Monday, May 4

The Front Yard Garden in Spring

Last night, Steve and I went for a nice 10-mile bike ride through the Metroparks after I finished working at the garden center. This evening, I went searching for a couple of my old blog posts on trilliums and angelicas, both of which I pointed out along the trail, so I could send him the links. As I nosed around my archives, I was surprised to see that we're in the FIFTH month of the year already, and yet I have just FOUR blog posts published in 2009. Yikes!

It's not for lack of things to talk about, either. Spring has definitely sprung here in Northeast Ohio, as you can see in these pictures of the front yard garden:


The photo above shows you what I see when I walk out my front door. Here's a closer view of the bright color in the middle of the bed, where the golden marjoram is starting to emerge in all its chartreuse glory after a close spring cropping:


The golden marjoram makes for a very pretty groundcover, and when the dog is out front and gets excited about seeing a visitor (either 2- or 4-legged, or even winged) it smells lemony good while she stomps around on it, as I had hoped.

The groundcover to the left of it in that same bed is a sedum album, which fills in nicely without being a thug. However, this section of bed looks sparse since I cut back my sages and grasses so severely in April:


Luckily those beautiful species tulips (plus a handful of 'Prinses Irene,' my all-time favorite tulips, are massing and multiplying well enough to distract from any bare spots.

Some of the shorn plants look very interesting as they grow in... this carex buchanii (leatherleaf sedge) looks like a caramel-colored cousin of the lavender plant behind it, until its blades get taller and start to gently curl over:


Some of my purple lyreleaf sage are emerging, along with returning Mexican feather grass, baby sea kale (seriously, I cut all of those bloom stalks back last summer--how is it still having babies?!) and a steady creep of the aforementioned sedum album:


The lyreleaf sedge has some nice backlighting effects... but it is nothing compared to the fire of the unnamed (inherited with the house) heuchera when the western sun sets it aglow. Especially when highlighted with the equally en fuego tones of 'Princes Irene' tulip flowers:


Two side notes, quickly: 1) Am I the only person who thinks of Dan Patrick and the old Sportscenter every time I hear the phrase "en fuego?" And 2) I know that sometimes gardeners get big surprises in the spring, but... I REALLY don't remember planting this next fuzzy, affectionate thing in my garden last year! *grin*


Beyond the catmint in which Mr. Kitty was indulging himself before he came over for a petting is my 'Solar Flare' bergenia. Right now it's obnoxiously bright, as it is both blooming in bright pink and flaring with acid yellow variegation on its new leaves. Later in the season, this plant will revert to all green... and in the fall, its leaves will turn a lovely burgundy color. I would probably hate it if it were so bright year-round, but as it is, I am completely smitten:


Oh, speaking of smitten, here's another shot of a single 'Prinses Irene,' with golden marjoram in the background--and little tufts of allium schubertii leaves poking up all around it:


I can't wait for the allium to return--more than a few people have told me that they dont have luck getting those particular alliums to perennialize. I hope that my well-drained soil gives me a little bit of an advantage there, but we'll see.

Based on last year's posts, 'Prinses Irene' and a few of the other tulips are a week to ten days ahead of last year's pace. That 80-degree weekend really gave things a kick start around here... even my Japanese maple is leafing out, in spite of the fact that I haven't given it an annual pruning/shaping just yet:


I guess I'll be foregoing the Japanese maple's haircut this year, at this point--Ma Nature seems to have her own agenda where that is concerned!

Speaking of going with the flow, I think that may be what 2009 is going to be all about for me. At this time last year, I never thought this spring would find me where I am right now, in so many ways... but it's a pretty good place, all considered. And I am determined to enjoy it, and appreciate it, and take notice of all of the little pockets of color and fragrance and... life.


Happy Spring!

18 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Kim your front garden is so full of color. It looks so inviting. I can almost smell the lemony smell too. It is obvious that the fur person likes your front garden too. I have tried alliums many times and none have taken. I have very well drained soil out front and plenty of sunshine. I actually thought it might have been too dry. Hmmmmm Oh well, I will just have to enjoy other peoples alliums.

Muum said...

I love your color combos and ideas. good to see an update. I am not posting much, lately, either. Too many other things to mess with... especially the yard.. have to run out between rain showers and see what I can get into!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Lisa, yes, the fur person definitely likes my garden. He often sits on the brick behind the lions, too, in the spring and fall because it's a warm spot. :) Thanks for the compliments--and interesting to know that the alliums don't do very well for you in spite of your garden being very well drained. There goes THAT idea of mine!

Muum, good luck dodging raindrops today! I would ask you to send some of that rain our way, but I think that we're getting some tomorrow anyway. (I hope!) You're right, there's just wayyy too much stuff to get done in the spring, isn't there? And that's just in the garden!

Gail said...

Kim, Your garden is lovely..and I never leave here empty handed. Today, I take with me...the need to add more intense colors like ruby heucheras and that great bergenia to the Big Green that is my garden after a week of rain! But more importantly, I love your last thoughts "And I am determined to enjoy it, and appreciate it, and take notice of all of the little pockets of color and fragrance and... life." Have a delicious week! gail

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Aww... thanks, Gail, but remember: Green is Good, too! :) I AM trying to remember to take some time to stop and smell the proverbial roses, for sure. My life/work balance has gotten a little bit out of whack in the past few years, and I am just now beginning to realize that...

lisa said...

I say enjoying life is what it's all about! (Plus your less frequent posting makes it easier for me to keep up ;-) Do you think that golden marjoram would be hardy to zone 4? It sure is pretty!

kris at Blithewold said...

What a lovely landing at your front stoop... That bergenia is gorgeous - I think it's easier to tolerate blaring colors like that now and maybe again in fall - how nice that it mellows for summer. And this time of year, in the industry we work in, it does take reminders to slow down and appreciate, doesn't it? Good thing those reminders surround us!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Lisa, keeping up is a chore with all of these fun gardens to follow, isn't it?! I've emailed you about the golden marjoram, by the way... :)

Blithewold Kris, that's a good point. In spring, it seems that almost any kind of color goes and is welcome... and then again in fall, as kind of a last splash before winter drab sets in. And yes, it's a very good thing that those reminders surround us!!!

Leslie said...

Your garden is really coming back to life and I like the idea that you are enjoying it and not worrying too much about posting. It is, however, nice to have an update once in a while and get to see all your wonderful grasses as they begin a new year!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Your front garden is just an amazing thing in the spring, so filled with color and texture. I love that your planted something just so the dog could stomp on it. I hope she likes cats.
Too little time seems to be a common theme this year. Maybe it's like this every year, but we forget after the inactivity of the winter. Spring's just busting out all over.

oh said...

ooh lala! Wonderful pictures. Love the garden outside your front door. I would go in and out a lot just to see it. So glad to see you- you know we all enjoy your entries! (and tips) (and knowing that you know the real names of plants, too!)

love that kitty that's "growing" there!

Blackswamp_Girl said...

Leslie, there ARE lots of grasses in this front yard garden! But they're so easy to take care of... I'm glad that you post updates on your garden, too, even if that means that I have to drool longingly over that wisteria of yours... :)

Mr. McGregor's Daughter, oh, she LOVES cats! This cat, however, will have nothing to do with her--it's funny and pathetic all at the same time. The cat sits on the brick behind the lions... the dog "meanders" over to him slowly, head down and tail wagging, hopeful for just a small sniff of cat butt, or maybe to get a lick in... and the cat ignores her at first before finally issuing a haughty hiss, jumping down off the brick work, and sauntering slowly away without even a backward glance at the poor, crushed dog. *grin*

And yeah, maybe it IS like this every spring, but it does always take us by surprise, doesn't it?!

oh, thank you! It IS really nice to head down the front steps at this time of the year. I do it at least 3x per day--2 dog walks, plus going to work--and oftentimes more. Sometimes I just sit on the steps and try to burn the image in my head, so when it's all tired-looking in July I'll remember this spring freshness... lol.

Annie in Austin said...

Thank you, Kim, for letting us see the spring front garden the way you do - not as strangers enjoying it from the sidewalk, but as friends looking out with you at the patterns and colors.

The golden marjoram is quite tempting - wonder how that would do here. Pam/Digging gave me a seedling from a Lyre leaf sage - hope mine looks like yours when it grows up.

Happy Spring- wherever you find yourself!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

joey said...

Spring has found you BIG TIME, Kim! Your garden is stunning ... a delight to step out your front door. Isn't May glorious!

Stratoz said...

I spent a few hours getting the front yeard in shape today, don't ask about the back ;')

Sylvana said...

Princess Irene are my favorite tulips too. I have found that they are good perennial tulips as well.

chuck b. said...

What I'm really loving is actually the rhythm of drifts and clumps in the first picture. I want to walk around and look at it from every angle.

Layanee said...

The front bed is delicious and Prince's Irene is one of my favorites. It does look good with many colors in spite of that bright orange doesn't it? So happy to hear that you are cherishing the moments. Why is that so hard for us humans?

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