I learned so much from listening to her and seeing her wonderful examples of how to give an existing border some excitement. Her advice was to take a look at your garden when it's looking its worst and see what is missing. For me winter is definitely the time my front border is at its worst. It's so hard in the middle of summer to think about how things will look in 6 months because I'm just too excited to cram more flowers in. Now I look at it and see that it's lacking in evergreen plants. She suggested visiting local nurseries year round so you can see what is looking good at different times of the year and avoid being overwhelmed by all the blooming plants in spring. I think that is probably how I've run into the lack of winter interest I have in my garden.
Sue's advice was to pay attention to shapes of the border, layering of plants, texture and repetition. All such great advice for someone like me who is easily distracted by the flowers blooming in the nursery.
One of our hopes has been to put up a picket fence. Once that happens the outer grass area (that will hopefully one day be going away) will be inaccessible from the inner grass area unless you climb through the plants. Trying to decide where to "split" the border is the first challenge. This border extends both to the left and the right from what you see in this picture. I'm thinking the path will go to the left of the Dogwood tree. My plan would be to curve both sides of the path out towards the front, giving me some more planting space.
This long straight edge has always bugged me, but I just haven't gotten the urge to change it, now I do. I plan to add a bit of curve to it, nothing too dramatic, but it needs some help. Then I will be following more of Sue's advice by using repetition plantings along the edge. Right now it's just a mix of low growing perennials.
These brown sticks aren't really all that exciting to look at, I need to add some other textures in here, preferably some that are evergreen. This is where I think the path that will divide this long border will go.
Looking at the front from the driveway down I think I'll curve this bed to the left where it will meet with the driveway and that curve will hopefully mirror the curve I plan to make where I divide the bed.
Her final bit of advice was to:
- rip out or revive plants that aren't thriving or working well where they are,
- evaluate and plan - and to do this when your garden is looking its worst,
- just say no when you go to the nursery - have your list of what you need and don't get distracted,
- top dress
If it hadn't been 4pm when I returned home I would've started taking the yard apart right then!
Edited to add I'm linking this post to My Little Garden in Japan's world gardening carnival. Gardening for the new year.