Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Garden Bloggers Design Workshop- Front Yards Revisited

I have an old injury on my foot that is bothering me today, so my plan for the evening was to catch up on my blog reading. Well, I clicked on links to different things others were referring us to, and I ended up on Gardening Gone Wild's Design Workshop on front yards. They said it's been done before, but people are interested in ideas for their front yards, and, like me, there are some who are new to blogging. Heidi and I went around the yard, taking photos to participate for the second time, so now, I'll have to do my blog reading, hopefully, tomorrow. I don't remember which other workshop I participated in, but it may have been the one on wildlife in the garden.

I almost hesitate to participate in this one, because when someone complimented the design of my new bed in a previous post, I had to laugh at myself. I had written out several plans on graph paper, but when it came time to plant, I couldn't find the plans. Later, when I found the plans, I saw had not really followed any of them. As I add to the bed, I eyeball things, and aim for some kind of balance, but I can see plants that may need to be moved at some point. It's OK, because I am a plant collector, and not a landscaper. I think I'm going for an informal cottage style. Someone may get an idea or 2 from my hodge podge methods. Speaking of which, one of the things that happened accidently at first, but now, is intentional, is that each bed has at least one kind of plant that is also in another flower bed. Not all kinds of plants are in more than one, though.

Here is the corner, which gives the blog its title. We've lived here for 11 years, and the various planting areas have different times they were started. The curved area here was just planted last year, and I was going to put more in it this spring, but we have been given notice that our street is going to be resurfaced, and the curbs are going to have to be dug out 2 feet into the yard. They may not go into the curved part, but I may move some things from the straight part to there when the time comes. I am waiting for the 2 weeks notice they say they are giving us before digging anything out. The large bed, in the back of the photo, was started last June, after my husband, Larry saw I wasn't going to change my mind about wanting the circle bed, that was already there, added on to. I was tickled that there were no arguments about the size as he was cutting the sod.

This bed was started the year after the one on the other side of the sidewalk was, which was put in several years ago, when they had to dig in our yard in order to replace our neighbors' water main.

I planted some of the same plants across from each other, but also some different. I aimed for similar size or shape when I did that. It didn't work out perfectly, as even the plants that are the same, aren't necessarily the same size. I planted different kinds of perennial geraniums and grape hyacinths across the front. I like to include ornamental and some culinary herbs in my flower beds. The plant in the lower left by the sidewalk is winter savory, which I cook with a little. Soon, it will have white flowers, and I hope to cut some to dry before that happens. The plant across the sidewalk from it is germander. It used to be larger, but died back some last year.

Liatris and fireworks goldenrod are a couple of my favorite plants. The baby's breath on the left is doing better than usual. I have trouble keeping it alive and thriving. The one on the other side is not blooming as well. (They are both shown in the previous photo, but it's hard to see the one on the right.)

I've mentioned that there was some tense discussion about the size and shape of this bed, which I've never been happy with, but we compromised, and if Larry would have had his way, it would have been smaller. I think he's finally decided I am not going to stop taking care of the beds, and he really does like them after all. I was thrilled this spring when he asked me if I want to take the bed across to the property line, because the grass wasn't doing well! It would have been done by now, but we have to wait for the curb to be fixed. I should go ahead and start getting the soil ready so he won't be inclined to change his mind.

I realized I didn't take any pictures of the top of maple tree Larry and his dad moved from the neighbors' yard when he was a boy. I think our neighbors wish they hadn't when the "helicopters" fall into their yards and then sprout. So, here is the tree with a few leaves showing, and a long view of the yard.

We have a lot of cement on our property, so I like to have tubs here and there. We also like to place yard decorations, some not made for such here and there. (The items on the trellis to help the vines keep connected were not originally intended for such use.) I planted 2 beauty berry and a butterfly bush next to the sidewalk this spring. The planter Larry's dad built around the tree needs to be repaired. Larry talks about increasing the size of it, or taking it out, and piling dirt around. I'm not thrilled about that. In the mean time, I'm not planting much in the planter. If anyone has any idea, I'd like to hear them. I think Skeeter gave some plans on repairing it, but Larry hasn't decided if he wants to keep it. There are only about 4 feet to the planter in front of the house.

This bed faces south, but gets shaded by the tree. I have hellebores next to the house, and several kinds of heucheras, as well as an assortment of other plants. The vine is a honeysuckle a neighbor lady gave me when we first moved in. The peonies were planted by Larry's mom.

I like this clematis, but it does not climb on its own, so I have to tie it to the trellis and porch railing. We had to take part of the steps off the front porch, because they were ready to give out, and we didn't want anyone to get hurt. We have had estimates to fix them, but people want to replace the whole porch. When we first moved in, the people who did some repairs wanted to put a deck there, and I said I did not want a deck on the front of my house. Maybe we should have had them do it. I really like the porch, though, and feel we should try to find a way to save it. A neighbor guy said he'd help Larry repair the steps, but he didn't know how much to charge, and we haven't heard back from him.

This photo was taken after Heidi and I had come in, and I realized I hadn't taken a picture of the steps.

Another project of Larry's is to set these stones down so they can be walked on. He wanted to get them because a path was getting worn, and there were patches of dirt where no grass was growing. The new bed is to the right, and ahead is a butterfly bush that the butterflies and bees love. The evergreen bushes were already there, and are something I would not have thought of to plant, but I'm glad they are there, because the wildlife in the yard seem to like them.

Heidi wants to show you that when you live on a corner lot, more than your front yard is visible from the street. This started out with a small area by the egress window, which is under the ladder, and then each spring, I asked to extend it, until it reached the whole length of the house and fence to the shed. It has mostly yellows, blues, and purples, but in the last couple of years decided if I liked a flower, it could go in here, and be a "splash" of something other than the main colors. Also, I like having different sizes and shapes of leaves. Lately, I've been choosing plants that attract butterflies or hummingbirds. I've talked enough, now it's Heidi's turn.


"Let's go back to the front yard."

"This way":

"Come this way, by the fire hydrant that got painted last year, to another project that needs to be finished."

"Are you coming?"

"Over behind me, the landscape timbers that Larry's dad put in are rotting, and Larry has been determined to replace them. He got one side done before school was out, but Sue wanted him to wait to do the other side, and now it's been raining a lot, so he is waiting for things to dry up a bit."

"Sue is worried about this clematis, 'Purpurea Plena Elegans', her favorite flower right now, because it is right next to where he plans on digging. She plans on helping to make sure it's OK."

"Isn't it pretty? It's been blooming several weeks, and none of the flowers have faded yet!"

"If you have extra time, you can click on "Front Yard" and scroll down to see posts from other seasons."


  1. I really enjoyed the tour, thanks! Your home has so much character and adds nicely to the garden. I confess to a bit of impatience with my 2-year-old landscape as I view all of your established beds and the big maple (helicopters notwithstanding). But I'm learning a lot as I try out new plants in my yard and can look forward to the day when it is as full as yours.

  2. Everything looks sooo GREAT !
    You've done so much in such a short period of time.
    Way to go kiddo.

  3. I loved the tour of the yard with your faithful garden helper(-: We had two golden labs before we got Jack. They are wonderful dogs. (-:

  4. Hi Sue~~ Your front yard has so much charm. If I were to drive by, the first thing you'd hear is the screech of my brakes as all thoughts of my destination vanished. I'd think, oh, somebody very creative and very nice lives here. Look at the lush plantings, how they've created curvy beds to break up the lawn. Look at the cool embellishments on the porch. And look at that sweet dog in the window. This person must really love plants. I'd better go before they think I'm stalking them. But I'll remember to take this route next time so I can see the progress.

  5. Thank-you Sue & Heidi for the wonderful tour of your front yard!

  6. I love seeing the difference between seasons! Everything looks fantastic!

  7. Thanks all, Grace, you make me laugh!

  8. I certainly enjoyed my tour of your front yard. Heidi is a lovely tour guide, and your gardens are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.


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