This past weekend the hubster and I got to work removing some really big, old and ugly hollies from the front of our house. When I say big, those suckers were at least 4-feet high and some were at least that deep. Our house is on a sloping lot and has a low-pitched roof. Having those bushes there made it look even lower, like a short woman wearing a wide belt. Not a good look. Besides, the brickwork goes to the ground, there’s no need for foundation plantings at all. Plus, someone paid brickmason to do those arches. Why cover them up? They’re one of the best features of the house.
We’re leaving the azaleas at the front of the house, but we won’t buy more. Azaleas love water too much, and we have to go with drought tolerant plants in this area. The arches give the house a vaguely Mediterranean look, so I think I’m going to run with that theme. Of course, azaleas aren’t Mediterranean, they’re from China, but hey, we’re not purists. On the right hand corner there’s a huge old hydrangea that’s at least 10-feet tall. I think we’ll stick with hydrangeas over there since it’s almost entirely shade. I’ll cut the old hydrangea back after it blooms and I can tell what’s dead. I’ll probably put in three oak leaf hydrangeas over there. Yes, I know hydrangeas aren’t Mediterranean, either.
I’m going full-scale Mediterranean in the back yard. I’ve always wanted an olive tree and a fig tree. The fig shouldn’t be any problem, though Whit doesn’t want any fruit bearing trees, but I (and the birds) love them. Olives are only hardy to Zone 8, but that line is just to the south of here. I’m thinking that with global warming I can probably swing it. Especially if I cover it up its first couple of winters with plastic and mulch. They’re not crazy expensive, so I’ll give it a shot. I’ll also plant rosemary, lavender and a bay laurel. (I love plants that are pretty and can also be used in cooking!) Any plants we put in the backyard have to be pretty sturdy, as that’s also Luke’s playground.
Our previous house had four gardens, this one will have a minimum of six. There’s an area to the left of our driveway where there’s a huge oak tree and two dogwoods. That’ll be my bulb garden, I’ll put tulips, daffodils and lilies there. It’ll take a lot I’m estimating 200 or more. We’ve got a crape myrtle near the mailbox. I’ll add a ton of day lilies there and call it a day. It’s really hot there near the street and nothing kills day lilies.
Near the house with the little half circle of shrubs I’ll do small garden. I’ll add a bench and that might be my bed of annuals, a cutting garden. Not sure yet. And I’m still not sure what I’ll plant near the house. All around the back porch I’m putting in my salad garden with tomatoes, some herbs, and a few marigolds to ward off mosquitoes.