Six on Saturday 6/4/2019 – Front Garden Highlights

Grevillea victoriae

I need to learn to love my front garden just a bit more. Its a lot better than it was three or four years ago before I dug up the lawn but the truth is I just walk past it every day and every so often I find myself thinking I need to spend some time tidying up and sorting it out . So today I thought I would include it in the Six on Saturday meme so I would be forced to look at it more.

Grevillea Canberra Gem

There are two Grevilleas in the front garden.  The Grevillea ‘Canberra Gem’ has been in the front garden for probably 11 years.  I love it, it reminds me of my late sister as I bought it with her. At the moment its about 5 ft high by 5 ft wide and thats after we heavily pruned it last Autumn by about 2ft all over.  It has just started flowering and is beloved by the pollinators.  The other grevillea is Grevillea victoriae (see top picture).  Interestingly, it has broad leaves not the pine like leaves of Canberra Gem and it is only the flower that really, in my opinion, indicates they are the same family. This shrub was added to the garden probably about five years ago and was moved a few times so is now only really begining to establish itself.  The shrub is less floriferious than the Canberra Gem, you really have to seek the flowers out, although I am wondering if that will improve with time.

Sorbus pseudohupehensis ‘Pink Pagoda’

As well as two Grevilleas, there are two Sorbus in the front garden; more of a flux than by design – I just like Sorbus.  I planted a Mountain Ash (Sorbus aucuparia) when we moved in 15 years ago and a couple of years back added Sorbus pseudohupehensis ‘Pink Pagoda’ to add balance in the garden.  They form a sort of triangle of trees with a Birch being the third point.  I was pleased to see the leaves had reappeared today, as it struggled last year in the drought and was one of the few plants that I consistently ensured had a good watering once a week.

Persicaria nepalensis

I have a preference for foliage these days over flowers as I think the garden looks better all year round with a good tapestry of interesting foliage and then flowers add interest as they come and go.  I’m not the biggest fan of Persicaria as it can be a bit of a thug and attempt to take over a border (been there, done that) but I did succumb to Persicaria nepalenis because of its beautiful leaves.  I think the flowers are a pale pink, but as I can’t remember it shows you that the main attraction of this plant is its leaves.

Lunaria ‘Chedglow’

Last week I showed you the swath of Lunaria (Honesty) at the back of the main garden, which self seeds around.  From the colouring of the leaves they seem to be a cross between a couple of Lunaria I have grown over the years.  In the front garden I am more certain that the Lunaria are self-sown Lunaria ‘Chedglow’ due to the distinctive dark stems and leaves with variegation.  This one has placed itself in the gravel path and is thriving.

Fritillary melegaris (Snakeshead Fritillary)

Finally, I spotted a line of Snakeshead Fritillary growing along the beech hedge.  I planted them years back when there was a lawn and I laboured over whether or not the dryness under the hedge would work for them for not.  It seems to have worked well, although now it means that the fritillaries are growing at the back of a big border and not really seen so I may have a think about trying to relocate them – or maybe not.

Thanks to the Propagator for hosting this weekly meme which gets me into the garden even when I dont have time to garden but I can find 5 minutes to take some photo and see what is happening, and ponder plans.


Author: Helen Johnstone

I live in Malvern, Worcestershire and am a very keen gardener. I started the Patient Gardener Blog in January 2008 as a way of recording what was happening in my garden and connecting with other like-minded people. I started a second blog PatientGardener 365 January 2013 in order to try and post a photo a day to capture what is growing in my garden or places I have visited

20 thoughts on “Six on Saturday 6/4/2019 – Front Garden Highlights”

  1. Love the two Grevilleas. We’ve grown a few in the past but they died and weren’t replaced and looking at yours I wonder why. Superb plants, especially on dry poor soil in full sun where most other things would struggle and they’re at their best. Front gardens suffer from the fact you’re nearly always just passing through on the way somewhere when you look at them. There’s rarely time to engage properly.

    1. Thanks Jim. Mine are growing in clay based soil so quite rich but it does dry out a bit in the summer.

    1. Hi. A lot of my neighbours have covered their front gardens in gravel and that really attracts the cats. Mine is a forest of plants most of the year

  2. It’s lovely to see the plants in your front garden – is it the sort of front garden you could sit in without feeling as though you’re sitting in the street? Perhaps a seat out there might help you fall in love with it as you could spend time admiring your green thumbs and the changes you’ve made, as well as, of course, admiring the plants.

    1. Hi AD
      If I placed a strategic bench then potential I could sit in screened from the outside world but I can’t see it ever happening as I like my privacy too much

  3. Good old grevilleas: such tenacious plants. I have a victoriae called ‘Lady O’ that flowers all year, although like yours, the flowers are not as showy. I love the fritillary, but I have to love them from a distance!

    1. Hi Jane
      These are the only two that are considered hardy here, or indeed are available. They aren’t very well known here and people think because they are Australian they won’t be hardy

  4. Hi, it’s interesting to see the plants but a picture of your front garden as a whole would give us a better idea of your challenge. Another SoS garden made this observation and I thought: what a great idea! 🙂

    1. Hi Piglet
      If you put front garden into the search box on my blog you will find lots of pics of the front garden. I used to include lots of photos of the garden as a whole but at the moment I prefer to focus on close ups of the plants

  5. Glad you mentioned Persicaria being a thug – I bought one that I was going to plant in a new border. Looks like I’ll have to confine it somehow!

  6. Oh it’s good to see your grevillia ‘Canberra Gem’ again Helen. It must be such a special plant for you. The young foliage of sorbus ‘Pink Pagoda’ is most subtly coloured. I can imagine it with its two well chosen tree companions 🙂

  7. I like your persicaria. I indulged in p. Red dragon as bareroots and they are coming through now. I planted them this weekend in partial shade at the base of some climbing roses. Hope it suits them there.

  8. Not much is written about mountain ash or other species of Sorbus. I got my first two of the same common mountain ash two years ago, just to experience growing them. I would like to find uses for the fruit, although there is plenty of other fruit to use for the same functions here. Hawthorns and saskatoons are uncommon here. Toyon is of course native, and familiar common natives are not as much fun.

    1. Yes! It is done with saskatoons and others too. In the Santa Clara Valley, I grew up with our locally traditional fruits, so rowan (mountain ash), saskatoons, and so many other fruits from other parts of North America seem quite exotic.

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