Friday, May 13, 2011

Front yard coming into its own

Spring and early summer are my favorite time of year when it comes to gardening. Everything seems to be growing at an explosive pace, and temperatures are still pleasant enough to be able to work outside with a minimum of discomfort. It’s much different in the middle of summer when the thermometer hits 100°F!

As a baseline for the rest of the year, here is a series of photos showing what our front yard looks like at the moment.

The area inside the fence still needs a few weeks to hits its prime…

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…but the planting strip outside the fence is there already and will only get better, especially when the rudbeckias and echinaceas start to bloom. Since our house is at the corner of the street, it seems that everything we do gets noticed and commented on. While I sometimes wish we had a more private location, I’m happy knowing that our efforts have inspired others in the neighborhood to spruce up their front yards.

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Plants of note in this photo (left to right):
Soap aloe (Aloe maculata) in bloom, English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) about to bloom, trailing ice plant (Delosperma cooperi) pretty in pink, cape balsam (Bulbine frutescens), Six Hills Giant catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’), Rigoletto maidenhair grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Rigoletto')
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Plants of note in this photo (left to right):
Cape balsam (Bulbine frutescens), giant clumping timber bamboo (Bambusa oldhamii), Six Hills Giant catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’), Rigoletto maidenhair grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Rigoletto'), Karly Rose fountain grass (Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose’), Hot Lips sage (Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips')
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Plants of note in this photo (left to right):
Six Hills Giant catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’), Rigoletto maidenhair grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Rigoletto'), Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas), Siskiyou Pink gaura (Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink'), electric blue sage (Salvia chamaedryoides)
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Plants of note in this photo (top to bottom):
Rigoletto maidenhair grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Rigoletto'), Six Hills Giant catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’)
110511_ebluesage lavendar catmint
Plants of note in this photo (top to bottom):
Six Hills Giant catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’) , Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas), electric blue sage (Salvia chamaedryoides)
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Plants of note in this photo (left to right):
Six Hills Giant catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’), Rigoletto maidenhair grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Rigoletto'), Siskiyou Pink gaura (Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink'), Karly Rose fountain grass (Pennisetum orientale 'Karley Rose’),
Red hot poker (Kniphofia uvaria)
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Plants of note in this photo (left to right):
Hot Lips sage (Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips'), Dixieland maidenhair grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Dixieland'), Siskiyou Pink gaura (Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink'), Six Hills Giant catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’)
110511_gaura catmint
Plants of note in this photo (left to right):
Siskiyou Pink gaura (Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink'),
Six Hills Giant catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’)
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Plants of note in this photo (left to right):
Red hot poker (Kniphofia uvaria),
Silberpfeil maiden hair grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Silberpfeil')
110511_kniphofia hotlips catmint
Plants of note in this photo (left to right):
Red hot poker (Kniphofia uvaria), Six Hills Giant catmint (Nepeta x faassenii ‘Six Hills Giant’), Hot Lips sage (Salvia microphylla 'Hot Lips')
110511_bushsage blacklace
Plants of note in this photo (left to right):
Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha),
Black Lace elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Black Lace’)

To show you how far we’ve come, here are some “before” photos. I’m extremely gratified with the progress we’ve made in the last four years.

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The original house in August of 2006, just days before our remodel kicked off.
As you can see, the front yard is mostly lawn and some overgrown shrubs and perennials closer to the house.
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One year later, July 2007.
The 2nd story addition has been completed but the front yard is still a blank slate. The flagstone has been delivered, and the fence line has been staked.
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September 2007. The fence has been built and we have completed the initial planting. See how tiny these plants are? They are all 4° plants from Morningsun Herb Farm in Vacaville, CA. The biennials (rudbeckias) are gone, but the perennials are still there.

4 comments:

  1. Beautiful! Nice to see how much progress you have made in the last four years. Pretty soon the Giant Timber Bamboo will be matching the height of your roof!

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  2. Becky, I hope so! When the giant timber bamboo starts to shoot this summer, I expect 20 ft. culms, next year 30 ft., the year after 40 ft. Keeping my fingers crossed!

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  3. Wow. I think you need to do a chronological "how our garden got here" post, starting with the before remodel and showing all of the major steps in order. I know those trees are gone now (at least one of them) but would be good to see the progress of everything year by year if you have the photos.

    Also, your 'Karley Rose' looks like a nice, strong clump. Mine seems to spread out a lot, and eventually gets floppy. It doesn't have a nice form like yours. It gets plenty of sun, so I wonder what the difference is? Clay soil?

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  4. Alan, good idea, but I need to dig out negatives or paper prints first. I didn't get my first digital camera until the fall of 2004.

    Our 'Karley Rose' was indeed a beautiful strong clump until it got flattened by hail (!) this morning. I'm sure it'll bounce back. It's planted in full sun in amended clay soil so it sounds like the conditions are very similar to yours. The only difference is the humidity. Could that make a difference? Your regular fountain grass doesn't have any problems with floppiness, does it?

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