What's blooming -and- Some views of new front garden

bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)July 10, 2010

Several things are blooming now in my garden. I've also included some photos of my new front yard. It was a slope before and essentially useless space that was hard to maintain. Now it's pretty much level and the new wall has given me use of the area. It's very hot and sunny (south side of house) so I've gone with a xeriscape garden. I've had the yucca and some cacti and ice plants, along with the lavender and some of the sempervivums and sedums. I have added more of all of these and some other drought tolerant plants. As time goes by, I'll see how various things do, and add more accordingly.

Hope you enjoy the photos.

Bill

Heliopsis "Lorraine Sunshine"

Love the foliage!

Crocosnia "Lucifer"

Oxalis

Hydrangea

Althea (Rose of Sharon)

Oak Leaf Hydrangea showing early pink tint.

Butterfly bush

Desert mallow

Desrt mallow

Hesperaloe parvifolia (Also called "Red Yucca" but not really a yucca)

Delosperma ("Ice plant")

Sempervivums replanted around a rock in the new front xeriscape garden

View of the new front garden and new walls and steps.

Another view. This will of course need time to fill in and I will be adding plants as I find those that do well here.

Cactus view

Another view

Sedum flower

Succulents in a rocky home

Echinocereus. A ball cactus with pink flowers.

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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I love the new walls and steps and the front garden! Where are you planning to put the new tree? Seeing this area changes all the thoughts on what kind of tree would be appropriate.

All of the stones and succulents are so unworldly - or at least unNew England worldly.

And Lucifer is gorgeous.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 2:10PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Calaire,
Thanks. Yes it is a bit unusual for New England but then that's the fun of gardening sometimes. I do have a more "traditional" garden out back and to the sides of my house which I also enjoy.

Here are before and after photos (HUGE difference and my back will appreciate not having that slope!) from another view angle showing the planter at the corner. I thought it would be nice to have a planter and to break up what would have been a large expanse of "wall". Also, it makes visibility better when backing out of the driveway.

The old: Note the nasty, weedy slope and broken stairs.

This view shows the ugly wall along the driveway. You can also see the old tree stump. But note the nice existing stone steps leading up to the front door. The stone mason did a great job matching the stone!

Here's the finished construction. I hadn't planted all the plants yet nor added the crushed stone mulch.

This last one shows the planter built into the corner of the wall. This is where I'd like a small tree. The mason also redefined the planter at the very bottom of the wall (along side the car) with cobblestones, and he made a step area at the far end so I can walk along the garage to the back yard. (I'll need to clear some weeds there first!)

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 3:42PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Bill: Lovely job, it just makes so much sense this way. I can see how that tree has to be special, being way out in front with the walls pointing at it. I started to say that you could even use a pointy conifer to echo the ones at the front door, but I remembered the issues of Christmas tree thieves. Maybe not a problem in Providence, but I know I wouldn't want to chance it even here (maybe that's just my ex-New Yorker persona speaking, but still...).

It must have been exasperating trying to work on that slope with the steep angles and not wanting to moon the passersby.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 5:12PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Claire,
It was quite a challenge to try to keep that slope (slop?) presentable!

I'm envisioning that planter in spring. It would be all too easy to put a small tree, such as a dwarf flowering crabapple, redbud, cherry etc. surrounded with waves of spring bulbs. BUT....that would mean pruning to keep the tree from overwhelming the space, and planting something for after the bulbs are done, to hide their waning foliage. Annuals, or maybe the ubiquitous daylilies? But I don't want that. I've looked at a very hardy tree rose, one that's not grafted and therefore totally hardy here. I could then surround it with carpet or knockout roses. Would be nice all season, except in winter. I'll keep an open mind and keep researching. No rush.

Bill

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 6:38PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Bill: I look at that planter and I keep thinking of a waterfall - not a real one, but some gray-green vines tumbling down the two inner walls from the upper level (helichrysum?). Maybe even continuing to tumble down the lower wall to the planter in the driveway. Could be a background/groundcover to a shrub or tree in the planter. Just an unusual idea that might work with the rock garden above.

Claire

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 8:51PM
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tree_oracle(z6b MA)

Nice pics! I really like the new wall and steps. Top-notch.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 9:46PM
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cloud_9(z5 CT)

Very nice! I really like that notch planter area. What a clever solution both for visibility and concept. Thanks for posting all the pics. Great close-ups.

Deb

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 10:10PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Bill, your new garden looks great! I just LOVE that new wall and steps! They did a great job. They really did match the front steps by the front door. You would never know they were made at different times. I like the planter by the driveway too. When you get a small tree there it's going to be really perfect! I also like the idea of roses there too. In the photo of the cactus, which looks great by the way, is that a palm tree? I also see a house across the street in that photo, with two large evergreen shrubs sitting on top of a wall. Not liking that arrangement at all. I like yours much better. You must be so pleased with the way it's coming out!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 4:13AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Thanks everyone for all the nice comments!

Claire, I agree about the two green ball shrubs atop my neighbor's wall. I think the contractor planted run-of-the-mill yews and they just left them there. The plant in the background to the left of the cactus is a Yucca recurvifolia. It's about 14 years old, and is visible in the before and after pictures to the right of the smaller steps. In the after shots, you can see it was in bloom. Yesterday I spread more stone on the right side by that yucca, so almost done. Next project is to have more construction on the left side of the house behind the garage. I want to reclaim some space for a small patio outside the back door and a larger one behind the garage. Then I think I'll have to stop for a while!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 6:33AM
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defrost49

Beautiful close-ups. The new stonework is very nice. Your new xeriscape garden is intriguing. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 7:32AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Just one more thought - that planter with south facing stone walls is going to get very hot and dry in the summer and maybe will stay relatively warm in the winter. Does it get fierce winds in the winter?

You may have a good spot for serious zone pushing (xeric).

Claire

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 11:10AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Claire,
The planter has a south facing and a west facing wall. It could be somewhat exposed in winter, although the garage will protect somewhat from the north and northwest, which are the prevailing wind directions in winter. That's why I was tempted to try the palm tree! But maybe the tree rose (about 6 feet) would be a nice centerpiece. I could underplant with Knockout or groundcover roses, and at least they go all season. But I'm still looking for that perfect sepcimen. No rush.......it can stay empty for a while longer.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 6:30PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Wow, nice looking wall and steps! Makes a world of difference. Looking good!

:)
Dee

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 9:29PM
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tulipscarolan(z6 RIcoast)

Wow, what a great transformation! And such an interesting/special collection of plants. I love that crocosnia...is that a bulb? When is it planted? Anyway, great job--that was a MAJOR project!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 9:27AM
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ellen_s(z5 centralMA)

Very very nice! Really interesting and impressive choice of plant material! Looks like something you would see in Tucson, not in New England! The Red Yucca is fantastic. Would love to see how that area evolves over the years...

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 10:21AM
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terrene(5b MA)

What a major improvement! I like the stone in the front. I would guess it retains a lot of heat and might allow you to grow plants that are a bit tender for your zone?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 2:59PM
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ego45(6bCT)

Bill, how about Himalayan cedar, Cedrus deodara 'Gold Cone', narrow pyramidal form, 20x5'. And it will definitely have all necessary protection in this spot.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 4:49PM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

Thanks again to all for the nice comments! I still find it hard to believe that I've worked so hard all my life to try to keep that original slope looking good......mowing lawn on a slope was not easy and I had finally done away with grass and had planted a variety of ground covers and bulbs, with cedar mulch. Still, it needed a lot of maintenance and weeding, which was not easy to do standing on the hill. And now.......I have a level front yard! After all these years I wonder why it wasn't done years ago! And leveling it created a new space that is really fairly large and usable. Cost a bit, but well worth it.

Carol,
Crocosmia is a bulb, or actually a corm very much like a gladiolus (to which I believe they are related). The foliage is very similar also. I bought these as a potted clump in late spring about 3 years ago, but I believe you can buy them as corms online and from catalogs. There are several kinds and most are hardy in either zone 5 or 6 depending on the variety.

Ellen,
Yes that Hesperaloe parvifolia (aka red yucca) is really nice. It should form a nice clump in time. There's also a yellow variety which I might add someday.

Terrene,
It may prove to be a sort of heat source and I'm eager to try some new things out front. The rest of the property is traditional...........lawn and flower beds, small shade garden and a soon-to-be patio behind the garage (now just wild grass that I keep mowed.)

ego,
I really want something more open and airy. Something as tall as 20' and dense will block the view of the house from the street and also my view out the front window.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2010 at 5:07AM
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