The front garden was always going to be a surprise over the summer as I guessed there would be plants appearing between the shrubs. I don’t think I was ready for the rate of growth and outright abundance that arrived!
When we moved in mid December the front garden was in a bit of a sorry state and needed a good tidying up.
I soon got to the cutting back and weeding, which left it looking a bit bare. This exposed the picket fence between us and next door. Unfortunately it was falling apart and as it was our boundary, it needed replacing.
As if I was heard by the German shopping gods, the next time we went to buy our weekly groceries, Aldi had picket fence for sale! You don’t get a second chance, so the first weekend in May was spent painting picket fence before replacing the old one.
I knew there was plenty of Crocosmia as I’d had to clear away the remains of last year, but I hadn’t realised quite how much if it there was. In May it started to sprout up everywhere, between the stones and through the heather. It had the company and competition of unforeseen Spanish Bluebells. I was a bit sad to see these as I’d planted native bluebells in the small bed at the bottom of the drive but I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that it’ll be an impossible task to remove all the Spanish Bluebell bulbs and that nearly every other front garden along the road has them too.
I have to admit they are beautiful, not as delicate or as deep a purple as the native ones and they cheered me up every morning as I went down the steps to work.
The task of digging out both the Crocosmia and Bluebell bulbs was quite a mammoth one. I wanted to leave a patch of Crocosmia and dig our as much of rest as I could. Once the the Bluebells finished flowering, I also dug out as many of these as I could. There are many left that I couldn’t reach, which will return next Spring. You need much longer and stronger fingers than I have to persuade the bulbs out of the recesses between the stones.
This is the front garden after the Crocosmia cull.
It’s mid July now, the Cocosmia has just started flowering and I’m still finding stray ones poking through the other plants and shrubs.
Once I’d cleared and weeded I planted two Lavender and one Rosemary bush – just before we had the scaffolding put up.
I wasn’t thinking ahead! The poor Rosemary did her very best to survive being trampled by the builders but eventually gave up and died. There is still a bare patch in her memory, which is a good thing as now Roger is rebuilding the steps outside the front door (I’ll post pics in an update, once it’s finished) so anything planted there would still have to have survived being trampled and covered in cement dust.
The Lavender at the back is thriving, the Lavender at the front didn’t cope with the hot dry weeks we’ve had. Perhaps I should’ve remembered to water it!
I will be adding more Lavenders to this tier. The smell was gorgeous as I weeded around this one at the weekend. And, of course, the bees and butterflies love it.
So what have I been doing in the front garden since May?
Mostly battling it out with the Bindweed.
I knew it would be a problem when I first started on this garden as the weed suppressing membrane is rotting and underneath are bindweed roots, which I’ve pulled out by the bucketful. It’s such a shame it winds it’s way through the plants and strangles them as I like to see it in flower in the wild – those big beautiful white trumpets.
So now, almost weekly, I’m out there carefully pulling up the roots, feeling immensely satisfied when I can pull a long, long root up without it breaking, and disappointed when a root snaps. The problem is the stones. The bindweed is very clever and roots behind the stones where I can’t reach it, so all I can do is break it off as low as I can on the stem. For as long as I live in this house, I will be out there collecting bindweed.
I noticed clover leaves gradually appearing as I’ve been gardening in the front. I left them to see what would happen. Huge great clover flowers that are loved by the bees and butterflies is what happened. These will be staying and allowed to spread themselves around!
Since May, I’ve also planted three Thymes in the second from bottom tier. These have done so well, I brought five more at the weekend. This will be my Thyme Tier. I love how they smell and can’t resist brushing my hands over them.
Finally, in my absence from blogging, the Laburnum tree has flowered. It looked lovely for a very short period of time and has now returned to ugly hanging pods. I’m not at all sure I like this tree.
But, best of all, one of my Honeysuckles, that I planted in February, has one flower!