I want to show you the front garden. There is no lawn here. This older photo shows the group of red barberries, Rose Glo, on the west end of the lot front. These have grown to maturity and now make up a dense, thorny hedge four feet high on their third of this bed. The perimeter along the street and next door driveway is planted with green liriope, the kind with purple flowers. It has been said this is less invasive than the white flowered type, but it still spreads by seed and root. I mow it once a year in winter before the daffodil Salome that is interplanted in it starts showing its tips. Killer is on the arbor trying to eat the house. Not sweet.
Next to the barberries, in the middle section of the front yard of the main house , is the yoshino cherry. It has been pruned to show the center branching but has a ways to go before it looks like the Washington, D.C. trees. It may never look like those but one can dream. Looking scraggly are the west third plantings, azaleas Girard Rose. Their bloom was frozen mid bud this year. They will get about three feet tall and wide. The entire yard is underplanted with yellow acorus grass. Also in there are wild violets and wild strawberry. Sometimes it looks pretty. Barely showing are the six female, two male winterberry hollies under the cherry tree. The streetside two are winter gold, the middle two are sparkleberry, the back two are berry heavy and the males are apollo. Maybe next year they will be photo ready, this year the flowers were killed by the late freeze. I sound like a broken record about that freeze, but you just can’t imagine the devastation to the garden right at its prime showtime.
Now to the good stuff. Early spring reveals the bleeding hearts. I have been trying to spread them through this area but it is slow going. They disappear as soon as the heat comes, which is never predictable, and sometimes are zapped by the equally unpredictable late freezes. But they are worthy of this prime real estate location no matter their brevity. More bulbs have been added since this photo was taken, tulip gregii and some daffodil ice follies, among others.
The day we closed on the purchase of this house two butterfly japanese maples were planted in front of the stoop. I have played with pruning them all sorts of ways and they always recover. If left alone they would grow too large for the walkway to be traversed. Learn from your mistakes. I still like them there however. The pink, white and green variegation is present while the trees are in leaf, sweetly.
Erythronium Pagoda, dog toothed violet is happy here. The house faces north and this spot is mostly shady all year. This bulb needs to be near a walkway where its sweetness can be appreciated. There is a clump beside each of the butterfly maples, the landmark that tells me where they are when they are dormant so they are not disturbed by the random digging gardener.
Another shot of the bleeding hearts. In front of them ,all along the rise from the front yard to the house is a zig zag of blue star junipers. They will top out at less than two feet high and wide, a great groundcover evergreen. Before the blue stars filled out, blue creeping phlox bloomed between each shrub. Japanese painted fern has self sown,(spored?), among the junipers now and is a nursery of movable babies to fill in shady parts of the garden in back. Now that is very sweet, the kind of gardening coup I could not manage if trying to propagate them in a million years.
On the front porch is this lovely planter given as a birthday present before we moved here. It has fine carvings and looks good even empty, but is never that. The gold edged ivy is a constant, it gets a pinkish veil in cold weather. Japanese painted fern is there also and is a good mix of colorful foliage in spring, summer and fall. These sweet little whisker pansies are too cute though they will be crowded out once the ferns reanimate.
The front area has suffered since the garage now has cars instead of stuff living there. The auto door openers let us drive right into the garage, not park in the driveway like we did for so long. We can come into the house through the garage without using the front door, so the eye of the gardener doesn’t fall upon the needs and wants of the plantings there. That will have to be rectified. Another item for the list. There’s always next year!
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