Gardening Magazine

End of Month View – January 2013 – The Front Garden

By Patientgardener @patientgardener


Well this is a bit of a leap of faith for me as I have a love/hate relationship with my front garden and have perfected the art of passing by it without seeing it for some six years now and I certainly hardly ever show it on the blog. Last year I decided that it was ridiculous that I had such a large front garden and potential for planting which I was ignoring and it was time to get over my phobia.  I am such a private person that I don’t really like gardening in the front garden as I feel self-conscious.

When we moved here some seven or eight years ago the front garden had no hedges but contained a vast Leylandii which was at  least two storeys high and a strange small island bed with a very  sad tiny hydrangea in it.  The conifer came out within weeks of us moving in, bringing lots of light  into the house.  The Silver Birch (Betula jacquemontii) was a present from my sons probably within a year of us moving in and this was followed by a Sorbus, the beech hedge and laurel hedge; planted one Christmas Eve.  The short conifer looking plant to the right of the Birch is a Grevillea ‘Canberra Gem’.  I love the Grevillea. It has stood up to two winters of -18C temperature and being smothered in snow and it reminds me of my sister as I bought it from a nursery she had discovered near her and was excited to show me.


This was the view of the front garden back in November 2010 when I posted wondering what to do with it.  After much mumbling and staring out of the window I decided that the lawn would remain.  I had considered replacing it with gravel, maybe with grasses through it or just planting up the whole thing but I am more old school that I care to really acknowledge and the traditionalist me felt that some grass was needed. So the lawn was staying but it needed tidying up and formalising.  Back last Spring I started to mark out the new lawn which was to be a rectangle and meant making the borders deeper.  Well with the weather so wet last year I never got as far as lifting the turf nearest the house but this is one of my first jobs as soon as it is dry enough.


The front garden has been covered in snow most of this month so there was no chance of making progress.  I have tried to emphasis the formality of the lawn by edging it on the long sides with Alchemilla mollis and across the bottom with Deschampsia and this will be repeated in the house end border.  I have also planted lots of Tulipa Ballerina, Alliums and Narcissus.  The  colour theme is going to be strongly red focussed to pick up on the Grevillea flowers but with other rich colours such as deep blues and burgandies.  I have already added Peonies, Salvias and Irises.

You will see in the picture below that the border to the left of the lawn is more of a triangle and I need to really sort this border out this year.  There is a lot of random planting in here on the driveway side and I need to clear it out and pull it together with the extension along the lawn.  I have some Echinops which I might add here.  I  am trying to be bold with the planting, planting with repeats and larger groups to make more of an effect.  I am keeping my plant collection and impulse  buys for the back garden.  I need to remove the three Cornus that are just in front of the Birch as they have been in for at least three years and have just sat there.  I don’t think they get enough moisture as they are in competition with the Birch and Laurel.  I have a large number of Phlomis russelina which need a new home and I am thinking of relocating them to this area as the foliage should provide a good contrast to the Grevillea.  I have also to sort out the right hand side of the Grevillea but I am still pondering on this.


So that is what my Front Garden looks like at the moment.  I am focussing on it for this year’s End of Month view so I will have to get my act together and finish off last year’s project.

If  you would like to join in this meme you are very welcome.  You can use it however you like – some people show the same view each month, others go on a tour of their garden.  Whatever works for you.  But if you do join in please do leave a link in the comments box so we can all come and have a nose.

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