Gardening · General

The Front Plot Revamp

This morning after having a conversation with my daughter while I was staring out the window I noticed that the small border in front of the house was getting more than a little messy. And so, with it being so bright and sunny and yet cool and crisp, I decided to get outside and tidy it up a little.
However… When I came outside a wild thought came to mind and I decided to do a little bit of a make over while I was working the bed anyway!

To be honest I have never been happy with the border in the front garden. For a start it’s in almost permanent shade. The whole area only gets direct sun for about an hour first thing in the morning in the winter and even in the height of summer that plot only gets sun up till 8am, about 2 hours total and even then it’s really only the corner piece that gets it. Just as a point… This was where the sun line was at 9am when I was working on it.

In the border there was a mix of Wallflowers, Foxgloves, an odd Lupin and some Calendulas along with an Athyrium niponicum ‘Ursula’s Red’ at the far end and 2 perennial Geraniums and 3 Hucheras. There is also a few bulbs in there… I think they are Alliums but I don’t recall.

The first job was to clear out everything that I didn’t want.
I kept the Athyrium in it’s current place. It’s doing fairly nice there and to be honest, if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it!
The annuals, Foxgloves, Lupin and Wallflowers all came out. As did all the weeds and moss that had grown around them. Being careful with the bulbs I fluffed up the soil a little where I could and evened it off a little.

The two perennial Geraniums and the Huchera clump that is actually 3 plants, was broken up.

If you are paying attention you will see that I have 3 gaps between the fence uprights, 3 Huchera and only 2 perennial Geraniums. Dangit!

Yep… I needed to go find an other perennial Geranium from somewhere in the garden.

Luckily enough I had another one on the other side of the garden, half hidden under a rapidly growing Ceanothus! If you look closely it actually looks like 2 plants… But it’s not.

Anyway. I cut the plant in half and took the front bit. I tidied the remaining plant up a little and moved it back to the plot I was working on.

I positioned the plants in a couple of places to see what I liked. In the end I settled with what you see to the left.
All told it’s very simple idea… The Huchera behind, because it’s a taller plant, and the Geranium in front. If I’d more of them or these plants had been more mature, I would have made them into two plants in front of the Huchera.

After that I gave the Huchera’s a 10p tidy up, pulled off all the old flower stems along with any damaged or dead leaves and then planted them in.

The Geraniums were given a quick fluff before planting in, but in all honesty they didn’t need anything other than the one plant I took from the other side of the garden and even that only needed the bits I had cut through removing.

And there I was, done! (Apart from the standard rubbish)

Actually as you can plainly see there is plenty more to do. I have been looking at a few nice Hostas, mainly Hosta fortunei ‘Albopicta’ and Hosta ‘Pathfinder’. I wanted Hostas that are brighter than the ones I have at the mo, and I have to admit that I do like the fire-like variegation on the Pathfinder… Not only that but it’s fairly cheap!
My other option is the Hosta ‘Halcyon’ blue. It may not be something to brighten the plot but it would contrast the green of the Geraniums for sure!

Now… My big problem with all this is that the fact that this plot is near always shaded and a little damp it’s just a magnet for slugs and snails, however I’m hoping that the smell from the perennial Geraniums will, if nothing else, at least deter the majority of them. We shall see.

My last quandary is just what to plant next to the gate? That gate swings wide and so it will need to be either low growing or made of rubber! Not only that but it will have to be able to suffer shade. I do have an Astilbe chinensis, that doesn’t mind shade. I may well move that.


14 thoughts on “The Front Plot Revamp

  1. Beautiful! Is your grass always that nice dark green? At this time of year? Everything here is turning, most grass is brown now. We do not have a thick lush lawn – on the farm we spend more time and water on the plots/gardens than on a lawn. I had one once in my place in Denver. I even think our farm growing up had a great front lawn like that – not here boo hoo!

    1. Yep. My lawn usually looks that shade of green. It will lighten a little as we get into winter but it will always be thick and lush.
      Is access to water an issue for you? I’m not sure how the climate is where you are. The average climate for Colorado seems to match ours to a degree… But that doesn’t mean you have good water access.

      I have also noticed that many Americans DON’T have lawns unless they are ‘middle class suburbanites’

      1. we have our own well but do conserve water A LOT ..a lawn is not a necessity for us on the farm. food is more importtant so most water goes to plants n critters first. we also build plots for all things so no water is wasted. climate is very warm and dry.

        1. Ah… I get it.
          I suppose, for you, a lawn would be almost wasted space. You could be doing other things with that patch of water drinking land. B-)

          Do you have to pay to have a well? As in land rights/ licenses and the like.
          Over here I can tap down and make a well if I get permission and a license from the Environmental Agency… But from what I have read they rarely say ‘no’ unless there are obvious dangers.

  2. We were lucky-the well was already on the farm when we bought it AND it is tagged both residential and agricultural- BONUS- there are tons of laws n regs connected to all wells. since ours has both tags on it we can use it for all our needs. a friend of ours has 40 acres. there well is only for plants/animals (called non-potable) they had to tap into the mega water line that runs thru northeastern CO AND THEY HAVE A MONTHLY BILL FOR IT-EEEK. the same line runs through our property (most all utilities run thru our property) but we do not need it (thank goodness-its expensive)

    1. The water line they plug into… Is that a pipe or is it simply an underground river they have claimed?

      And do you get a subsidy from the companies that run through your land or do your rights only go down so far?

  3. Sounds an interesting discussion about wells. I didn’t know I could have a well on my property! Not that I will, considering the small size of my garden, but good to know for future reference.

    Anyway, hosta ‘Patriot’ is on my list. I’ve found putting crushed eggshells round vulnerable plants works wonders against the slugs.

    I need to tidy my heuchera up!

      1. I depends on whether you have access to a tap, though, and it might be a better alternative to storing rain water (e.g. thinking of farms and smallholdings).

        1. I’m pretty sure farms and the like can apply easy enough. It didn’t seem a difficult system when I looked at it a few years ago when I was helping the scouts.
          Collecting rainwater is easy enough over here though and it rains a fair bit. A bit of ingenuity and you can gather quite a lot!

            1. You don’t even need to do that. Lean to’s, outhouses and sheds will all gather water. All you need is a good guttering system to gather it all.
              Most rainwater gathered at a residential household is wasted as you don’t use THAT much. B-)

              1. I need a lot more rainwater than I can collect (no drainpipes and no space for storage). At Cornerstone in Leeds, which is basically a residential property with the garden converted into a nursery/vegetable patch, they can get through two very very large containers (approx equivalent of ten wheelie bins) in a week or less.

                So four-acres of land would require a big shed, at that rate, wouldn’t they?

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