After all the inspiration I gathered from the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show two weeks ago and contemplating the future of my abysmal front garden, here is the promised photos of it’s current situation.
The car you can see is mine, the other garage door is the neighbours, so as you can see it’s quite small. Actually I took this photo after giving the plants in the middle (don’t know what they are, they have white and purple flowers, but at the moment just dead flower heads) a considerable prune and doing most of the weeding.
The plants at the back are some sort of purple flax like plant. When we moved in five years ago they were quite small, they now cover the whole window which is kind of nice as that’s my bedroom window so it adds some privacy, but doesn’t block out the light too much. Along our driveway are a greeny-yellow kangaroo paw, they did run all the way up the to the front pillar, but we pulled many of them out to add a path so I could get the pram past the car. On the other side are a few remaining native irises, most of these died sometime over the last few years. However, I now have loads of new plants coming through which I was thinking of replanting back along that border, not sure if they will survive the transplanting though. And finally at the very front are two lavender bushes, which are now quite gangly and the centres have died off. I gave them a trim, but am thinking maybe they need to be cut back hard so they can get back to being nice and tight and bushy.
In between these uninspiring plants is bare space covered lightly with bark chips. The soil is appalling and the weeds run rampant in these spots. I would love to completely fill the area with plants, but I don’t know where to start. The soil needs improving, but is it possible to do this a bit at a time, rather than pulling everything out and digging the crappy soil out. Can I just add compost and other organic matter as I find things to plant? Dig the area I need to get rid of the building rubble and improve that small section?
Also I have little money to spend on this garden so I had intended on taking cuttings and growing plants from seed then transplanting them when they’re a bit bigger. What plants should I be looking for? I don’t want to replace them every year so definitely perennials, and they need to be shade tolerant, with a combination of interesting foliage and some flowering plants, as well as natives and non-natives. If there are a couple of hardy feature plants I would be happy to pay for them. I also have a vague idea about getting some sort of largish planter (like an old bath tub or something similar) to put towards the back in front of the flax. I thought that way I could add some good soil without having to spend too much time or money and grow something that would spill over the sides.
This is all a bit of a ramble, an insight into the inner workings of my mind – this is the kind of thing that keeps me awake at night believe it or not – but I would like to put some thought into this space (very unlike me) before I start doing anything. I might even get creative and draw up a plan if I can figure out how. Having said that my mother-in-law bought us a tree for the front yard which is coming on Saturday. It’s something called a forrest pansy (ceris canadensis) and has nice purple foliage and a pink flower in spring (Miss Two will love that). It says on the tag that it likes full sun, it’s not going to get that so we’ll see how it goes. It will give some height to the space though and replace the silver birch that was in there originally but died after about a year – during that insanely hot summer of 2008/09. I will dig in some compost when I plant it and hope it survives a bit better than it’s predecessor.
So there you have it, what would you do in this space?