Creating, designing, and planting a perennial garden in the front of the house has taken at least sixteen years, and we are still not done. As plants are introduced, they fill in the space, and they either survive, take over, or die from the winter frost. When a large fir was cut down in the front yard, a menagerie of flowers, weeds, and trees introduced themselves, including a walnut, redwood, and maple tree.
When we moved in to the house in 2004, the front was a bramble of periwinkle. After we removed that invasive ground cover, we planted grass seeds for a lawn with sprinklers. Native grasses and weeds took over, so we decided to plant natives and conserve water, introducing a wide variety of perennials from a local community college horticulture department year by year as well as from local nurseries.
On a special occasion, we will buy a plant or tree. For a birthday visit to Filoli Gardens, I bought a weeping cherry and pearl bush (probably in 2007). My mom said that I had to plant it in view of our windows. Every year when it blooms in early spring, we take photos and admire it’s growth.
This special tree with beautiful blush, spring blossoms became the focal point of a river rock spiral.
Over time, the area was designed with walkways, planter beds, and even a drainage ditch that cut through the area. So many changes, but this weeping cherry tree was the keystone of the area. About four years ago, I brought home Helibores from the college, with their impressive winter-blooming flowers. In 2018, we planted a variety of bulbs, like daffodils and crocus for even more winter color.
We thought it would a neat goal to try to get one of every shape/kind of hydrangea. We have many colors planted along the entrance to the house, under the redwood trees.
We also introduced them in spaces for a pop of color and a companion plant to ferns and other perennials.
We have a sweet smelling and gorgeous French lilac. The previous owners planted it in a space, but we transplanted it into a river rock planter bed. We love the fragrance and color with the intention to get more.
I always wanted a yellow magnolia, and we were able to get one from Mtn. Feed and Farm. We planted it near the garden, and then added peonies underneath. The tree is still maturing, and I can imagine it big and beautiful in a few more years.
The front yard is a variety of woodland ferns, variegated, orange flowering maple, and a regular yellow flowering maple, red heuchera, columbine, arbutus strawberry tree, twin berry, climbing jasmine, Chinese honeysuckle, hydrangea varieties, butterfly bush, and holly. This is a much different landscape than grass and foxgloves.
Front Yard (Before)
A border of large river rocks separated the space from a lower front yard and then a back area. These rocks were moved elsewhere after the fir was cut down to create one space.
Dawn Redwood (planted 2018)
A bed of fleabane, apple mint, pineapple sage, and curry. Out of view is a Chinese lantern plant.
Weeping Mulberry (planted 2018)
Redwood behind a Walnut
Back Zone Before
Back Zone After
Correa, Quince, currents, honey bush, roses, elderberry, etc.
We bought two rhodies (lavender and red) at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens in 2018, another special occasion remembered by beautiful plants.
We love the perennial garden that surrounds the house. We used river rocks for borders on the inside, and larger locust logs as borders on the outside near the horse corral. We continually fill in the planter beds with gorilla bark and the pathways with wood chips.