Now take a look at those picturesque cool & green looking paradisaic garden scenes. Who wouldn't want such a Paradisaic settings in their backyard ? Unfortunately if you reside in dry hot regions of the southwestern United States you may have to rethink your gardening plan. You do you ? Well, rethink in terms of planning and strategy. The city of San Diego CA has a mild mediterranean climate and you can growth just about anything that grows anywhere else on the planet, with a few rare exceptions. Travel further inland from the coastal areas of San Diego and it's a different story. The climate is much hotter and drier in summer and such settings as pictured above may take awhile. This is if you have the patience to create a microclimate setting. In the case of the Woodland Garden Theme, you'll have to plant some of those pioneer species we wrote about early. In this case in the form of a healthy tree cover canopy. Every plant has specific watering, fertility, sun/shade requirements that may differ from other plants. This is true of even native herbaceous and shade loving plants that you see on the forest floor of those pics above. Truly, in other localities where they can get away with open environment planting, So-Cal Gardeners will have to create a micro-climate. You should know all those requirements of any plants you purchase from the Nursery. Your local area Nurseryman should be helpful in the info department. Here's a pic below that beautifully illustrates just what takes place in nature where plant succession is normal and necessary. None of those delicate plants will appear in direct sunlight at the beginning. It may even take several decades. However, in a gardening situation there are things we can do to speed things up.
I actually did this at my mother's place in El Cajon just before I left in 2006. Before creating a cool forest floor scene, you first need to architect a design which may take a few years to accomplish. Like anyone else, I have that same impatient human desire for instant landscape. And I want it yesterday! Unfortunately urban landscape life or even life in the real wild world doesn't exactly work that way. So you need to create a woodland tree shaded canopy before those soft delicate plants can be installed where you want them.Now again, I'm as impatient and excited as much as the next person, but for me I personally like to choose plants that are in one gallon pots. I know the temptation is to get a Five Gallon Container or even a large Box Tree if you can afford it, but I plead with you, please resist that temptation!
That is pretty much the size I planted in my mother's backyard. They were all no more than six inches tall. No seriously, they were! What I did was create two large curved raised planted beds. What I did was plant them in groupings of three to a bed spaced five foot apart. I wanted to replicate what you see in nature where California Sycamores can often be seen growing in groups of several individuals or at least the same older trees are actually multi-trunk as a result of some suckering from decades previous. Even some storm damage event may have caused this picturesque scene, but nevertheless, that was the design I wanted. So Six, six inch high one gallon Sycamore Trees were planted in groups of three at 4 or 5 foot apart from each other. Here is what they looked like in the Spring of 2011 at five years of age.