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Discussion Starter #1
This year we have decided to convert the small grass area in our front yard to CA natives and other drought tolerant plants. When I told my neighbors about our plans, the first question everyone asked was "what will happen to the Halloween cemetery?" It made me smile that our neighbors were as concerned as I was about how to fit the cemetery props into this new landscaping. Some of them were seriously distressed! I'm hoping to utilize the new plants as accents in the cemetery and maybe even find interesting ways to bring more creepiness into the scene through the selection of plants. I'm am thinking of a midnight garden, plants that are silvery, white, black or dark purple. Perhaps a smaller branching manzanita with it's oxblood colored bark. The area will be mulched, possibly with a few stepping stones.

I would love any input the group has regarding plant ideas or if you have a favorite plant that is incorporated in your cemetery scene. Pictures would be great. And if your cemetery is in a planted area other than grass, I'd love to see how you did it. We don't want to put any type of large tree here (have enough in the front already), but smaller bushes could work. The area is full sun, with little rain in the summer so I'll be setting up drip irrigation or watering by hand.

Here is a photo of the cemetery last year. You can see the grass is covered with fallen branches and leaves I "borrowed" from a neighbor's tree (she loves that I come and rake up her leaves only to dump them in my yard!). I imagine I can do the same thing with the new plants, to dirty it up. It will just be more work to remove the leaves post Halloween.

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Succulents -- one of my first loves! I'll leave most of the advice to people who share your climate, but I'll mention a few that might fit the bill.
Aloe cameroii comes to mind-- nice deep red in full sun.
A. vanbalenii, too-- has kind of cool tentacle-like leaves. They redden up when grown hard (full sun and in cool fall weather.)
For smaller plants, there are some Wicked looking Dyckias, like D. fosteriana 'Cherry Cola' (a gorgeous dark purple to back) but they're more than just wicked-looking. Their hooks tear flesh! Mangave 'Bloodspot' is less wicked.
http://www.finegardening.com/sites/finegardening.com/files/styles/3up_square_lg/public/images/image-collection/dyckia_fosteriana_cherry_cola_lg.jpg?itok=PaF_woyj
White leaves, Kalanchoe hildebrandtii 'Silver Spoons' is nice. K. millottii, K. tomentosa, K. beharensis all a bit ghostly looking at night.
There are loads of red or white little plants (more my forte, because I have to keep mine indoors in winter) but I'm trying to think of potential landscape plants.

In the mean time, you might enjoy giving something like this consideration-- or just looking:
http://harmonyinthegarden.com/wordless-wednesday-succulent-people/

I hope you'll keep us updated. I'd love watching this develop!
 

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We live in Northern Cali & have a drought tolerant front yard...mostly bark & some drought tolerant plants/grasses...i think the graveyard looks really good in the bark...plus it is really easy to install the tombstones (I move the bark out of the way, attach to ground & put the bark back to make the tombstone appear buried in it) & you can mound up the bark to make it look like a fresh grave if you want...Plus some of the drought tolerant plants look REALLY good for pirate too (extra bonus :)
You can see some of our larger drought tolerant plants off to the sides of the pics
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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for sharing your ideas - every suggestion helps!

ooojen, I *love* that dyckia. I've got to find one now!! And those succulent people are fantastic - what a cool creation. Maybe I could leave a skelly in the front year-round with succulents growing through it. That might be too much for the DH and neighbors ;)

tzgirls123, thank you so much for sharing your photos. The tombstones and columns do look good in the mulch - nothing seems out of place. I've just got to embrace this and turn the yard into an overgrown, crumbling, leaf scattered cemetery in October.
 

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Oh, this post is great! I'm a big fan of gardening, although I'm on the East Coast so my climate is different than yours. I used to live in CA for a while though, so I have some familiarity with a few plants that I really liked having when I lived there.

We are on a corner lot and our Halloween display is in & around a few of our garden beds. By the time October comes around here, most of our stuff is dying back and is brown & crunchy, but there are still leaves on some of the trees and we do have some pampas grasses & other native grasses that are still green. I would like to incorporate more of the plants into our display - sometimes we will use cut back branches in the display and we grab leaves to scatter too. We also buy cornstalks & haybales although those are not from our own yard. :)

Here are some photos that I think bring great inspiration for a "garden-like" cemetery. The first one isn't for your climate but I think it does a great job of pulling together the plants with the gravestones. The other two are drought-tolerant yard setups that I think would incorporate a cemetery scene very well.

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I think that native landscaping in CA lends itself really well to the wild-west style of Halloween displays. If you really want to go drought-tolerant, then having some hardscape like pathways or a small patio would also be a wise use of space, and you could turn that into a great display spot at Halloween for some of your bigger props.

This photo is a nice end result - the yard is sort of layered into two levels but still has some trees & greenery:

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Something else to keep in mind is that some plants produce flowers & stalks that may die back but if you keep them & let them dry out, they can be used as-is or spray painted and put around your yard too. For example, alliums & agapanthus make great seed heads/seed pods.

Succulents in a drought garden could be substituted for the mosses shown here:

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Eventually I would like to mesh my yard landscaping more into our Halloween scene too. I think it's important to imagine pathways for TOTers as you plan the yard, and think about how big plants or trees will get so they don't eventually overwhelm the space.

I'm interested to follow along as you come up with your plan!
 

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Also, here is a pic of the tree in the center of our front yard. Our display is sort of U-shaped around this tree, so you can view it from the street or from our front steps. We have a few items in the bed of ivy that surrounds the tree. The black-fabric ghoulie in the front of the bed is a pop-up thing to startle people walking by. The whole bed is ringed with the cat-tail plants.



Here's more of the front of house view:



 

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ooojen, I *love* that dyckia. I've got to find one now!!
Annie's Annuals (& Perennials) has them listed, but inventory isn't always up to date with the website. They're not too far away from you though. If you were serious, and heading that direction, you could give them a call.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Annie's Annuals (& Perennials) has them listed, but inventory isn't always up to date with the website. There not too far away from you though. If you were serious, and heading that direction, you could give them a call.
Yep, I've got a whole long list of plants I plan on checking for at Annie's! Gotta sheet mulch the grass and then the shopping can begin!
 

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My brain knows the difference between "there" and "they're", but my typing fingers don't always consult my brain before they go to work.
Enjoy your shopping trip! I've never been to Annie's, but I've heard good things on plant boards.
 

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Discussion Starter #13

Here are some photos that I think bring great inspiration for a "garden-like" cemetery. The first one isn't for your climate but I think it does a great job of pulling together the plants with the gravestones. The other two are drought-tolerant yard setups that I think would incorporate a cemetery scene.
Thank you for all the great suggestions, J&M! I've found some CA natives and other drought tolerant plants that I think will work. Now I've got to narrow down my list on Pinterest. I like how you used the grasses to hide a pop up scare. Great idea!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The grass is gone and the drought tolerant landscaping is in! I just started putting the cemetery together and thought I'd show you some of the early results. I will add more photos to the album as I add details to the cemetery. Check it out here
 

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Nice look. The first thing I thought of when you said drought tolerant was also that Ghosttown, wild west appearance. I could see some vultures and dried out husks of skeletons accenting your graveyard. I also feel your cemetery sign already fits this theme. Anyways, I'm sure you will have fun expanding and working on your graveyard in its new environment for years to come.
 
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