The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Front Row

4 Comments

You’ve seen them, front row borders. A straight line that mirrors the front foundation of a house. Usually 1-3 feet wide. Most of the time accentuated with a row of shrubs. Maybe punctuated with an arborvitae at the entrance or corner. Well, I inherited a front row, minus the shrubs, with the exception of what’s now one mother of a barberry. Again, I ask what is there to do on a patch of lawn this size? Aside from mowing it, I mean.

I started with the tiny patch of lawn between the sidewalk entrance and driveway (Spiced Up Sidewalk). Then carried on through to the other side. I threw some curves into the front row. Our porch curves outward and I thought it would be nice to mimic this. I added sambucus black lace next to the barberry. I like the burgundy and dark foliage shades against the stucco of our house. (Hopefully the white paint on the stucco in front will wear off in a few more years – it came that way.)

The front of our house receives full sun all day into the evening. The soil is true clay – rock hard cement that literally cracks when dry, muck that you can literally sculpt when wet. I then connected the other side of the sidewalk entrance to the main bed. I added a little stone shortcut. It has taken me several seasons to get to this point. The soil is still not great but is improving. Silver brocade, snow in summer, lamb’s ear, sea holly and russian sage standout against the dark foliage. A number of different sedums and thymes do well here.

Originally I had planted a cornelian cherry tree here but it just did not like this spot. It is much happier out back. So, I have continued the tapestry of dark, silver / blue, and chartreuse foliages with karl forester grass, blue star juniper, iris, agastache golden jubilee and sedum maestro. There is a wildlife friendly cherry tree seedling in the cornelian cherry’s place that will either “make it or not.”

The plants are now beginning to fill in and weave together. I will continue expanding this bed over time right up to the sidewalk. I envision more sedums, groundcovers, and hardy low growing evergreens but would like to incorporate natives. Not to worry, the inukshuk will show me the way.

Advertisements

Author: Kathy Sturr

Author of the Violet Fern blog, artist, and master gardener.

4 thoughts on “Front Row

  1. Wow! What a beautiful and amazing difference. I love all the colors you've got growing there. You have a really pretty house with so much character.

  2. Your home is beautiful, and you have done a great job adding color to the front. I really like the colors you have chosen against the color of the house.

  3. Very nice job on the front landscaping. I am slowly trying to do this with my daughter's house. She is a little unsure of digging up more grass but I think she's ready for a new look to the front of her house. The only thing holding me back is that she might decide to enclose her porch, which would mean all the landscaping would get trampled. I have no grass between my sidewalk and house. My hubby loves it, no mowing!

  4. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Our house was built in 1876. When the winter winds blow I always remind myself of that. It has been really difficult to work the front because of the clay, the very full sun – warms you up pretty good – and showing my back side street side – ha. Good for you Bonnie! You are an inspiration! If you just plant perennials for your daughter, they could be moved during porch construction? Plants really are so much more enjoyable than a dried up lawn. Eventually I hope to plant two crab apples between the street and sidewalk as well. That should give a little more privacy and filter the sun.

Thank you for joining me in the making of my garden!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s