My Front Porch Garden Design Project Part 1

One area that I'm extremely unhappy with in my yard is the front porch garden. To put it simply, it's a mess! It's not just the weeds that I haven't had time to pull it's the plantings and the way they are arranged. In the front of the beds I've planted severla things over the last three years that I'm happy with and intend to keep, at least for now, like the 'Powis Castle' artemesia, the salvias, and a few of the daylilies. I added the 'Sargent' crab apple thinking that it would provide some nice flowers in the spring but so far it hasn't amounted to much. To make it worse all the foliage is growing to the right of the plant which makes the whole plant rather unbalanced. The leaves are following the sunlight which is strongest in the late afternoon between 4-6 PM. The rest of the day it's almost but not quite shade. It was a free tree so removing it doesn't really bother me, it disappoints me that I have to consider it but doesn't really bother me, not much anyway. OK I hate taking out trees!

The other problem I have is with the hollies. I've never been a big fan of hollies - except for the deciduous types which have awesome berries in the wintertime. The hollies were part of the "builder's special" landscaping package that came with the house. You know, the same special that dictates two Bradford pear trees in every yard. I'd sure like to tell the guy who came up with that idea a thing or two!

When we bought the house all the hollies were in sad shape having just suffered through the freeze of 2007. If you lived here in TN at the time you probably remember it well. The weather warmed up unseasonably nice then dropped to freezing temperatures and damaged many trees like crape myrtles and Japanese maples. The sap flowed through the trees only to be frozen while inside cause the bark to tear open. The hollies here were close to gone after that freeze and I was tempted to remove all of them after we moved in but I thought "What am I going to replace them with? We can't afford to redo the garden yet, we have to make the house livable!" Our house was a foreclosure property and the previous owners allowed their dogs to trash the house so our primary concern was getting it cleaned up, painted and ready to move into as soon as possible. I'm getting sidetracked a little now - you really don't want me to describe the mess...back to the hollies. I removed one holly from the front that was D.O.A. and several Japanese hollies that were also not looking good along the front sidewalk. Which leads me to my current situation - how to make this front porch garden look fantastic.

So this post is really about step one in re-designing the garden: the decision to re-design/the evaluation! I know what I don't like: the hollies and the crab apple. I know what I like - the perennials I've added and the area near the arbor. The next step will most likely be the removal of the hollies. Then I'll figure out some ideas of what to replace them with and plant! This garden re-design isn't going to happen in a week, or even a month. There are so many things that need done, projects left unfinished - like the greenhouse garden shed, preparations for the new baby due in July (if I haven't already mentioned it: it's a boy!), the vegetable garden, and a myriad of other things to do that this process will be a very gradual one. Ideally I'll be able to plant the front porch garden this fall. Like always I'll show you the process as we go!

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