Saturday, July 30, 2011

Garden tour part 1: Front yard

Most of the focus of my gardening energies for the past year have gone to the backyard -- putting in the new fence, digging out six new beds and planting a greatly expanded veggie garden. The front yard has been comparatively neglected. We've shaved space out of the front lawn for strawberries and planted many young perennial edibles among the ornamental shrubs, but the basic structure of the front garden is roughly the same as when we moved in. My goal for next fall in to greatly reduce or eliminate the front lawn and restructure the garden, with an emphasis on perennials and dwarf fruit and nut trees. Ultimately I'd like the front to be largely perennials (although possibly with some attractive beds for patches of annuals) in order to reduce the amount of active rotational planting that needs to be done in the up there. I want the front yard to be attractive, but I also want to reduce the amount of time spent on this area, because it is tough to watch my mobile toddlers and garden at the same time outside of the fence.

Front of the house -- cute eh?

Front lawn. Our house is on a corner lot, and the front lawn is framed by a berm of established shrubs and trees. As you can see, there's a lot nice sunny area to work with once the lawn is removed.

Front walkway with a lot of bulbs. There's a new weeping mulberry hidden back there too.

Old azaleas in the back, some sad peppers in front. There's also some flax flowers going to seed, which didn't work appearance-wise as well as I'd hoped. To the right are three young cherries trees planted "backyard orchardist" style, planted close together on the same rootstock.

A four-way Asian pear, with bulbs, annual flowers and a blueberry in the background. There's also a bunch of died-back camassia in this area. Camassia is a spring-flowering native bulb that was an important food source for Native Americans in the Willamette Valley.

An area where we removed the sod last year. It was meant to be planted with Brussels sprouts but cabbage aphids got them a couple of weeks ago. Left is some basil, a not-so-healthy squash, and some flowers.

Another new area. The chard is "Perpetual Spinach," supposedly a perennial chard. Also some more basil and (unfortunately) fried alpine strawberries.

So ... this is what happens when you plant "Golden Giant" amaranth too early and then fail to water it in June ... it only grows a foot tall! This actually would have been cute on the border, but it's crammed between some roses because it was supposed to be six feet tall.

Street side of the berm. Wow, this area needs some work. *sigh* There's some slow-to-come on dahlias in here, sunflowers, roses in background. In the right corner are a silverberry (which has never flowered/fruited, sadly, but has neat foliage), and a three-year-old aronia.

Row of newly-established blueberries, currants and gooseberries on the street side of the fence. Plus many, many weeds. Planning to put in drip irrigation and a thick layer of mulch to reduce the weed problem.

On the corner of our property, some bulbs and a young contorted quince. This is underneath a mimosa tree, a difficult shady, dry area to plant.

Near the birch tree, patch of Hood and Puget Summer strawberries, and some new artichokes, This area is sunny in the spring but may be too shady in summer to support these plants.

Sunnier area of Albion strawberries, "Charlotte" peach, gaulnettya and Chilean wintergreen berries, and golden bee balm. In back some baby rhubarb, parsley, minutina and sorrel patches.

"Nikita's Gift" Asian/American persimmon cross. Daylilies and blueberries in foreground.

More blueberries, lavender, some perennial flowers

Star magnolia tree behind an herb and succulent garden. I'd like to make this into a xeriscape, no-water area.

Ornamental plum tree on the edge of our property. The fruit produced on this tree is tasty but *tiny.* We're debating whether to keep this tree or replace it with something more productive.

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