The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Front Lawn Be Gone

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This post is the fourth in a sequence of time lines of my garden from the very beginning until now. The bird & butterfly garden being the first, the potager (kitchen garden) the second, and my “nice driveway” being the third.

The front is an area I have worked on sporadically over the past three seasons. It has not been the main focus of my attention but I have made improvements. It wasn’t until this winter I was inspired with a plan for this area that I will put into action next summer. Then, it will be my focus and my front lawn will be gone.

For now, I am pleased with the much larger beds and how the plants have interwoven with one another to form a sort of patchwork tapestry of textures and color.

Like most of the village homes in our neighborhood, we had a ridiculously small patch of front lawn – that is now even smaller, thank you. We would not be playing croquet or bocce ball on that small plot in the upper left of the picture collage above, and it was the first of the lawn to go. Clockwise from upper left: before in the spring of 2008, spring of 2009, now, spring of 2010.

Pictured above clockwise from upper left: before in the spring of 2008, summer of 2009, now, summer of 2010. I added a Black Lace, Sambucas nigra (a hybrid of elderberry), in the spring of 2009 next to the existing barberry which I kept even though it is invasive. Eventually I am going to rip it out so we can reside the curve of the porch to match our new yet-to-be-constructed back screened-in porch. I will replace it with something native that does not have thorns! I did remove the existing pygmy barberry right away.

The Black Lace is my “Japanese Maple” of the north. It has grown extremely fast and this year has many blooms. I love how its lacy leaves now veil the view from the porch.

Pictured above clockwise from upper left: spring of 2008, fall of 2009, now (both bottom photos). In the summer of 2009 I connected foundation bed to the two I had made up front near the sidewalk, and added a small stepping stone path. The plants have really filled in and have nearly covered the stepping stone path.

Pictured above clockwise from upper left: early spring of 2008, summer of 2009, now, fall of 2010. In 2009 I added a small Cornelian Cherry, Cornus mas, a tree I picked for its hardiness as the front of our house receives some brutal weather and has cement clay for soil. It didn’t seem to be doing well and has since been moved to the back. (It still doesn’t seem to be doing well. Either it takes awhile to become established or I received a dud.) In its place is now a volunteer cherry tree that seems to be making it. I made the entire bed along the foundation much wider and added some curves and an inukshuk for guidance.

This spring 2011 two crabapples, ‘Purple Prince’ were also added street side. I am hoping with time, their branches form a canopy over our walk way leading up to our front porch from the street.

Now we have a fantastic range of blooms from spring through fall. I have planted bulbs each fall: daffodils, alliums, iris, crocus. The foliage is also its own intermingling arrangement of blues, greens and burgundies. Something is always buzzing or fluttering among the display. Eventually the lawn from the house to the sidewalk will be entirely gone. I won’t miss it.

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Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

3 thoughts on “Front Lawn Be Gone

  1. You have been incredibly busy. The resultas are lovely.

  2. What a great job! I have always got rid of our front lawn grass at every house I have owned. I always needed/wanted the space for more plants. Sorry to hear about your cornus mas, I had been hoping to add that to my garden, as soon as I can find it, not very common here.

  3. I love what you have done to the front! Lawn be gone!! I am trying so desperatly to think of ways to do like-wise, you seem to have the nack of pulling great plant combinations together too. Just beautiful! Thanks also for stopping by my WW-vacation post last week, I'm only now getting to catch up with everyone…cheers Julia =)

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