be watered once a month
• It helps prevent soil erosion

01 Aug 2016

Hairy Ceanothus

Hairy Ceanothus

Hairy ceanothus, or hairy mountain lilac, is a California native with some very attractive qualities to the gardener seeking drought tolerant plants. Landscapers recommend little to no water after the plant becomes established. Hairy ceanothus is an evergreen with stunning blue-violet flowers.

Hairy Ceanothus and Irrigation

How much water a plant requires and when is the primary concern of Pismo Beach area gardeners. Overwatering your hairy ceanothus can kill it. The plant is prone to root rot. Like most California plants, hairy ceanothus requires soil with good drainage. When watering hairy ceanothus, avoid wetting the leaves. This can damage the plant. The best irrigation for hairy ceanothus is to water nearby plants; the roots of the hairy ceanothus will seek out damp soil up to several feet away. When caring for drought tolerant plants, professional irrigation is the best way to ensure that each plant gets the correct amount of water in the best fashion.

One of hairy ceanothus’s many good qualities is that established (over one year old) plants don’t like summer water. When you plant hairy ceanothus, you get a beautiful plant that you really don’t have to worry about watering.

An Attractive Garden Shrub

The “hairy” in hairy ceanothus comes from the prickly appearance of the edges of the leaves and the hairy texture of the undersides. The leaves are a handsome true green and make a gorgeous contrast for the purple flowers. This shrub can grow up to nine feet tall, so it will be stunning when in full bloom. The flowers have a fragrance ranging from pleasant to intense. Hairy ceanothus is another shrub like chamise that prefers a sloping area with rocky soil, so it’s perfect for the bottom of your property. It can also be planted close to the house or patio as a background for shorter plants. Keep in mind that hairy ceanothus will spread out, making it a good choice for barren areas of your yard. It’s a popular choice for hedges.

Sun or Shade?

Hairy ceanothus grows well in full sun, but can also be planted in partial shade. The important thing to keep in mind when placing hairy ceanothus in your garden is that it prefers to face north. If you plant hairy ceanothus in partial shade, it will require even less water than when planted when full sun.

Wildlife and Hairy Ceanothus

The profusion of blue-violet flowers is attractive to butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators. You should take precautions against mule deer. Some small animals and ground birds like quail eat the reddish-green berries. Like other large evergreen shrubs, hairy ceanothus provides essential shelter to birds and small wildlife during the winter.

History of Ceanothus

Hairy ceanothus is one of our many California plants that were important to Native Americans. Some tribes used the leaves in herbal teas for different purposes. The Miwok tribe used the branches in basket-weaving.

If you want a beautiful, interesting drought resistant shrub that’s a part of California history, call us to find out if hairy ceanothus is right for your yard.

22 Jul 2016

Golden Yarrow

Golden Yarrow-200Golden yarrow is a shrub native to the California coastline and the Sierra Nevada foothills. It’s drought tolerant but requires monthly watering to ensure abundant blooms and preserve foliage. It’s a perfect companion to Texas paintbrush.

Golden Yarrow and Texas Paintbrush

Texas paintbrush has brilliant red blooms. The combination of golden yarrow and scarlet Texas paintbrush is a real standout among wild grasses and succulents. Golden yarrow and Texas paintbrush should be planted together for a practical reason: Texas paintbrush needs to feed off the roots of sturdy shrubs like golden yarrow. Both plants grow to about the same height and have complementary blooming seasons. Texas paintbrush blooms in spring. Golden yarrow blooms from early spring through late fall.

Both like a similar soil PH and frequently grow together in the wild. Their watering schedules are similar. Golden yarrow needs watering once a month during the summer, and Texas paintbrush needs twice monthly watering. We’re available for all your irrigation needs, and we’ll ensure that each plant receives just the right amount of water, with no waste.

A Hardy Family Tree

Although it’s a shrub, golden yarrow is a member of the aster family and related to the woolly sunflower. They’re resilient wildflowers that propagate by seed. Even if golden yarrow sheds leaves or has fewer blooms during an intense drought, you can count on it surviving and enhancing your garden year after year.

A Versatile Small Shrub

Golden yarrow grows to slightly over 18 inches. Each stem has a pretty cluster of bright flowers, as many as 30 per stem. The stems are slender but bear the weight of the flowers and have grayish-green, small spiky leaves. When the shrub isn’t flowering, the pale stems and leaves contrast beautifully with darker wild grasses.

In the wild, golden yarrow shrubs grow in irregular clusters. When planning to use golden yarrow in your yard or garden, we recommend it for lining your walkway or accenting your rock garden. The sunny yellow flowers look spectacular against the background of a large boulder.

A Must for the Butterfly Garden

Because golden yarrow has such a long blooming season, it’s perfect for your butterfly garden. It provides food for pollinators at the beginning of the season and the end. Plant it with Texas paintbrush, and you’ll have both butterflies and hummingbirds in your garden.

Soil and Sun

Golden yarrow grows well in most types of soil, including yards with some clay. Although it requires water during the summer, it likes dry soil. We can help you select a place in your yard or garden that has good drainage and a little shade. Unlike many drought tolerant California plants, golden yarrow needs a respite from the sun during the day. It should be planted near trees, taller shrubs or in an area where your house will give it some shade.

If you think golden yarrow would look great by your Pismo Beach patio or if you’d like to learn more about using it in butterfly gardens, get in touch with us today.

Things to Remember:

  • Golden yarrow has a long flowering season
  • It needs twice monthly watering
  • It should have partial shade

If you need help with your garden or landscaping, contact Evergreen Landscaping today at (805) 773-5395.

28 Jun 2016

Texas Paintbrush

Texas Paintbrush-300Texas paintbrush blooms in spring and reseeds itself in autumn. The scarlet parts of the bloom aren’t petals or leaves. They’re called “bracts,” and they hide the actual flower, which is green and contains the seeds.The flower is often described as looking like a tiny pouch. Texas paintbrush tolerates drought well but will require a little water.

An Interesting Beauty

Texas paintbrush will bring brilliant color to your drought resistant garden. People are usually surprised to discover that Texas paintbrush is a parasitic plant. Like mistletoe growing on an oak tree, Texas paintbrush requires a host plant. When growing wild, it often partners with sagebrush or golden yarrow. In your yard, it needs to be placed close to sturdy perennials or wild grasses so that its roots can burrow into their roots to feed off the other plants.

There is controversy as to whether the Texas paintbrush is native to California, Texas or both. Many wildflowers and herbs fall into the category of plants with “paintbrush” in their name. What’s certain is that this stunning herb with its red bracts is found growing wild on the prairies of Texas and in both our California deserts and coastal areas. When you plant Texas paintbrush in your garden, you get beauty and a conversation starter.

Soil Requirements

Like most drought resistant plants, Texas paintbrush likes soil with good drainage. A sandy yard is ideal for Texas paintbrush. Texas paintbrush also does best in soil that’s on the acidic side. We can add nutrients to your soil that will increase acidity and make a friendlier growing environment for Texas paintbrush. Texas paintbrush is a good choice for rocky soil and sloping areas.

If you need help with your garden or landscaping, contact Evergreen Landscaping today at (805) 773-5395.

15 Jun 2016

Gardening Terms You Should Know and Understand

On the surface, gardening and planting seems fairly easy. You put seeds or plants in the ground and wait… but there is a lot more to it than that. And that’s where a professional landscaper, such as those at Evergreen Landscaping, can help you. There are several gardening terms you should know that your landscaper will use. Understanding these gardening terms will help you when you’re planning your garden.

Gardening Terms

  • Annual – an annual is a plant that completes its entire life cycle in one year. It grows, reproduces and dies all in one year.
  • Biennial – this plant lives two years. It grows the first year and reproduces and dies in the second.
  • Compost – this is organic material in various states of decomposition. Gardeners create a compost pile from lawn clippings, leaves, and organic waste material from their homes.
  • Dead-Head – Dead-heading a plant means removing the flowers once they have wilted after blooming. This is done by pinching off the flower below the petals. It can help further growth and also prevent the plant from self-seeding.
  • Direct Sow – this means that seeds can be directly planted into the soil or garden where you want the plant to grow. There is no need to start the plants inside first, for instance.
  • Germination – this is the stage where the seed starts to change. It will start to sprout and your plant will begin its growth. It is helpful to know how many days it will take a certain seed to germinate.
  • Hardiness Zone – this is a term you will hear your landscaper use a lot. The hardiness zone is a geographically-defined zone that will determine what plants will grow well in your area. Your zone is assigned a number from 1-11. You want to use plants that are hardy for your zone for best results.
  • Hardy Perennial – Perennials are plants that live for more than two years. A hardy perennial will usually have a lower zone limit to which it is hardy, and that means it will withstand the weather in that zone year-round without having to be brought inside.
  • Mulch – Mulch takes various forms. It can be well-rotten manure, compost, gravel, or other material that is used to retain moisture in your garden, hold back weed growth and/or improve soil composition. This is usually spread in a thick layer either over seeds or around plants. In areas prone to frost and freezes, it can be used to keep tender plants from experiencing those harsh weather conditions.
  • Pistil – the pistil is the female reproductive portion of the flower of a plant. It is the seed-bearing part of the flower.
  • Pollination – this is the transfer of pollen between plants. Pollination is needed for fruits and vegetables to grow. This can be accomplished via wind, pollinating insects, animals or humans.
  • Rhizome – this is a horizontal stem that grows along the ground or underground. New plants can sprout up along these rhizomes, allowing one specific plant to take over an entire garden bed or area. Many ground cover plants spread via rhizomes.
  • Stamen – this is the male reproductive portion of the flower. It contains the pollen.
  • Pruning – If you are unfamiliar with pruning trees, shrubs and plants, it is best to either have a professional landscaper handle the pruning for you, or at the very least let them explain how to prune each of your trees and shrubs. Pruning is more than just cutting haphazardly. It is a careful and deliberate cutting of certain branches or parts of branches to increase tree health and for aesthetic appeal.

Gardening and landscaping do not have to be a mystery. But it is definitely best to start out with a professional landscaper who can help you to understand these gardening terms, and the many other terms regarding gardening and landscaping.

At Evergreen Landscaping we help you do just that. We’ll get the exact look and feel you want for your property while using the perfect plants for the central coast area.

Contact us today or call 805-773-5395.

01 Jun 2016

Cardinal Catchfly

Cardinal CatchflyAre you longing for a brilliant pop of color for your drought resistant Pismo Beach garden? Cardinal catchfly, a native to our area, is a welcome alternative to succulents and wild grasses. Cardinal catchfly, also called Indian pink, Mexican pink and Mexican campion, is a saffron-colored flowering herb. Each stem bears multiple blooms.The blooms have long stamens that are fully revealed as the flower unfolds. Cardinal catchfly needs a bit of extra care compared to some other drought tolerant plants, but it also has some special qualities you’re sure to love.

Perennial Beauty

Cardinal catchfly will return every year to brighten your garden. The plant starts growing from a central taproot, and then drops its seeds at the end of the growing season, starting new plants. After a few years, your garden will be a riot of blossoms from May through August. The new blossoms are true orange and slightly resemble trumpet flowers. If you want cut flowers for a dramatic centerpiece, wait until the petals are fully opened and the stamens are showing.

The stems of cardinal catchfly can reach heights of two and a half feet, but usually top out at two feet or slightly less. This makes it an ideal flower to plant in front of tall grasses or along garden fences. It looks beautiful mingled with flowers of similar or slightly taller height. Cardinal catchfly complements red lava rock and red mulch. It also adds color to your rock garden.

Special Planting Needs

Unlike many drought resistant California plants, cardinal catchfly does best with a little shade. It’s often found growing near pine trees in the wild. You can still have cardinal catchfly in your sunny garden. We can tell you the best place in your yard to plant cardinal catchfly. It typically needs water only twice a month.

We recommend planting cardinal catchfly with plants that can help support the heavily flowered, delicate stems. You can also use a trellis to support the plants and to add an attractive landscaping element to your garden.

Cardinal catchfly is the perfect drought tolerant flower for a sloping yard with lots of gravel in the soil. It also grows well in sandy yards. The most important thing is that your soil has good drainage.

Worth the Care

Cardinal catchfly is more than just a drought tolerant beauty. It’s a favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies. If you love the idea of sitting on your patio watching hummingbirds dart back and forth, plant cardinal catchfly. Cardinal catchfly is also an important element of a bird and butterfly garden. It’s the perfect plant if you’re trying to attract pollinators. More pollinators in your garden mean more beautiful flowers.

 

Things to Remember
• Cardinal catchfly is a short to medium flower
• Cardinal catchfly requires support due to weak stems
• It needs twice monthly watering and good drainage

 

Because cardinal catchfly requires some special care, it’s important to work with a landscaper if you’re considering adding it to your yard. Please contact us if you’re interested in cardinal catchfly and other pollinator friendly, drought resistant plants. We’ll help you design your garden, and then we’ll do all the maintenance.