Lately, with the cooler weather, my thoughts have moved on to more than bulbs although bulbs have been the source of many hopes and dreams for spring.
This the front border adjacent to the curving sidewalk. The centerpiece is this charming little fountain. Just like in The Wizard of Oz, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain (or the iron bell in the photo’s frame). The fountain is topped with a pineapple, which is a symbol of welcome. Therefore, a pineapple fountain out front seems appropriate.
Before we built the sidewalk, I always thought the area was supremely ugly with the severely straight, edged border (shown at left). After we finished it, I now like the whole thing a little better. I can at least look it in the eye, instead of always blocking my vision with my hand as I inserted my key in the front door.
Although I probably should keep this to myself because I draw and create gardens for clients, I hate putting my own gardens down on paper. Landscapes look great on paper, but all that pen and ink just seems so final. My gardens are always changing. This may belie a certain sickness within my own personal borders, but I don’t want to think about that today.
When I’m designing for a new garden space at home, I kind of feel my way through it. The catalyst for this one was Carex buchananii ‘Fox Red Curly.’ I found an overgrown container of it while strolling through Precure Nursery in Oklahoma City. I fell in love with its color, sandpaper-like texture and twistiness, but it was very expensive, so I divided it into three plants. They will quickly grow into larger plants next year. The Carex echoes the rusty color in the bricks and the shape of the sidewalk itself. When they are grown, I hope they will drift across the walk.
After the Carex, I knew I wanted Amsonia behind them, but the nurseries were nearly out of plants in late September. I found three dwarf Amsonias. They are starting to turn their golden color, and in the spring, they will have light blue flowers. They should bulk up by next fall and show their true fountain effect. At least, I hope so.
In front of the fountain, I placed three Ilex x ‘Mondo’ ‘Little Rascal’ hollies. I already have one ‘Little Rascal’ in the back garden, and I love the shape and small stature of these male hollies which grow two feet tall and three feet wide. They have such an interesting texture, and unlike some hollies, they feel good to the touch. The new growth is a rusty red. Behind the fountain, I added an Ilex vomitoria, yaupon holly ‘Bordeaux’ and a bush honeysuckle. I’ve misplaced its tag, but I know it’s not one of the invasive species.
The worst honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica, grows rampantly in my backyard, and I’ve been trying to eradicate it for years. It smells good. It’s pretty, but it’s bad.
As the garden tapers to a point in front, I took Terra Nova’s advice and planted three ‘Southern Comfort’ Heucheras and three ‘Midnight Rose’ Heucheras. They are supposed to take our heat and be adaptable to the south. I was told they will even take some sun. Mine are in partial to full shade. Next summer will be their true test.
So that’s this portion of the front garden. I like what I’ve done, but there is still more to do with the straight edge. I met with someone today who I hope will help me solve some of its issues.
Yes, even those of us who help others sometimes need help too. More on this adventure in another post.
Blackswampgirl Kim says
“I hate putting my own gardens down on paper. Landscapes look great on paper, but all that pen and ink just seems so final.”
That’s so true! I never have articulated that before, but it’s exactly why I despise trying to catalog/plan my garden on paper. (Except in the winter. In February in Cleveland, anything garden-related, even planning, sounds like a good idea. lol.)
Blackswampgirl Kim´s last blog post..Suspended Color
So, Kim, we’ll agree to put it all down on paper this winter. Right?~~Dee
Thank you for sharing your front garden. I especially like the sidewalk, bell, and fountain.
Elizabeth´s last blog post..PRIORITIES
Thank you, Elizabeth.~~Dee
Thanks so much for admitting that even great gardeners need help sometime. I’m just beginning to put ornamental beds in at my house and sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed by the big blank slate. I recently decided to get over it and ask for some design help. It really helped my confidence and I’m happy with what I’ve come up with (and also recognized that I can always change things up, too)!
Willi´s last blog post..Innovative Raised Beds
I feel overwhelmed sometimes too. It’s difficult to shift gears, and I need to learn more about conifers.~~Dee
Hi Dee, curves are so welcoming and with your pineapple fountain your entry just screams “Come on in!” I have several of the bronzey carex and love them everywhere, but they do seem to like a little extra water if they are in full sun, I have divided mine to the max for a full effect, they grow fast in winter, kind of sulk in summer here. I have bordeaux too, a very well behaved cultivar. I will watch your heucheras, some of them don’t like our hot summer at all, some thrive, is it genetics? Your brick path came out beautifully too. Great work!
Frances´s last blog post..Euphorbia Chameleon Or Change Is Our Name
Hi Miss Frances, this one is in partial shade so I hope they won’t pout too much. We’ll see. I love that we grow similar plants. That way, I can see how they do in each of our climates. On the Heucheras, yes, it is genetics. I wrote about what Terra Nova thinks about it here.~~Dee
I would love to go see what the nurseries have left here but I haven’t had the time to. I like the new sidewalk area, I have always been partial to brick. And the curve is definitely much easier on the eyes than a straight line is. Straight lines don’t have any business in my garden, for sure. 🙂
Lythrum´s last blog post..Bird Bath
Hi Lythrum, I so agree with you.~~Dee
Dee, I really like your front garden! Especially the fountain. I added “Southern Comfort” Heuchera to my plant list. Thanks for sharing!
Sherri´s last blog post..Cleaning up the house tomorrow!
Thanks, Sherri. I hope we’ll both like ‘Southern Comfort.’~~Dee
I love that line…”even those of us who help others sometimes need help, too” a truism for almost every trade! Even therapists! I love your front garden, it is utterly charming…and I can totally relate to your feelings about t designs in our landscape that aren’t working! Now that we have a new path to the front porch…we are no longer trying to distract visitors from the man behind the curtain(our very ugly front entrance). Have a good weekend. Gail
Gail´s last blog post..Sky Above with Earth Below
Thanks, Gail. That is so true. Therapists would need help because they listen to everyone else. They would need to refill their cup wouldn’t they. As a garden designer, it is much easier to look at someone else’s property than it is the trouble spots in mine.~~Dee
Brit' Gal Sarah says
Dee I think your front garden looks utterly charming, I love the old bricks.
If we make it down your way I will be in touch 🙂
Brit’ Gal Sarah´s last blog post..The 7 things meme….
Thanks, Sarah, I’d love to see you guys.~~Dee
Lydia Plunk says
The section of the yard may be new- but it has a lived in look that is comforting. Perhaps that is the true secret to a welcoming garden. To keep reminders of the past and let it keep evolving.
Beautifully said, Lydia.~~Dee
Now wait a minute, Dee. I don’t plan my garden either but somehow yours always looks so much more orderly and well-appointed than mine
Perhaps you are one of those deeply talented people: A true artist of the garden.
Keep sharing your inspired works with us.
Martha´s last blog post..Wooly, Needle Mouthed Bugs That Leave a Sticky Mess
Oh, Martha, I don’t know. I just see pictures in my head. I try to make those come to fruition. Thanks for coming by. I think you’re one of the best garden journalists I know.~~Dee
Carol, May Dreams Gardens says
A good plan for a garden should always allow for changes and experimentation, and be flexible enough that if you fall in love with a plant at the nursery, you can find a place for it in your garden.
Like you, I divide some of the plants I buy with good results. In fact, I try to choose a plant that looks like you can divide it.
Carol, May Dreams Gardens´s last blog post..When a Gardener Reads the Newspaper
Yes, if it isn’t too hot outside, I can often create many plants from one.~~Dee
I like the addition of the curves, too. And I’m just like you – I plan for others, but rarely plan my own beds and certainly not to scale. Guess that’s why I will be ripping overgrown (rather, overplanted) things OUT of a bed on Monday! And I love the pineapple fountain.
Diana´s last blog post..Are my deer sheepish?
Oh, me too on the overplanting. I need to rip some stuff out of the other side.~~Dee
Your front bed looks very nice. I especially like the fountain.
I really like the mix of plants, many of which I haven’t seen at the nurseries yet (although that may not be saying much since I live in a small town!). I’ll be doing some research so thanks for the info!
Jean´s last blog post..Reds and Greens
Hi Jean, sometimes you have to order the plants you want. I live outside a small town too so I know what you mean.~~Dee
Brenda Kula says
I love the colors of that last plant. Mine didn’t make it from last year for some reason. Your sidewalk is quite fetching; love the way the bricks are arranged. I did not know you created gardens for others. Do tell!
Brenda Kula´s last blog post..Friday Progress Report
Yes, it’s pretty in the fall. We’ll see about summer. My leaves are much larger than those I saw in Oregon when I visited Terra Nova. I’ve designed several gardens for people in the city. I like to help those folks who can’t afford the big guns. I don’t cost as much.~~Dee
Andrea (Heavy Petal) says
Lovely! Can’t wait to see it fill in. Love that carex.
Andrea (Heavy Petal)´s last blog post..Paige Russell: North American Wild Life series
Me too, Andrea, I hope it likes it here.~~Dee
I really like your little front bed, and I am thrilled to discover the plants that are new to me – the dwarf amsonia and the hollies. I’ll have to look for them, and I’ll look forward to photos next year to see how the bed has filled in.
Kim´s last blog post..Get DOWN From There!
Thank you, Kim. I’m glad I was able to help.~~Dee
Mr. McGregor's Daughter says
I must agree with you about the importance of having a pleasing front garden. All your hard work is going to pay off in spades next fall. It’s sad that Yaupon Holly has such a revolting Latin name. Somebody should lobby for a change of nomenclature.
Mr. McGregor’s Daughter´s last blog post..The Truth About Rozanne
Yeah, poor yaupon holly. It must have made one explorer very ill. We’re a long way from totally pleasing with that stupid straight line, but I’m getting there.~~Dee
I always think a good path adds so much to a garden—or even inspires the creation of a garden. Yours is lovely. I like the mix of color in it. And the curves give it a welcoming look.
Pam/Digging´s last blog post..Sunny days and butterflies
Yes, and you know all about gorgeous paths. Can’t wait to see what you do at your new house.
I like the curved path that borders this bed and looks like you found some great plants that will fill it in over the next year. Like you Dee my garden beds are ever changing, sometimes it works & sometimes it doesn’t
Racquel´s last blog post..Goodbye Fall Hello Winter
So true, Racquel, about what works & doesn’t. It’s all about the process isn’t it?~~Dee
Lisa at Greenbow says
That Carex is really pretty. I used an annual variety in a pot this year with some kind of yellow/green sedum and it was really pretty together. I didn’t know there was a perennial variety that looks like the annual I used. I will have to seek it out.
I think your front walk looks very inviting. You should be proud of the way it looks now.
Lisa, I bet the contrast was beautiful. There are a couple of perennial varieties when I did a search. Thanks.~~Dee
I really like your path. I prefer curved lines instead of straight. Off topic – what font do you use? I like it!
Phillip´s last blog post..Dreaming of roses
Thanks, Phillip. I think I use Verdana. It’s that or Ariel. I can’t remember, and I looked on the stylesheet, but didn’t find it.~~Dee
Dee, I never worry about my ever changing garden not sticking to the plan. My garden is like my life, and that changes constantly, and rarely goes according to plan either! I am happy with both, so why worry?
nola´s last blog post..97 Back Yard Progress
Exactly! Couldn’t have said it better myself.~~Dee
Your front bed looks grand and I love the bell. Can’t wait to see your Amsonia.
Anna´s last blog post..The Quilted Call of The Whip-O-Whill
Thanks, Anna. Me either.~~Dee