Whenever people ask me how to get started on redoing their yards, I always tell them to start with the first thing they see when they get home. Pulling in the driveway or opening the gate to a beautiful garden that makes your heart skip a beat will give you the inspiration to keep going during the challenging times. That is why I'm going to focus on redoing this little space that faces the front gates in SJC this fall. The 'Joseph's Coat' roses that are wrapped around the columns have never been happy. They are one of my husband's favorites and I put them in to please him and because they are one of the few climbing roses that don't look terrible against that bold gold color of the stucco. I only get a few blooms every year and like most roses grown against a building, they are prone to being attacked by rose slugs. Not happy. I have put in a number of groundcovers that have never taken off and even the iris and daylilies rarely bloom. I'm assuming that because it is a northeast facing wall, things just aren't getting as much light as they would like. That and maybe the meager water is not their optimum cultures. Although the lavender does do well, it is a few years old and ready to be replaced.
Here is a picture I took a few years ago (at twilight to show the lighting I'm assuming). This was as good as it ever got for this little vignette. You can see that the sago palms that were there when we moved in have grown a lot. the only problem is one is a male and one is a female so they have grown very differently and have lost their symmetrical aspects. I would love to pull out the female (on the right in the photos) because the sharp fronds scratch those walking by, but it is clearly the most robust. Hmmm....... decisions, decisions. Anyway, this just does not delight me and it is time for a change!