My Garden

My Front Garden is Boring

… and Flat.

I promised you some hall-of-shame photos and it seems only fair that I share my own garden first.  It’s a howler, with typically brown summer grass (the green spots are the weeds), and the overgrown foundation plants of rhododendrons.

But, let’s start at the beginning, in approximately 1953.  Note the only flowers seem to be a strip, about 2 feet wide, extending from the corner of the house out to the telephone pole, serving as a floral boundary between properties.  Very weird.

1953
Circa 1953

Flash forward some 50 years and you can see what an overgrown wreck it is in 2008.  The rhododendrons cover the windows, and the horrid variegated juniper reaches the eaves.  It was the first thing to go … we hooked it up to the truck and started driving!

Circa 2008, looking NW
Circa 2008, looking NW

There’s some heather, a large choisya, and a rather haphazard collection of ugly rhododendrons ranging from a sweet pale pink at the very south end (that’s the only one we’ll keep), several garish lipstick reds, and an awful dark purple. Oh God, now I can see another prickly juniper overgrowing the path; I forgot about that one.  Out they come!

2008 looking slightly SW
2008 looking slightly SW

Today, it is really not that much better. The vast prairie still extends to the neighbors yards, and many of the ‘foundation plants’ still remain.  Some of the shrubbery near the path and doorway has been replaced with grasses, because I do NOT want to water. I did nothing about amending the soil; just shoved them in [MISTAKE!]. The Calamagrostis ‘Karl Foerster’ is a success, growing each year to form a screen in the summer, waving gently, and the Festuca glauca and Carexes are nice, but they will be moved soon, potted up and replanted later, when we do some proper landscaping.  You can see it is flat, flat, flat!  Boring!

2013
2013

I wonder where the dividing line of flowers went. You can still see the slight grade change where they were. In any case, at this distance, at least you can’t see the weeds. They’re there!

I’ld like to point out that I don’t really want to make fun of people, only their gardens.  I deeply sympathize with having busy lives and socks to fold.  Not everyone has the time, money or inclination to garden.   Without time, I hope you have money to build your garden, but even without money, you can create great gardens by joining plant-nerd groups, sharing seeds, trading, and Craigslist-stalking.

Without imagination, however, it must be impossible.  Even prisoners at Colditz Castle during WWII grew imaginary crops.   I think of gardening with nearly every wakeful hour (especially when the children are squabbling).  One of the reasons we bought this house was the lovely garden space.  It’s time for me to stop whining and start growing.  It’s time for you to see the garden that I see in my mind.