Thomas J. Story
Before new landscaping awakened Betty Norlander's flower bed in Los Altos, California, the view through her living room window was anything but inspirational. Plants in this shapeless 15- by 40-foot plot struggled in heavy soil, and weeds were hard to control.
To overhaul the sunny bed, Norlander called on Mountain View, California, garden designer Gay Bonorden Gray (650/969-9523). She shaped the space with graceful curves, amended the soil with compost, and installed drip irrigation. Gray and Norlander then chose plants for year-round color, ease of maintenance, and drought-tolerance.
Now, hot pink 'Flower Carpet' roses ― along with perennials like blue hibiscus, bougainvillea, violet butterfly bush, and Mexican sage ― offer vivid color from spring through fall. Dahlias and gladiolus accent the bed in late spring and summer. In winter, nandina and variegated flax sustain the show with eye-catching foliage.
Most of the plants only need cutting back in late winter or dividing every few years. All Norlander has to do is relax and enjoy the view.