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Out front

When we moved into this house, we got a blank slate of a back garden and a fully planted postage stamp of a front garden. That suited us fine, because one of the complaints my lovely wife had about gardening in the previous place was that we'd constantly end up on opposite sides of the house! So we concentrated our efforts on the back garden, and that's been completely worth it. 

In fact, we concentrated so hard on the back garden that I can't even find any pictures of the front garden. This is as close as I get.


It was pretty basic: two rows of hebe at the back, two rows of euonymus emerald and gold (I think). There was a tiny bit of euphorbia in there too. Plus three more euonymus on the left side of the front door.

It did the job of filling the space pretty well, but the hebes out-grew everything else and neither of us actually liked them. So I was challenged to come up with something better for the front garden. The main problem was that I wasn't sure what kind of look I really wanted out there. I knew it had to be low maintenance because neither of us want to spend masses of time on the front garden - which ruled out any kind of formal box hedge parterre kind of malarky. I also knew I wanted some fairly dense hedging at the far end at least, because the road is a bit of a wind tunnel and it would be nice to have a little shelter. But we still need access to the meters, which naturally are on the far side of the house from the front door. Oh, and the whole thing faces north-north-east, so gets very little sun - particularly in winter. 

I mulled for quite some time. Right through the best part of the year for planting. Eventually settled on a sort of a rough design, involving something big and dense at the far end, some smaller shrubs along the back (leaving space to get through for the meters), and mostly herbaceous stuff in front. We dug out all of the existing plants, and I moved three of the better euonymus (euonymi?) into a better position and started shaping them into something like balls. I moved a load of self-sown herbaceous stuff from the back garden, and we picked up a repeat flowering weigela and a variagated lesser periwinkle, just in time for winter. 

Come spring, we found some of the larger plants - a couple of portuguese laurels for the far end, some skimmia for the main bulk. Aubretia for spring colour, and more herbaceous perennials from the back garden. So currently it looks like this:

Front garden

It's... well. Young, I guess. The large plants are tiny, because they are cheaper that way and they take better. The euonymus haven't really taken the ball shape yet. The alpine strawberries and japanese anemone that I moved this year haven't quite taken yet (although the last couple of weeks of cool, wet weather has definitely helped!). Still, the euonymus have grown better this year than I've seen yet, and I think the bones have potential. 

So I guess this is something of a 'before' photo, really. Fingers crossed it matures well! Now, if we could just stop the neighbourhood cats using it as a litter tray...


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