When Jacob and I first moved into our house, our landscape was quite green and super lush. However… all that green goodness was actually badness- it was all ivy. The Russian River area over the years has been almost completely taken over by this intrusive plant, and one of my missions from the start has been to obliterate this nasty plant (it harbors rats people!). While last Summer I made great headway in the removal part, I did not replace the ivy with anything and we were left with a dirt moonscape in many places.
This is now slowly but surely changing! This Spring and Summer I’ve been planting rubus calycinoides (aka Creeping Bramble or Creeping Raspberry) like crazy. It lays low (so no rat mansions here), is drought tolerant, does great in the shade, AND has tasty fruit that looks like salmon pink blackberries! What’s even cooler? They seem super happy where I’ve planted them and have started to take off. While the dirt is definitely still the majority, it will quickly be overtaken by this ground cover.
Another plant I’ve gotten very excited about is the fern. Ferns grow naturally here, but I found and planted some awesome ones from nurseries around the area and I am so happy with them! I love ferns, they come in so many varieties and are also friends of shade. While some species require some more water, we are still not using much to feed these guys because our soil stays moist year-round, a fern paradise!
I also planted a beautiful Japanese fern, but it unfortunately died when the big heat wave at the end of September/beginning of October happened. It made me very sad! I am going to try again in the spring.