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My Front Yard Garden #4: 8 Months In - Waiting for Color and Growth!

Eight months in and the front gardens are starting to show the promise of a beautiful sanctuary. Not yet, but going in the right direction, you know? After temps that went into the single digits for the first time in my Northwest existence, bringing us into zone 7 instead of our usual zone 8b, we lost a few plants but gained some great lessons, not to mention were surprised by the hardiness of others I wasn’t sure were going to bounce back.

Back in my post sharing what I’d done 90 Days into living here, I showed the photo of what the front garden was starting to look like. Clearly the word ‘yard’ became a thing of the past (woo hoo!) when I covered up the old lawn with coffee bags and mulch, but there was sooo much more to do that winter had put a pause on, so below I’ve noted a few of the things that we accomplished since then in the fenced-in area (and the house as well, since the exterior has changed pretty dramatically!)...

Getting the house painted (a DIY job I’m super proud of, as we’ve never paid a painter once over 4 houses and as a result saved a bundle) and the solar install were obviously huge. As for the actual stuff that’s growing? I’ve got a Google doc once again like I did at the last house detailing every single thing planted in our gardens, and it’s definitely saved the day as I often instantly forget what something is - or have several different varieties that I want to remember both size-wise and color-wise. My next project is going to be putting metal plant labels in the ground next to each to help the identification process, not to mention remind me during winter after some of them die back all the way that there’s something there under the surface, waiting for spring!

And I gotta say, the view from our veranda is definitely different now! While I’m impatiently waiting for the gajillion plants to triple in size and bloom profusely (so far the orange geum, centaurea, and the tulips are blossoming but when you’ve got 30 or 40 plants, you get eager for the ‘explosion’ of color!), I definitely appreciate the fence we had installed to protect both our privacy and keep the dog safely in when we sit out front, love how the white railing “pops”, and how much more productive and diverse everything looks. The bees are gonna love it! While this may not be a southern veranda or a deck, this is the first home where we’ve had a fully covered front AND back patio! It totally rocks not only for the added afternoon shade but also for sitting out there on not-so-sunny days and staying dry. So with the nifty little railing? Goshdarnit, it’s a veranda as far as I’m concerned!!

From the street, you can see the rest of the front, including the flower garden kicked off adjacent to the driveway with everything from a dwarf strawberry tree to azalea to delphinium to star magnolia and more. There’s no fence between us and our nextdoor neighbor in front, so I just used coffee bags again to create the border for the time being (Any ideas of what to put there? Embedded bricks? I’m not sure…), but it’s coming along nicely with a gorgeous red crape myrtle that is going to be the highlight of this strip come summer. The side of the house has our espalier Asian pear, grapes for the trellis, scarlet runner beans just popping out, and more.. In addition, on the opposite side where our new little fence is, I’ve got jasmine planted and quadrupled the lavender quotient to supplement the big bush that was there when we moved in.

It may be April showers today, but soon there will be May flowers…and June, and July, and August…bring it on, Spring!!

"Every spring is the only spring, a perpetual astonishment.” ~ Ellis Peters

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From useless to useful, in both the practical sense (food) and the aesthetic (I mean, come on who doesn’t like a carpet of color and texture and aromas and the consequent birds, bees and bugs that enjoy it?)

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