For various reasons, an olive tree is going to be the main feature. I might even be crazy enough to plant a fruiting variety, and make my kids cure olives for me when they get older. Four is good age to start working with lye, right?
Around this olive I wish to plant a kind of mini-garrigue, mostly of subshrubs and annuals. The plantings will be artificially dense in a vain attempt to suppress the weeds, and require no summer water. Thus: mediterranean-climate plants. It would be nice if it looked "good" in a front yard kind of way year-round.
I want a limited color palette of blues, whites and yellows, though lavender will be involved, by decree from on high (my wife) -- I will probably stick with L. x intermedia cvv. I'm also into Eriogonum latifolium and E. umbellatum; Penstemon heterophyllus and maybe palmeri. Sisyrinchiums. Salvia chamaedryoides, open to suggestions for California natives. For annuals, I'm looking at the usual suspects from Larner Seeds.
A spiky Phormium would be so sweet in here! Sorry, no: mediterranean only, dude. I'm considering (Hespero)Yucca whipplei or various Aloes or even Watsonias. Nothing too sharp: I don't want my kids to lose an eye (I've got a Puya out back for that purpose). However, anything to discourage the cats from shitting therein is a plus.
So what should I plant? Something I HAVE TO TRY? Something I listed a boondoggle? Crowdsource my yard!* Before you jump in, consider these limitations:
- approx. 17x15"
- north-facing: FULL sun all summer, total shade all winter
- soil is clay, but with decent drainage
- this is Oakland, CA coastal sage scrub, zone 10A (alleged)/Sunset 17
*ironic. but srsly., please help!