We moved into our house in August 2006. We being my mom, dad, my son and myself. (Strange living situation I know, but that’s a story for another time.)
There were gardens here, but they had been pretty much ignored and the plants, shrubs and trees within those gardens had been left to fend for themselves. Mom and I spent much of last summer trying to shape things up. Through ruthless trimming, the removal of ancient shrubs, and new shrub and perennial additions, we are finally making some headway.
This is a picture of the front left side garden as it was when we moved in.
At a quick glance it appeared to be a lush and lovely garden, however upon closer inspection it proved to be an overgrown mess. Sweet Woodruff had gone crazy and covered nearly every square inch, lilacs were shooting up everywhere, and besides a few extra large clumps of hosta and one large bleeding heart, there weren’t any other perennials or shrubs occupying this rather large space.
And The Makeover Began…
The clean up started with a major trimming of the lilac. There was a pile of old, dead and brittle branches hiding under the cover of its green leaves. We also cut back or dug up many of the new shoots/suckers that were popping up in undesirable locations. The Sweet Woodruff was plucked, plundered and uprooted until it was greatly reduced and much more manageable. The hosta clumps and the large bleeding heart were divided - the new divisions positioned and replanted.
In the summer of 2007, Mom and I purchased and planted:
- 2 black cedars
- 3 silverleaf dogwoods
- 1 pagoda dogwood
- 1 dwarf mugo pine
- 1 threadleaf cypress
- 1 euonymus
- 3 white spiderworts
- 1 Siberian Bugloss
- 3 shasta daisies
In the fall of 2007, we added multiple spring flowering bulbs - tulip, daffodil, crocus, grape hyacinths, alium, camassia. It’s now spring 2008 and this is what our front left side garden is looking like so far.
Because of all the trimming I did on the lilac, it wasn’t all that pretty to look at last summer. Today it’s covered in buds that are getting ready to pop.
Lots of the bulbs planted in the fall have bloomed and it looks like there are many more blooms yet to come. All of the perennials we added last year have surfaced and the evergreen shrubs are flourishing. The only items not looking so hot are the silverleaf dogwoods and the euonymus - damn rabbits! Mom has pruned the dogwoods to remove chewed branches. As for the euonymus, there’s almost nothing left to prune. We’ll have to wait and see if it comes back.
Another area that received special attention was the garden that runs between the driveway and the house. Sorry no ‘before’ picture. I’ll try to describe it so you can form your own visual. Picture three massive, leggy, top-heavy spirea shrubs all bending towards the driveway. A haircut wouldn’t cut it, so out they came. Their replacements - 3 new spireas plus creeping thyme, Walker’s Low Catmint, apple mint, lamb’s ears, chives, garlic chives, oregano, purple sage, lavender, feverfew, and 3 asters. This garden also received a variety of the spring blooming bulbs.
For the past couple of weeks whenever we opened the garage door we were greeted by scilla and crocus blooms. Those blooms have now been replaced by tulips.
In this bed to the left of the front porch I planted a few of my favorite hostas (brought from my old house), several perennial ferns and some myrtle (periwinkle). We haven’t done much in the area further back. It’s full of lily-of-the-valley and beautiful peonies. When the peonies grow taller they provide great camouflage for the gas meter.
The beds in front of the porch include pyramidal yews, weigela, variegated euonymus and junipers. The only things we’ve added to those beds - crocus and hyacinth bulbs. I think we’ll leave them alone for now.
Mulch was a must for all beds - front, side and back. We loaded it on last summer, but already there are places that require topping up. Ahhh, there’s nothing like the scent of natural cedar mulch! The final touch for our front yard makeover was a black iron fence. It looks great with the old yellow brick of the house. Although it does nothing to keep the critters out of the back yard, it’s wonderful at keeping a certain little someone in.
I’ll be posting pictures throughout the summer so you can see how our garden grows and progresses.
With all the work in the front yard finished for the most part, my big project for this summer will be at the left side of the house behind the fence. I’ve got plans, big plans! Fill you in shortly.