I have to admit that I am actually pleased with the front garden – something I am very surprised to be typing as the front garden has challenged me for years. I worked very hard at the weekend completing the plant moves I had been thinking about all winter.
The variegated Portuguese Laurel was planted in the far right hand corner a couple of weeks ago. I have now added a Cistus in front of it which I have grown from a cutting over the last few years. It has white flowers with red centres and the plant is that the colouring will pick up on the Laurel, Grevillea and Birch. So there is a plan and a lot of thinking has gone in to it. I also wanted to have more substance at the very front of the garden as I am toying with removing the Laurel hedge as it has never looked very healthy so I am trying to create more of a buffer/screen with shrubs.
It is difficult to see but this is the view I started the year with so I am trying to stick to it. You will see some yellow blobs at the far end and this is a row of small narcissus amongst the descampsia which I am pleased with and will add to this autumn. I have also planted out some Francoa and some Echinops ritro which I had lurking on the patio. I am hoping with fairly limited range of plants and with quantity they will eventually have an impact. I have focussed on the foliage more than the flowers, the Francoa has reddish green leaves which again pick up on the Cistus and Grevillea and the Echinops will hopefully link with the Phlomis russelina I planted last month and the Birch.
I also removed the mother plant Cistus which was under the living room window. I had intended to use that for the front of the garden but it was just so big and had really got to the point of no return it had to go. In fact when I went to dig it out, it fell to pieces it had got so brittle. I spent a ridiculous amount of time clearing the corner above which is to the right of you as you look at the top photos ( to the photographers right). I had planted some Euphorbia griffithii ‘Dixter’ in this corner – just the one small plant and I am never ever going to plant it again. It was a nightmare, the plant sends out runners and the one plant had swamped the whole corner, it was like trying to dig up an octupus. Some of the roots just went straight down and I gave up trying to find the bottom as the corner was beginning to resemble the Somme. No doubt it will show its face again at some point and then I’m afraid the weed killer will come out. I ended up with a huge trug of the stuff which has gone to the refuse dump – I am convinced that at some point in the future this plant will be spoken about like Japanese Knotweed!! Having tackled the evil Euphorbia I moved a Sarcococca from the back garden to this spot. It had outgrown its place and I think it will provide a good contrast the bamboo, something solid at the base. I also added a couple of Japanese Anemones to add height and light later in the year.
You will see in the top two photos that there is a mass of plants to the left of the lawn and these are Tulip Ballerina which I am hoping will naturalize. I need to balance it with something along the line of the Beech hedge. There are Bergenia here and Alchemilla mollis but I decided not to plant tulips as I was worried about the damp; this winter there were real puddles of water in the border. However, I am now very conscious that there is a lack of balance so I might try some Tulip bulbs since I think the orange of the flowers will work well with the Beech.
I have tried very hard to think about the planting with more of a design focus in the front garden which has been a real departure for me and caused a lot of head scratching. I am really happy with the results but still need to square off the lawn near the house, tidy up the border nearest the driveway to link it into the scheme and finally to add some red irises to the far end.
So that’s my front garden at the end of April, I expect the tulips will be over before the end of May so I might bore you with another photo of the front garden during May.
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