Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Front yard plans

So. The side yard with its sad weird curves, its buried oil tank, and its random mohawk of roses.

I've spent so much energy in the backyard focusing on shrubs and the structure of the yard that I haven't gotten to have a lot of fun with perennials. I've decided that this is the area where I can get my rocks off and plant any perennials that I feel like and not worry about winter interest or anything. It's going to be the lab and I'm just going to plant what looks pretty in the catalog and if it looks terrible I'll just pull it up and plant something else. Anything softening that line of roses has to be an improvement.

Don't be jealous of my MS Paint skills.

That's not a dragon, that's an approximation of the perennials I will plant and the pathway we'll put next to the driveway. I'm going to plant things that butterflies and hummingbirds like and maybe put down gravel around the pavers, which butterflies use to replenish their salts. We already have a birdbath here and a hummingbird feeder, which is being thuggishly guarded by a male.  Hopefully this should draw all the pretty critters to the area viewable from my kitchen window.

These are the plants that I'm ogling right now. The palate is kind of a mess (orange! purple! red! blue!) but I'm just going to plant them and see what happens.

There are a lot of agastaches, poppies, and penstemons and a lot of plants I saw in Scott's yard. I want to work in some grasses so if anyone has a favorite to suggest (cough*scott*cough), I'm all ears. Or if you have a great flower to suggest, let me know!


  1. Actually I like your palette, sort of a hot "electric" collection. My only suggestion would be to add Crocosmia, it's a hummingbird magnet, and I'm sure Mr Rhone Street will come through with some winning suggestions!

  2. Ooh, that's a great idea. Thank you! Any hardy spiky plants you'd recommend?

  3. Your garden will look 100% better without the wavy snaky curves, and with the path or gravel you plan. One hundred percent.

    For plants you have gorgeous hot colors already but you can't go wrong with more in the form of the crocosmia and with knautia (that will give you some of the tall prairie motion you want from grasses). If you do plant grasses, go small, you don't have that much room (pennisetum Little Bunny or a tall narrow grass like Karl Foerster feather reed grass.) For something in late summer how about a Japanese anemone (Robustissima has silvery buds that will go well with hot colors, and soft pink blooms), but give it room.

    For coolness to combat the hot stuff, a caryopteris, it's a shrub but you cut it back like a perennial, and it has blue gray leaves, gorgeous bee magnet jewel flowers late in the season. I could go on . . . but will stop here and wait for a post this summer to see what you put in!

  4. Thanks so much, Laurrie! I have added knautia and, caryopteris, and that pennisetum to my shopping cart. I have some orange crocosmia in the back yard that I think I'll relocate here. Team Loree/Laurrie can't be wrong. I'm so excited to play with this spot!

  5. AGASTACHES! I want a hundred of them. They were on my "desperately want" list last year but I never got any. I love love love that fuschia whatever-it-is in the bottom row.

  6. That's agastache 'Ava.' I have had it marked in the catalog for months. It's so pretty! I'm excited to have you over for drinks this summer to see them.

  7. You have to plant what you love. To hell with folks who don't like it. It's yours, it's your flowers, you're going to love it. People who get it will know it's all loooooove!

  8. OMG…is there anything more exciting than a garden makeover!
    So funny…the first thing I though of (other than grasses, of course) was Knautia as well! Crocosmia is a great idea…and will actually give you a lot of the same architectural contrast that a grass would…so, basically a win-win! 

    I agree with Laurrie, it looks like a narrow space, so shorter grasses would probably be best…and I'm assuming the roses are about, what…5' tall in bloom? If you do have room behind the roses (and it's decently sunny) I would sneak in a few (3-5) Calamagrostis 'Karl Foerster', so valuable for structure…especially in autumn/winter. If you have more than 2' behind the roses, maybe Panicum 'Northwind'…again, great structure and a nice foil for all the floral fireworks!

    Shorter Grasses in front of Roses:
    Pennisetum 'Red Head' (3'x3')- good form, colorful blooms, long-lasting structure
    Pennisetum 'Karley Rose' (3'x3')- finer leaves, earlier blooms…but not as much structure during winter

    Panicum 'Shenandoah' (4'x2') - nice, upright habit, foliage develops reddish coloring during summer…metallic pink blooms (forms a gauzy cloud of flowers)

    Schizachyrium scoparium 'Blaze' - if you want a shorter one (around 2' in bloom)
    Schizachyrium scoparium 'Blue Heaven' - if you want a taller one (around 4' in bloom)

    Sesleria autumnalis - smallish (around 18" in bloom) semi-evergreen with bright chartreuse fading to bright-green foliage. Silver inflorescences.

    No matter what you do…looks like you are already off to a great start…can't wait to see it with all the plants in!

  9. Oh...and I LOVE all the colors ;-)

  10. Hesperaloe parviflora for sure...another hummongbird magnet and such a fabulous easy care spiky plant!

    Have you gone to Cistus yet???

  11. You are so awesome. Thank you! I'm checking out all of these. Sadly, I can't put anything behind the roses because that's my neighbor's property, so I'll probably stick with the smaller grasses here. I definitely want to work some big grasses into the front landscape, so this list will come in handy.

    I'm so excited!

  12. I haven't been to Cistus yet, can you believe that?

  13. Hi! Found you on HouseBlogging.com and love your blog! I can't believe how much you're doing, but think it's great! AND a sense of humor?? I'm in! :)

  14. Thanks, Amy! I'm so glad you're here. :)

  15. Found you on houseblogging & had to check out your site based on name alone! Sounds like we had similar bidding stories- damn flippers! I'm ages away from yard work at this point but it's fun to pretend.

  16. Oh my gosh, I just popped over to your blog--you two are so brave! I can't wait to see what you do.

  17. I love the dragon! But I'm also really excited about this project. I love the assortment of plants you've selected, and I wouldn't feel shy about throwing them all in and seeing how it looks! The great thing about perennials is that you can move them around umpteen times and it's really not super traumatic for them. Woot!

  18. I just wish I had more room to plant everything I want!