I was really getting the gardening itch in late May, but with all of the traveling we had coming up, it just didn’t make sense to buy a bunch of plants and start a project we couldn’t finish before we left. So, I had to practice patience!
Now that we’re home, we’re diving into some projects, including the front garden. Monday of this week, we had some guys from our church’s youth group come out to help us dig up plants and bushes and move the rock out of the beds. They were offering themselves for hire as a way to raise money for their upcoming service trip, so it was a win-win.
The work was hard and, because of the rain the night before, it was muddy!
Jeff and I worked along side them, so we could get as much done as possible. The boys even chipped in and helped with pulling up weeds, digging up plants, and shoveling rocks. It took four hours, dozens of trips hauling buckets of rocks to the back of the house, and three boxes of pizza and then we were done.
This picture was taken last summer, but this is pretty much how it looked Monday before we started. There were some pretty flowers and plants in there, but they were very haphazard and things had gotten a little out of control during the year the house was vacant before we bought it. There also wasn’t anything in the bed that stayed green through the winter. I basically had a bunch of sticks in the ground for six months.
And this is how it looked when we were done…
Crazy, right?! It’s such a difference. Of course, it’s naked right now, but it’s so nice to have a clean slate.
I ended up pitching everything except for the hostas, which I’ll replant in the bed, but in a different location.
It was such a muddy, messy job that Jeff had to break out the power washer to clean off the sidewalk, the porch, and parts of the driveway.
(Yep, the garage is on the to-do list this summer as well. It’s a disaster and I can feel my temperature rise every time I go in there to look for something.)
Anyway, back to the garden.
So, now that I have a clean slate, we’re going to bring in some top soil and mix it in, just to loosen things up a bit. We’re then going to plant and mulch. Here is a rough sketch of my plan…
I had this vision of a vine growing on a trellis on the right side of the garden and meeting up with another vine that’s growing up the column to the right of the front door and over the porch. In my head, it will add height and frame out the bench in front of the window. Are you seeing it? And, I’m already planning to wrap the vines in white lights during the winter, before they are pruned in early spring.
Then, in front of the porch, we’re planting three as-mature-as-we-can-afford boxwood bushes that will grow into a nice, low hedge. (I’m not sure, yet, if I’ll prune them into a rectangular-shaped hedge or keep them as three individual balls. I drew them as balls, so it was clear there were three bushes.)
Along the sidewalk, I’ll plant some white, flowering annuals, then smaller boxwoods, then the variegated hostas, all in rows that follow the curve of the sidewalk. Now, the big question is what to put in the “middle”. I had originally thought of a small ornamental limelight hydrangea tree, but as I sketched it out, it just looked like too much. I’m going to get everything else planted and then I’ll figure it out.
Any suggestions? I’ve done some searches for garden ideas in this shape and I had trouble finding what I was looking for. I know it’s a common shape in suburbs, though, so I’m hoping some green-thumbed readers will have ideas. I’m considering a concrete bird bath…maybe? Or a low evergreen with a bluish cast? Or putting in some fun annuals that I change out each year? (If you do have plant/bush suggestions, I am sticking with white blooms and a traditional look for the front garden and I’m in zone 4)
Anyway, here is how it’s looking all cleaned up and with the small boxwoods set out…
We went to a nursery yesterday evening and bought some large green velvet boxwoods for along the porch (mature-as-we-could-afford was the second to the largest, which were about half the cost of the largest and only a bit smaller), a couple of sweet autumn clematis vines for the porch, and some diamond frost annuals for along the sidewalk. I am so excited to see everything planted. I’ll share more about the plants and why I picked them in another post. For the larger boxwood, annuals, and vines, I went to a very nice nursery and there was a landscape designer who helped me make the selections based on the look I was going for.
The difficult thing about gardening for me, is that how it looks at the beginning isn’t how it will look in a few months or next year. The unpredictability of the growth of each plant sometimes paralyzes me. One of my friends who consulted with me on this garden shared that she “moves plants around like furniture” and that put me at ease. (Jeff, plug your ears for this part.) If I misstep and something in the front row ends up taller than something in the back, I can just move things around until I get it right.
I’ll share more as we make some progress over the next few days…