I sit slumped in the kitchen chair, eyes tight between a furrowed brow, nails drumming the table like a band on parade. " I need to redo the front garden". His mouth drops open in surprise, words suspended between us laundry on a line.
"Why?" He's cautious and irritated, the current shrubs big enough, green enough to suffice as landscaping. "Because the shrubs are miserable and the garden looks like Ick."
"Ick? What the hell does Ick look like?"
I stare at him, determined. "Every time I walk past the garden all I can think is 'Ick'. I need to de-ickify it. Now."
So I did.
I added a butterfly garden to the front a few years ago. At first I only used annuals but added orange milkweed (asclepias tuberosa), purple and pink salvias and yellow and white coreopsis in fall 2012.
I sowed annual California poppies last fall to remind me of my home state.
The front garden includes shrubs as well as lots of perennials. This area is full of daffodils in the spring. A giant 'Baltyk' clematis devours the front railing every year. This year it's also eaten a birdhouse and part of a pot. (It's been raining a lot lately so the pics are all a bit dim.)
The butterfly garden also includes catmint, which thrives in the reflected heat off the asphalt driveway. This area receives full morning sun for about 7 hours and bright afternoon shade.
late June 2013
This bed is also full of coreopsis but they haven't bloomed yet.
I love my new handmade Welcome sign! It's from Scenic Signs in Canada but they also ship to the US. I made the pot. It was an excellent excuse to smash plates.
I used to have loads of daylilies between the grass and the thyme, but I got so mad at them last summer for not being drought-tolerant that I ripped them out and replaced them with two more 'Little Princess' dwarf spirea. Dumb name, great shrub. Spirea grow quickly so it won't take too long for them to fill in. I'm still waiting for the daffodil foliage to die back.
White 'Delta Dawn' phlox and obedient plant grows in a moist spot near the clematis. A mason bee house sits atop the rain barrel.
I've had hollies, rhododendrons, hydrangeas, and loropetalum in this spot under the bay window. The latest victims are two 'Blue Shadow' fothergilla. But one is very blue while the other is very green. Hmmm..... The variegated abelia in the middle is recovering from a lot of winter die back as well as a horrendous attempt at pruning.
The builder planted these Japanese hollies, my only evergreens. I add tons of soil acidifier to them yearly to compensate for the lime that leaches into the soil from the concrete walkway and house foundation. A Dutchman's pipevine is climbing the double column. It looks like a big green meatball.
The plants in these pots died this winter so I'm experimenting with coleus. So far, so good!
'The President' clematis
I prefer to call her 'Madame President'.
The front garden
A giant viburnum trilobum (American cranberry bush) grows along the side of the house underplanted with native yellowroot. I expanded my beds by several feet, purposely breaking our HOA's stupid rule that no bed should be deeper than three feet. My house, my garden, my rules.
Catmint also grows on the other side of the driveway next to a mid-sized lespedeza. Catmint (nepeta) are great for attracting pollinators.
Variegated abelia 'Mardi Gras'