A Re-do Required

During this time of waiting, while it rains or snows daily and is too cold to work outdoors, I looked through photographs taken over the past year.  It has become obvious  that the Front Garden is just not acceptable.  Oh, there are late-June and July days that it looks pretty good, but there are bare spots even then.  I think it needs a re-do, a makeover to give it structure, or “bones.”  Here’s how the garden looks today:  Front Garden 2-28-18 compressed  How could I not notice how bleak it is?  I rarely use the front door, but that’s really no excuse.  It’s just poor, poor planning.  I won’t even use the word “design.”  Here’s it is at the end of March last year, filling in and greening up, but still lackluster despite the first daffodils.Front gard Mar compr    And here’s how it looked mid-April.  Front Bed mid-April compressed  Nasty bare spot at the bottom right, and the ugly electric meter in the far corner detract from the beauty of the tulips.  I’m wondering if I’m allowed to plant something in front of the meter to screen it now that the “meter man” just drives by and points a reading device at it.  Gone are the days when they actually came up the driveway, walked to the meter and recorded the numbers.  But, I digress…..  By mid-June, the annuals are spreading a bitFront bed mid-June compressed  and the daylilies are beginning to add lots of color.  It needed more height in the center, but the two clumps of tall Oriental lilies certainly aren’t the answer.  Front garden 7-29-17  Late July is probably this garden’s best show, but it goes downhill fast after that.  Once all the daylilies are gone the zinnias have to carry the load, and last year’s tall zinnias were disappointing.  And, as soon as frost grips the annuals, it’s back to photo 1.  For months….and months.

I’m thinking of adding evergreens, maybe a half-circle from one inside shutter to the other, and another grouping of 3 boxwood balls on the right side to mimic the left ones.  However, right now, the boxwoods are looking rather beige.  It’s been a very, very harsh winter, and they probably should have been wrapped in burlap.  Wouldn’t that have added greatly to the loveliness?  An upright evergreen to screen that meter corner, if I’m allowed might help and I’m pondering planting one of the tree roses in the back center, within the new low half-circle of shrubbery, maybe yew?  All the plants now in that small half-circle will need to be removed, and I think I’ll keep it clear except for a planting of lily tulips.  And I’d remove the front fringe of sod (which I have to clip by hand anyway so it’s a bother) and plant even more annuals (all the little black dots represent various annuals and low-growing perennials) along the sidewalk.  So, it would look something like this:  Front garden revision compressed  Or, is the giant Smiley face even worse?????  Maybe a solar fountain would be better in the center.  Or a tree hydrangea?  The garden faces east by the way.  Suggestions?


About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
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22 Responses to A Re-do Required

  1. Helen says:

    I’ve got a similar issue to you in that I have quite a large area of soil, so the question is how to fill it without making it difficult to get at plants as necessary – as well as obtaining balance.

    Anyway, I’d definitely agree with some evergreens. How about a hebe or two. I’ve got one which is white/pink, so adds colour to an otherwise green landscape.

    I like the idea of a yew – such a pretty tree.


  2. Valonia says:

    It’s looks beautiful in flower, but I do love your smiley face design – it adds cheer. And I do like the look of your meter box, but that could be because it is foreign and exotic to me!


    • carolee says:

      “Foreign and exotic”…that certainly made me smile! I’ve thought of giving it a facelift to make it look like a birdhouse, but since it is actually the property of the electric company, I suppose I shoudn’t!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Valonia says:

        What if you used something like a tasteful vinyl transfer that disguises it, but is easily removable if the electric company have an issue with it?
        Also mailboxes. They’re foreign and exotic too!


  3. Julie Iverson says:

    How about a fruit tree espalier between the shutters. That would give it some sculptural interest in the winter when there are no leaves and just the branches are showing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Fun to read about your planning.


  5. I like the smiley-face! I do like evergreens next to shutter-style windows like yours! My old bay tree doesn’t seem to mind the snow and hard frost as well – and that’s a lovely evergreen that’s really saved some bleak empty garden weeks!

    (A random thought about the back wall – Apples will grow alright on an East-facing wall – especially the early-season varieties, which ripen without much sunlight – would you be interested in fan-training against your house?)

    I can’t hear fountains and not think a dwarf weeper instead – like the weeping Yoshino Cherry tree, or a dwarf weeping maple which will be stunning in the autumn!
    And then a rockery, or Sedums with their year-round shapes…

    What an exciting project!!!


    • carolee says:

      Good suggestions….especially the apple! Bay doesn’t survive our winters here, even with thick mulch and wrapping, with a fence surrounding filled with leaves. Believe me, I’ve tried over the years, so I drag mine in and out of the basement. I’m not keen on the fountain…grew up with a well, and the sound of running water still fills my heart with dread!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Definitely no fountain then! Your garden sounds like a real challenge. I can see why natives like hydrangea come to mind – it’s a good thing they’re gorgeous! I’m going to keep looking for fabulous (hardy) inspiration! I’m learning a lot about USDA zoning…


  6. Rita Rosol Shields says:

    hi! I feel your pain! But I agree the “smile” is just too symmetrical. How about a gentle curve of pretty evergreens that will hold up to your winters? Then you can do some interesting plantings around and behind that. Also some sort of focal point, maybe a statue or garden ornament that will also look good during the winter. Good luck, and i can’t wait to see what you decide.


  7. That is so funny about the well because I hadn’t thought of that. The last time I heard running water, the pipe coming in from the well had burst under the floor of the Study!


  8. bcparkison says:

    Oh no..shot from the car. Does that mean you have a”smart Meter”? They aren’t and they are dangerous to your health. Complain…big time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Cortney says:

    Oh! I love a new project! 🙂 I do like the smiley face (the structure does wonders for the space) but I think if you keep it, perhaps think about leaning into the formality of it and mirror whatever you use to hide the meter on both sides. Between that and the mirrored box balls, it would give lovely structure and great winter interest. I love the idea of a statement tree/shrub in the middle for visual height and interest. I say pick whatever brings a smile to your face and go from there! You can always keep the planting around the smiley face more informal/loose to balance the formality, but I do like the structure that the yew and evergreens would give the space. Plus they will look aces against the brick all year ’round. Can’t wait to see what you do with the space!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. blondesbeer says:

    This transformation is beautiful! I love the color varieties and the wide range of plants you used.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Gardens are an endless work in progress, aren’t they. I love making plans, but they mostly need adapting many times. Front gardens are the trickiest because they are always on view. I wish you luck.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. A. JoAnn says:

    I like the smiley face! Also, you are right about incorporating some vertical elements. I also have brick on the house, and discovered these things called brick clips. They don’t damage the wall, but you can tie or wire vines to them (like ivy, climbing hydrangea, and roses). A trellis would also look pretty, and you could put fairy lights on it for added evening bonus!


  13. I am in a similar time zone, and had a similar issue with my garden. I added a few low evergreens that help to fill in some of the empty space., two rose bushes, and some sedum. It’s still a work in progress but it certainly filled in those bare spots. I also added a garden ornament and a few interesting rocks for dimension.

    Liked by 1 person

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