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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Front Yard Garden

Well here's the front garden! When we moved here, the house was not painted, just bare stucco. And nothing but dirt and weeds in the front yard! It was (and still is unfortunately) a major fixer upper. After we had lived here about a year, I decided I just had to plant something in the front yard. I put down a soaker hose and planted some cosmos flower seeds around that. A neighbor was out for a walk and told me I was wasting my time. He said nothing would grow up here on the hill, all rock and clay. Well guess I proved him wrong!

But truly, it has been a rough go. I am just too stubborn to quit trying. We found that the stucco contractors had put all left over lime, cement, wood and debris in the front yard and covered it over with about 6-8 inches of dirt. To have it all dug out and hauled away would be just too much money so I decided to work with it. I did dig out a lot of hardened lime chunks, but the cement had solidified. Way too much to do by hand. After years of adding compost and organic materials, I am making progress. 

This is from left to right street view, our driveway is to the left. This front section is beyond the buried debris and mostly clay dirt. Our peach tree is 3 springs old and I harvested about 200 peaches this year. The birds got 20-30 or so. I have several yellow lantana; they are very common and hardy here. I planted yarrow and it really seems to like it there and it's spreading. I love roses and they are doing well planted here. 

I also love vincas, mostly grown as an annual, I let them go and they reseed. If they make it through the winter, and they usually do, I give them a trim in spring. I have a rosemary plant tucked in there with the vincas.

Moving over a frame, another rose, purple heart, and an artichoke. The artichoke is perennial and this is it's first spring. I harvested one choke and I'm letting the other 3 bloom, can't wait to see them!

This is a new bed expanded down from the established one so it still needs to fill in. I have always wanted to have a garden that just kind of did it's own thing, replanted it's self at will and where it wanted to grow. Less work for me right? This new bed is an experiment to see what can happen if I gently direct growing and see what happens. I already had volunteer red lettuce grow so I am off to a good start! 

I have planted calendula, plantain, sage, poppies, cantaloupe, watermelon, horehound, soap wort and toothache plant. The last 3 where just for fun, funny names for the kids and to see if they will grow here. The cantaloupe died, the watermelon isn't growing, and the sage, poppies and plantain are puny.  But it's a new bed, I didn't add any amendments, just dirt and some palo verde needles as mulch. I am confident it will continue to get better and better. 

I have a mystery plant! When this bed was ready to plant, I went through my seeds and just planted all the old ones and then threw the envelopes away. I completely forgot what I planted in the space! It has leaves like parsley, and blooms like yarrow or queens lace. Even kinda like celery but it doesn't smell like celery. Any ideas? I'm leaning towards a different variety of yarrow. Oh and red cotton!

Here's the red cotton bloom, beautiful! I thought the kids would like to learn about how cotton grows, becomes thread and then cloth. I found this red variety at Baker seeds. I have no idea if the cotton will be white or pink or red but the plant is a nice color for sure. 

This is mexican petunia, it blooms year around and grows and spreads like crazy with a little water. There was a lot of debris under this planting area, the petunias don't seem to mind a bit.

That bare patch in the bottom right is a new bed I'm working on. It's narrow, about 2 feet by 6 feet, and terraced up about 18 inches from the petunias. I have been putting plant clippings into it for a few years to fill it up and then covered it over with dirt. I hope to plant barbados cherries there soon.

On the end is a mexican bird of paradise. It gets about 5-6 feet tall, I cut it back every year.

And here is the problem bed, the area with all the yuck under it. It is 7 feet by 22 feet and has done pretty well; this last winter/spring I harvested broccoli and cabbages, cilantro and lots of calendula. The brussel sprouts grew but never produced. I planted celery for the first time and it's going to seed now. At the end I have a garlic and onion bed. I have let some onions go to seed and wondering if I could do the same with the garlic. Think I could have a perpetual onion and garlic bed? Hmmm....

This late spring I planted sunflowers and beans. They are struggling big time and I don't know how to help them. I did find out after I had planted that beans don't like brassica veggies so perhaps that's the problem. I shouldn't have planted them in the same bed that the cabbages and broccoli had just been harvested from. Papa is collecting wood (free pieces) to make raised beds here for me. Easier since I won't have to bend so low to work. 

And finally for today's post, I have 2 pots by the front door filled with allsyum and fox tail ferns. I have a long narrow section along the north side that I haven't done anything with yet. There's a retaining wall there that needs to be replaced so I have been waiting for that to happen before planting begins there. 

We have all kinds of pest that love to eat and dig in a  garden, quail, rabbits, coyotes, stray dogs and cats, and all kinds of bugs. But I love love love my gardens! For me more is more, can you tell?

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  1. Great garden! I especially like your volunteer lettuce and mystery plant. My mom and I call that Darwinian Gardening. I love planting ALL the seeds and seeing what works out! It's been a cold spring here (Pennsylvania) and I'm frustrated that most of my seeds aren't sprouting yet.

    1. I have always wanted to just throw out seeds and see what grows, I'm going to let a lot of things reseed. It will be fun to watch it all over the next few years.

  2. You have a wonderful garden. Beauty and eats together.

    Yael from Home Garden Diggers

  3. I'll say you proved that neighbor wrong. Everything looks beautiful! Love that red cotton. I'm wondering if the plant is Meadow Rue. But the leaves to me look a lot like Columbine, so not sure. It's always fun when plants come back. I get Larkspur and Cosmos that reseed every year. They move around and the garden is ever changing. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  4. Well, first of all, I love the simple beauty of your home. After months of seeing views from inside, I finally get to see a place I'd love to live in to enjoy the sun as much as you do! You did a great job - the "curb appeal" is wonderful! And I think you met the challenge of growing in less than ideal circumstances. I'm amazed at the variety and yield you have. This would be an accomplishment in even the best growing conditions. I especially love the funny plants you included to delight the grandkids! You'll have to show us the "toothache plant" when it emerges - and since YOU planted it - I'm sure it will grow!

    1. Thanks Joyce! You will be able to see a photo of the toothache plant in my next post, Garden Journal. It is said that you can chew the leaves or flowers to numb your mouth or a toothache. I'm not sure about that but I may get the courage to try it soon.

  5. Wow, your garden looks fantastic! All your hard work and unwavering tenacity has paid off :) xx

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  7. Wow, you have had a challenge put before you with the space you want to garden, and yet, it looks like your persistence is paying off! Good for you! So happy to have you join us at Celebrate Your Story! I look forward to reading more from you!

  8. Impressive garden... especially for what you had to work with... wow! I would have a hard time living where things don't grow ... good for you for being so persistent!! :)

  9. I would have a hard time living where things don't grow too! Glad my persistence paid off. Thanks for stopping by.

  10. Thanks for sharing at the #InspirationSpotlight party @DearCreatives

  11. What a lovely garden! I enjoyed your passion and the wonderful photos! We have horrible soil where we live: It's been described as being "like the moon." Rocky, dry, compacted, and pretty much undiggable. After three years and lots of work, we have garden beds. And there is still more work to be done. Our front yard is now full of herbs---but not well laid out like yours. It's a goal. Thank you for sharing! I found you at Our Simple Blog Hop!

  12. You did a great job on that garden! Scheduled to Pinterest. Thanks for sharing at the To Grandma's House We Go link party.

  13. Good for you, proving your neighbor wrong. Sometimes neighbors just need to leave their opinions at home. Your garden looks great!


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