Fall is for Planting

agave garden

provence garden

Perovskia in Provence

Visiting the beautiful Confines’ gardens in Provence provided an enormous dose of inspiration for our own garden back here in Santa Barbara. I confess it was a bit of a shock coming home from France and taking a new look at our gardens. The lack of rain and persistent heat had gifted us with brown dead patches that were let’s just say…uninspiring.

french garden

My backyard wasn’t looking like this…

There was one particular area that was in desperate need of something, anything, to perk it up a bit. As they say, fall is for planting . This fall is really terrific, with the extra sun we’re having, those rays help establish the plantings and let them settle in and get comfortable to really show off come spring.


Out with the brown and in with new drought tolerant options. I began collecting plants all over town,  clustering them together under trees until I had a collection that worked. Planting a garden parallels cooking in the kitchen — it’s best to have all the ingredients in place before starting in on that recipe.

Perovskia is known to get anywhere from 2-4′ in height, so I tucked them in the back to create a tall block of blue.

drought tolerant

Guara found its place nestled around our Tuscan oil pot. While it may look a little sad right now, after we trim it back in January, this perennial should bloom beautifully late next spring.

drought tolerant garden

I was happy to discover white lavender as a cut offering at the flower mart.  I didn’t even know lavender came in white?  We located some plants down at Abe Nursery in Carpinteria —  I thought it would marry nicely with the white guara and perovskia.


The final challenge was finding the right agave. My sweet gardeners help me track down my favorite agave in pups, agave salmiana. I love the contrast of these sculptural beauties mixed with the wildness and whimsy of the other elements.

agave garden

I love the look of grasses, but they have a tendency to take over everything. I went ahead with blue fescues as a border, but I may lose them to the rabbits! Let’s hope Penny can help out on bunny patrol.

garden dog

Which leaves us with the hardest part, waiting patiently for the garden to fill in!

agave garden