(Politically correct police, simmer down. I can use that term because they are my people.)
Maybe it's even worse than that. 'Cause a plastic goose and a tractor tire annual bed might be an improvement. Last summer my sister Dyan and I took out yard waste bag after yard waste bag of weeds, stuff that the previous owners cultivated like plants that were actually weeds, and a buggy, diseased flowering plum that was slowly dying where it was. There remains to tackle a giant clump of pampas grass that appears to be devouring the northeast corner of the house, and another couple of weekends bushwacking out the front border. All that's left is refuse and some yardage of sump hose. This is what was left after Sherman marched to the sea, after the potato famine, after Agent Orange. It's that bad. I need help.
Here's my before:
|Yessiree, we had a bumper crop of rocks and crabgrass last year.|
Here's another before, a slightly different view of the front border near the driveway:
|This is where the lines of little rocks segue into broken chunks of concrete. Sigh.|
Here's another view, of the front of the house proper:
|I got nothin'|
Browsing the internet I found this cute as a button Cape Cod and garden. This is the look I'm striving for:
What are the positives?
1. A few good pieces of plant material: the hydrangea, lily of the valley, monarda, coreopsis, some salvia and some creeping sedums. Also some bulbs, but I'm still waiting to see what I've got: daffodils, crocus, and alliums, I think.
2. Good, black Midwestern topsoil.
3. Well, dangit, I don't have a three. I'm just trying to be, well, positive.
Where to start? Well, I do know a few things I'm going to do:
1. I'm going to eliminate all the rinky-dink little pieces of grass caused by the random edges of the driveway bed, and make it a straight rectangular bed all the way to the sidewalk.
2. I'm going to get more "structure" into the garden from shrubs, probably a small ornamental tree at the northeast corner instead of the menacing pampas, and containers and stone (not chunks o' concrete).
3. I would like a perennial border full of "classics" that would fit with the 1930s-1940s era of my house: lilies, roses, asters, iris and peonies.
And I have some visuals I've collected which have inspired my garden daydreaming through the winter, like birdhouses:
and garden sculpture:
And container plantings:
Beyond that, I'm looking for suggestions, any and all. I live in the wintery Midwest, so any plant suggestions need to be hardy to Zone 4. Winter may be already over here, so I'll start digging soon. In desperation. It's gotta get better from here on out.