The Front Sidewalk Garden in May

One of the coolest things about gardening is that every month brings a new scene. Different plants come to the forefront while others fade away leaving either seed heads or simply foliage in their place. Some may disappear completely among the foliage or die back to the ground revealing new fresh plantings that are coming into their own while some seemingly bloom forever.

My front sidewalk garden changes significantly over the course of a year. The scheme in September is very different from what you see now even though you may see some aspects that are similar. Here is how it appears from partway down the sidewalk. On the right the irises are peaking out toward the sun and mounds of daylily foliage are nearly completely hiding the fading tulip foliage. I like to leave the foliage of bulb plants up as long as possible for them to recharge so disguising the foliage is important. The daylilies do a pretty good job of masking the tulip leaves

 
A close look at the right side of the sidewalk garden reveals a power player in this garden, in fact two of them, 'Walker's Low' Catmint and a butterfly bush. This 'Walker's Low' Catmint is in fact the mother plant for all my other catmints. I save money through propagating my own plants and catmints propagate very easily.  You can even try just sticking a cutting in the ground and you will find some success. Planted en mass catmint looks fantastic.  One of my goals is to propagate enough of it that I can make a small sea of catmint in the backyard. 
I cut the butterfly bush back severely this year and it is springing forward nicely!  All the branches seem to be focused on growing upwards which will give the catmint some space.
  
We have a few foundation plants in this bed. This shaggy looking evergreen is a 'Densiformis' Yew (Taxus) and is one of five in our foundation planting.  A couple 'Emerald Gaiety' Euonymous plants help to add some variegated foliage to the garden.
  
How could I talk about the front garden without talking about the salvia? Salvia is by far one of the best plants you can have in your garden.  Along the sidewalk we have several 'Caradonna' Salvia nemorosas that I propagated last year. If you take basal stem cuttings in the spring you can get blooms the first year, at least you can if you have a long growing season.
I love things that spill out and blur the straight lines and edges of hardscaping. I planted this 'Silver Mound' Artemisia along our front sidewalk and it does a fantastic job of softening the edge. I hope to have 'Silver Mound' running all the way down the sidewalk by summer's end.
  
Here is a closeup of the catmint from earlier. This was the first one in our garden and after one season it is a giant! It's about 3 feet all the way around and loves the location.
  
Blooms like this are all over the catmint. If you don't have one you need to get one and if you have one you need more! It's not the same thing as catnip and doesn't have the magnetic effect on the feline population. I can't help walking by and picking a leaf to smell every time I pass.
  
Here's a new addition, lantana. I'm not sure of the variety but it has a nice yellow color that will add some brightness to our ever present purples flowers.
  
May brings a lot of blooms and at least this year a lot of rain. It's been difficult getting outside to get anything done or even get great pictures for display. Hopefully soon our weather will even out and give us some much needed sunshine! My tomatoes can't survive on a liquid diet alone.

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