The Polished Pebble

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The beauty of a garden is that every day it changes a bit.  
New seasonal flowers bloom, butterflies perch and flutter overhead and the bees, lizards and small birds hurry about getting on with the business of the day  
 Per usual....I have yet to finish what I started and there are weeds to pull, leaves to rake and chores that have been put off for what ever reason.
Last week I was able to take a week off at home in Santa Barbara....a little staycation....all by myself.  
The plan was to do some shopping, read a book or two and pretty much try to practice the art of doing nothing, which I happen to be terrible at.

Then the garden called....
Hey lady
It's me, your garden....remember those dry creek things you wanted to finish?
Well put that book down and get to work!
 The dry creek beds are a focal point in this Mediterranean garden.  
They actually started out as  a little side project because I had so many rocks and wanted to use them in a creative way that made sense and would cut down on water and maintenance.
 Initially I created boulder platforms to raise the antique pots above the grade.  Then I tied those together with winding stone "creeks" which are filled with succulents.
 A year later the garden has completely filled in 
and there are now two large winding dry creeks on either side of the fountain. 
The succulents have grown much larger and additional plantings of scented thyme, native grasses, geranium and drought tolerant seasonal color fill the little pockets along the creek, spilling out over the stones and onto the gravel

So here is a quick guide to this project.
For a 4 foot long creek you will need:

1.  Rocks : ) large and small around 20 or so
2.  A flat of small succulents, around 32
3.  12@ 4 inch water wise blooming perennials
(lavender, thyme, salvia, dwarf grasses and seasonal color)
3. A large 2.5 cu ft sack of cactus mix or make your own
(1 part native soil, 1 part potting mix, 1 part sand and 1 part pearlite)
4. A sack of beach pebbles .5 cu ft
5. A sack of small gravel 

 The creek should have some sort of starting point, either the edge of your walk way, a big rock or a tree are good choices.  Remember this is not all that scientific and do what feels right for your garden.
I looked through some old gardening books featuring drought tolerant beds for a little inspiration.  Pinterest is also a great resource.

This is the last section of this creek.  
It begins at the gated vegetable garden area and ends at the base of a little deck.
Your creek should have edges to retain the soil but add stones along the center and more randomly at end which allow the plants to spill out into the bed more naturally
 Add soil and fill the cells with succulents leaving the center areas more open
 Add beach pebbles.  
The pebbles can be on top of other rocks, 
in cracks and spilling over into the areas around the creek.
Don't forget to add your color along the borders 
and in some of the larger cells between the rocks
Water well and finish off the creek with the gravel. 
 Here I also planted some larger agave to give some height to the edges.
It won't take long for this to fill in and little to no water is needed.
When choosing your plants think about color.  
Hot colors looks great in really sunny areas.
I also tend to pick succulents that are variegated and grow more vertically in the larger areas and plant small little dwarf varieties in the center
 Vertical perennials surround the creeks and require a bit more water 
but add height and bright splashes of color.

 I hope you give this project a try. 

 Its very creative and the good part is 
you can easily move things around if needed 
to get the look you really want!

Hope your summer is buzzing along....
for daily photos, projects and other good stuff 
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