I've been gardening, and gardening, and gardening. It's been a learning experience and a good workout. My motto must be, why plant something once when you can plant it three or more times.
I’m working on my biggest yard ever and starting from scratch or something beyond. There are existing beds and messes that I need to clean up. After my success with pavers and a small retaining wall and plantings in the back yard (blogged about that last month), I decided to work on the front yard.
Without any idea of a game plan, I started work on the three front beds: in front of the porch, right side of the yard along the fence and the space between the walkway and fence on the left side.
Round one: The initial clean up --weeding and mulching--before putting out Christmas decorations. In the bed along the walkway, you can see the carcasses of the dead and already shorn bushes that I cut down to ground level.
Round two: I purchased some evergreen shrubs on sale to give the beds some structure. (Perennials will have to come later: too many projects in the mix and not a lot of money to spend.) Everything was very even, balanced and respectable.
And a bit boring. There was no “wow” effect. The plants were small. (Small equals cheap in your basic shrub world, I’m learning.) I’d hang out in the front yard and feel a bit dissatisfied.
So I went back to the hardware store and another garden center and found some great deals: $4 azaleas, a $20 fir-type tree that will only grow 8-10 feet and only requires 36 inches of room and never needs trimming/shaping, some nandina domestica, etc. I also got some wood, a few stones, some cheap cement pavers to put under the stone (so it looks more substantial without paying a lot more money for stones), builders’ sand, pond pebbles, etc.
I spent a lot of time leveling and digging and measuring and learning that good screws are important. (Decking screws are awesome.) The tree, once it grows, will balance out the porch and entryway. The nandina and bear grass, repeated in each bed, will balance out each other. The nandina will have red berries in the winter. The bear grass is trimmed for the winter and hasn’t seen new growth yet. Should see some sprouts this week. The azaleas have white blossoms. There’s white heather, lavender and two types of rosemary. I repeated the same lines with the wood border, the brick (salvaged) mowing edge and the rocks.
Where the flower pot is now, I plan to put a small bench. In fact, I want to make it out of twigs or sticks that I’ve collected.
It’s still not “wow”. Everything needs to grow! But it should look nice.
There’s still a bit to do and some tweaking. I’d love to paint the porch, especially the water meter, but the owner mentioned he will do that. I do want to finish the mowing edge, work on the grass and install the solar path lighting.
I’m still undecided about the highest level in the bed to the right. With the tree so small, it looks oversized. Once the tree grows to its mature height, then it will be balanced. I’m giving it a little while to “grow” on me, but I may just saw off that top layer and use the wood elsewhere. I have more projects in the back yard and any scraps of wood would come in handy! What are your thoughts?
Here's a parting shot of the potted herb garden in the back (my project just this past Sunday).
*Edited immediately after posting to fix picturs, which showed up teenie tiny.*