Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Let's Walk Around the Front Center Island Bed
I am going to try to spotlight some of my gardens by doing a walk around. I did this once before with the Northside Shrub Border. Today's garden will be the Front Center Garden. This garden is about 50' long by 15' wide. It is in the center of the front yard and visible from the house. Looking from the front door to the left of the garden this is the view we see in the above picture. The Front Center Garden is the garden on the right. The part of the other garden you see with the 'Forest Pansy' redbud is, simply enough, the Forest Pansy Redbud garden with part of the Walled Garden attached. There is also a small concrete patio built into this garden area but today we focus on the Front Center Garden. The red tree in the FCG is a 'Newport' flowering plum.
Just to give you bearings, the garden straight ahead between the path in the above picture is the Roadside Shrub Border. This border runs the whole length of my property except where the driveway empties to the road and then the Driveway Garden. The Roadside Shrub Border is 10-11 feet wide and about 115' long. I tell you about the Roadside Shrub Border because it is directly behind the Front Center Garden; which is what I'm showcasing today. The Roadside Shrub Border and the Front Center Garden are separated by a wide grassy path you cannot see but we will walk around the FCG together and you'll see parts of it. The two front gardens (FCG and Roadside Shrub Border) hide the busy state highway in front of my home.
The Front Center Garden is one of thirteen large gardens in the front yard that include the following gardens: Northside Shrub Border, Crabapple Garden, Foundation Gardens (3 distinct sections), Redbud Garden, Walled Garden, Roadside Shrub Border, Driveway Garden, Front Perennial Border, Mahonia Garden, and Front Sidewalk Garden. In the above picture the 'Forest Pansy' redbud garden is to the left of the Front Center Bed. There is a grass walk through between the two gardens. The red tree in the Front Center Bed is a 'Newport' flowering plum. This shrub is a fabulous shrub-in the spring. it blooms and has a nice red color and even grows plums, but when June comes around it is usually decimated by Japanese beetles. I'm not sure I'll keep it in the long run but for now it is fine. Let's next see our center view looking at this garden from the house.
Here is the view from the front door. This garden edge faces west so it gets only afternoon sun-once the sun passes the large oak and pine trees that reside in this garden. Though it is difficult to see in the picture you are looking at two large pink azaleas on the left, three large oak leaf hydrangeas in the middle, two more large pink azaleas are on the right of the oakleafs as well. Centered between the two large beds and nestled within the shrubs are two Japanese maples. The maples are only about 6 feet tall but are filling in nicely. One can be seen behind the bird bath and the other is on the right by the green stake.These shrubs and the two trees form the center of this island garden. In front of it closer to me are three 'Endless Summer' hydrangeas, catmint, lilies, candytuft, daylilies, heucheras, a pieris, and some irises hostas, and other miscellaneous perennials. There are also a ton of daffodil bulbs in this bed.
Here is a closer view standing next to the garden looking north from the center. You can keep it all in perspective by using the bird bath as a point of reference. This garden is edged with broken concrete. I love broken concrete in my garden! it will never rust, rot, or discolor. It ages perfectly and makes a great edger for all gardens as well as fabulous stepping stones. I have recently nearly completed a patio made of broken concrete; which I will share at a later date. This view shows more of the perennials. Perennials are repeated frequently. I find that catmint and candytuft do well here in the raised bed with afternoon sun. The conditions in this bed are extremely austere due to the oak tree and large pine tree.
And here we are looking away from the middle of the bed to the right of the bed towards the driveway. Here you can see one of the Japanese maples, several aucubas, the pieris, irises, and in the background toward the driveway you can see some spireas and the bird feeding station. I frequently sit in this area after a long day in the garden. I enjoy watching the birds up close and I have a lot of peace in this garden in this chair.
We are looking at the right side of the Front Center Garden still. Here we see a long view toward the road and the driveway. The spireas are in the Front Center Garden. Across the grass pathway is the Mahonia Garden, and the garden closest to the picture taker (me) is the Front Sidewalk Garden. This is my view from my porch and I never tire of it. I barely have any grass but I do have enough so as to not feel closed in by the gardens. One can have too many plants and trees I've been told. In fact, one of my best gardening friends said she didn't think I needed any more trees. I tend to agree until that next 'must have that no one else has' tree comes along. I'll find a spot by golly!
Okay, we just walked between the Mahonia Garden and rounded the Front Center Garden. We are now on the eastern side of the Front Center Bed. This garden has the Roadside Shrub Border on the right and you can see the grassy path I talked about when I opened this post. The shrubs in the Roadside Shrub Border garden shade this side of the FCG bed something awful. I must deal with the shade and sacrifice some blooms in order to have privacy from the road. This side of the border primarily has the oakleafs, aucubas, azaleas, and a few other shrubs you'll soon see along with the ever present perennials. The shrubs do okay but the azaleas do not like the spot. I am having issues with them so may remove them at some point. I personally think perennials are supporting players in gardens and definitely support the shrubs and trees; which are the stars here at Tiger Gardens. I do love designing with perennials but they are not my first choice to plant. My first choice has always been and will always be to plant trees and shrubs then design around them. All of my gardens have trees and shrubs with the exception of the Back Sunny Perennial Border and the Vegetable Garden.
A closer view of the east side. You can see the daylilies, irises and shrubs. The brown shrub is an azalea. Like I said, the azaleas do not like this spot at all. This particular azalea is one of four that I dug from a friend's house. These azaleas bloomed nicely only one year in the past three. They are not happy and have some issues; mainly azalea leaf gall. The brown one is the worst one. The other three are okay and I like the structure they provide so I keep them around.
Moving past the first set of azaleas we come upon the oakleaf hydrangeas and the second set of azaleas. On the other side of the azaleas is a Lo-Gro Sumac and Japanese kerria. Both of these shrubs do fine in the dry shade. The shade is very dry here due to an oak tree and also an oak tree that was cut down several years ago. The soil is most dry.
Here I've turned around and looked back to where we just came from. You can see a giant hosta, the Lo-Gro, and some daylilies. There are also some grasses growing here and we'll soon see the 'Newport' plum.
Ah, here is the bend looking down the bed once again. BJ is the flower sniffing dog at Tiger Gardens. He is the best dog in the whole world. My neighbor shaved both him and CeCe. Doesn't he look great? Normally he is a shaggy dog.
We've now rounded the bend and have come full circle back to the front side of the Front Island bed looking south. There are lots of perennials in this bed. I plant all of my plants very closely-probably too closely but the benefit is no weeds and interest all year. There are layers upon layers here in my gardens. I'll show some more layers soon.
Another close up of the front center of this bed still looking south. The flower pots are not normally on the edge of this bed. We are getting a new roof soon and had to move the flower pots away from the house.
Now we've come full circle back to the right side of the Front Center Garden. I hope you enjoyed our walk around. I tried-really tried to make a logical order of the photos. It is so hard to do this when you have a lot and have not uploaded them in sequence....
in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden