It is an early March frosty morning. The sun is just peeking over the horizon. Looking out the kitchen window, the garden is glistening, calling me outside. Grabbing the camera but no coat, hat or gloves, we bound out the front door for some clicking fun. In the ongoing effort to show more long views in addition to the closeups, we go out into the street. A bird is devouring the berries on the Eastern Yahoo. The photographer startles him so he zooms to the telephone wire that feeds into the house next door. He is not the only one who can zoom! Click. What my poor eyesight thought was a robin turned out to be an Eastern bluebird gentlemen. Good morning, Sir, glad to see you partaking of the garden offerings.
When following the street to my house, there is first a steep downhill ride then a ninety degree turn to the right, past an empty lot then past one house that used to be the identical twin to mine before we renovated, then you come upon the Fairegarden abode. This is the view you will see in late winter.
There is no lawn. It was abolished when the first remodel of the house began in June of 2000. Planted into the existing mix of weeds and some grass were various shrubs, the yoshino cherry tree and yellow Acorus gramineus ‘Ogon’. Painstakingly spread on bended knee as the clumps grew large enough to divide, it now fills in the upper level part of the front garden. On the sloping area down to street is Liriope spicata, which is mowed down low in January to better showcase the emerging daffodils and neaten up the scene. In summer, wild violets and strawberries make for a more green sheen but in the cold seasons, it is pure gold.
In the beginning, the under shrub planting was all lambs ear, Stachys byzantina. It was not satisfactory as the lead actor, too messy after blooming and dying out in spots, but it makes a fine edging and is perfect for the mailbox/newspaper corner. Miscanthus sinensis ‘Morning Light’ punctuates each end of this front section and was recently cut down to allow the new growth a better chance to shine. The ferny leaf belongs to Filipendula vulgaris.
Evergreens, including the weeping blue atlas cedar, click here for a story about it, and the colorful twig dogwood family add winter interest. My favorite of those is Cornus sanguinea ‘Arctic Sun’.
Moving east along the street takes us to the next garden bed. Since this was once two properties with two driveways, it allowed for a semi-circle entrance and exit to be fashioned, thus creating the center island. Evergreens are heavily used here with more colored twig dogwoods and crepe myrtles.
The red twigs struggle in our climate, but the yellows, Cornus sericea ‘Flavimarea’ excel. More Liriope was planted in line with that in front of the main house, but has been overrun with thuggish Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Moudry’. Daylilies and wildflowers add color during the growing season. Winterberry hollies offer beauty for humans and berries for wildlife in both the main and center beds.
At the far end there are tall loblolly pine trees with larger shrubs and native trees as understory. Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ has been divided and spread here to fill in with frothy fluff in summer. More Liriope continues to line the space to the curbing. The city agreed to install the curbing after we paved the driveway. Before that, the driveways were gravel and because of the steep slope, stones were always washing down into the street causing unsafe conditions for vehicles and walkers. We had to pay for the concrete only, the city provided the labor. It was a good deal for all concerned.
One of the two Edgeworthia chrysanthas traded places with Arnold and is also doing well after being dug up and moved to the sunnier bed. One remains in the original planting hole near the arborvitae hedge and dwarf Buford hollies. I wonder if it might like to join its sibling up in the real garden? Hmmmmm… (Note: Moving Plants R US)
Speaking of the real garden, here is a view from the Zen Garden looking over the Knot Garden and down the slopes to the main house on the left and addition and two story garage to the right. The tall pine trees that are at the edge of the property can also be seen. This is where the action is, in the back gardens. This is what is shown during regular blog programming. It seemed like a good idea to show the front gardens in winter for a change, something different before the garden revs up for spring.
Previous posts about the front garden:
For more information about how to have a front garden instead of a front lawn, Pam of Digging has written a book, , recently released. This promises to offer lots of ideas and beautiful photos to help replace a traditional lawn.