Friday, May 6, 2011

Front Yard Update

I went out this morning before it was fully light out to take some photos of what we've done so far in the front yard.  After pricing retaining wall materials, and the amount of work that would be involved, we I decided to just put the fake bricks we already had across, and get the plants in to keep the soil in place.  I also put 3 wash tubs where the dirt is hard to dig, and roots are exposed.  It looks like Heidi approves.

After work yesterday, we bought more fencing like what we have on the east side of the yard.  It's not great quality, but it went up fast, and looks OK.

I have an idea for you garden writers out there.  The next time you write a book with flower bed plans, include photos of actual beds right after being planted, and at different times throughout the season.  That would make people like me feel better about spacing the plants so far apart, and comparing that to how the garden in the book looks.  Also, we could see which plants bloom at about the same time.

I decided to get a number of creeping phlox plants to hold the soil in.  I also put 3 daylilies, one moved from another part of the yard, and two I purchased.  Because of the issue with the slope, I am planting a few more perennials than I planned to.  I want to plant lots of bulbs here, so that there will be lots of color in the spring.

I decided not to make another plan like I did on graph paper before deciding more perennials needed to go in.  I did go by it some, but, like always, put pots here and there, and decided that way.  I was trying to remember how some of the plans looked in the books I've read, to make it a little "dressier" than my other flower beds, but I had trouble visualizing the finished look, and just wanted to get things in.  I figure that I can change things up next year.  I have 4 dahlias planted in the area where the butterfly marker is, and 2 more smaller ones on the other side of the fence.

I'm not finished planting yet. I plan to put a cardinal creeper or cypress vine to grow on the chair trellis.  The area on the right of the photo needs to be planted yet.  The 2 branch slices show where the path will be to get into the sitting area.  On either side of those, are millet plants.  Have you ever grown millet?  I haven't, but it is supposed to get quite tall, and produce seeds for the birds.  The 3 Mexican sunflower seedlings that I started inside are to the left of the wash tubs.  They should get 6 feet tall or more, and provide some privacy to the sitting area, as well as bring monarchs to it.

Here's the view from the front porch.  It doesn't look like much now, but it looks better to me than it did.  We've been told the area where the tree was will sink as the grindings from the tree stump break down.  In time, I'd like to put a brick patio in this area, with spaces for more plants.  We will decide later if we want a small tree or some shrubs, but right now, I put in flowers I like to dry, flowers the butterflies and other beneficial insects like, and some I just like to look at or smell.  (Those are penstemons blooming by the porch.)

I have noticed some of you are advancing into summer weather, and others, are beginning to enjoy the early spring blooms.  Wherever you are, I hope you have lots of good gardening weather.  I've been praying for those who have had the tornadoes and such.


  1. You have worked a small miracle, Sue and once your plants are established everything will meld and fit beautifully! It was a good idea to use what you had on hand (the bricks and galvanized planters)and really, as soon as your plants root themselves and spread, the problem of washaways will no longer be a problem. Well done :)

  2. You are making a lot of progress. Good point about showing those planting beds when they just start and everything looks like mulch. I'm going to try millet this year too. A friend shared some seeds. I hope you have good luck with all your new plants. For the areas you aren't sure about yet, annuals are great to give you color, "work" the soil and give you time to plan. What a great sitting area. I see great summer visits out there with the neighbors.

  3. Hi,

    I can't wait to see your new borders as they mature - I am sure they will look stunning :)

    We're still having warm, sometimes hot and very dry weather. We are supposed to get some thunder storms over the next couple of days and I'm looking forward to the much needed rain... Three times in the past two months, my garden soil has large cracks in it now.

  4. You have done a great job so far, and just wait until everythings grows and fills in, filling your front yard with loads of color, shapes, scents. Love that fencing.

    Happy Gardening ~ FlowerLady

  5. You have really done a wonderful job with the front bed. Without the tree you have all kinds of opportunities for more sun loving plants. I really like the fence Sue. Happy Mother's Day!

  6. Well done. I wished I lived closer, I could give you some pass along perennials. I think you made some good decisions. The important thing is that you like it!

  7. In a way, it must be kind of fun to start over fresh with a brand new garden area! Good luck! I only have one grandchild, our little Benjamin. I did get to travel up to see him for Easter.

  8. I have grown millet - it's fun to watch the birds sit on the stalks of it that we tied to the feeders in the Winter. Did you really think you'd have everything where you wanted it this first year? lol. That's part of what is so fun about flower beds - changing things up year after year as they grow and need to be divided and new plants find there way to your garden. You've got a good start and everything looks well though out - I can't wait to see how it progresses this year.

    I've been planting every day, and I swear, someone comes every night when I'm in bed and adds more seeds and plants to the flat that need to be planted.

    We pretty much have our retaining wall done and just need to cap it off and let things grow around it to see what needs to be changed up for next year. Thank Heaven it didn't rain this week and wash our slope down before we could get it done!

  9. Wow! What a transformation. The fence really adds a nice touch, Sue. I love it. I always space my plants close together because I like instant gratification. As they mature I move them. A philosophy that might not be "correct" but I don't care. :)

  10. Sue, it is looking very good. It is hard that first year before things fill out, but it will save you a lot of time later. You might consider some annuals this first year to fill in.

    I wish I was closer to share some plants with you. Some daylilies spread more than others so a few of those types will give you fast coverage.

  11. Sue, what a wonderful job! It really looks great and I can't wait to follow along with this garden, over the summer.

    I like your idea of moving things around later. It's hard to visualize things right now, when everything's so small. Later in the summer you'll be able to get a much better idea of where you want to move things and what else you might want there.

    I think gardens are always a 'work in progress' that way!

  12. The fence will be fun to plant on as well. Very nice progression. Happy Mothers Day

  13. You managed to make it look as if everything had been there a while already. You work fast. Mexican sunflowers are a fav of mine and the butterflies. Volunteers are gaining some size here now.

    You can see progression of one of my beds that started from scratch Here. It has pics of nothing but rocks sitting there moving through several seasons.

    Its final look last fall is Here. I use a mix of reseeders, perennials, shrubs and small trees.

  14. Never seen that view of your front yard before..huge. Like the fencing,wonder if I could use that behind one of my beds.
    You're doing a lot of changes to your yard and it's looking like you'll have a great summer.

  15. It looks wonderful Sue! I love the seating area and how it will be surrounded by blooms in the summer. You've reminded me, I was going to get some Mexican sunflower in this year. My friend had that last year and it was covered in butterflies.

  16. Cool!! I can't wait to see this garden grow!

  17. Did I miss what is in the tubs, or will that be a separate post?

    Thank you for visiting my butterfly post. Beautyberry is not on any list I've seen as a host plant. Butterflies do nectar on the little pink blossoms. The wild garden where I have lantana and beautyberry as well as the host passiflora is planted by nature far away from my house. So many host plants are weeds, like bidens and cudweed and anagalis. I feel a pang every time I pull up cudweed in case it was visited by American Painted Ladies seeking to lay eggs.

  18. Your garden is looking great! I know what you mean about the spacing -- I always want to crowd as much in as possible and often end up regretting it.

  19. Wow, Sue you guys have been doing a lot of work! I can't wait to see pictures as everything begins to grow and change and fill in.
    It looks lovely.

    Happy mom's day!

  20. WoW! Sue..I'm impressed with your front garden it is really looking good, great Job!

    I like the purple Irises, and I think that the creeping phlox is a really nice idea for holding in the soil because it will be pretty and provide the function you need on the slopes. I also like that interesting little statue...I Will check back later to see how everything unfolds.. Nice job!

  21. Great Job, Sue. I like what you guys have done with that area.
    And yes, retain walls can turn out pretty expensive and if you are limited on a budget you just have to go the less expensive way sometimes. But this doesn't mean it will looks cheap, at least not if done right.
    We had planned using rocks for a raised flower bed along our drive but after calculating all the costs we decided for landscaping timbers which cost us only a fractal of money and were much easier to install. And you know what, now I even like the natural look of the wood even better than if the wall was made with rocks.
    Ok, in about 7-10 years we will have to replace it (that's how long the other timbers lasted we had to replace last year) but that's a long time to decide what we will use then.
    Happy Gardening
    Paula Jo

  22. Dear Sue, I said whatever you decided would look amazing and I was right! Great job. I love your dining area. The plantings, fence, bricks, and garden furniture all work well together. Well done. P x


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