The Little Devil
Our “front yard” is a 15’x8′ pile of dirt that cascades away from our carport. It was held together by Ivy, Morning Glory and a retaining wall. There are two juniper bushes, 3 pods of ornamental grasses and a dozen steps that curve along the driveway. We want to make it more glorious.
Last year Brad hacked away the the vines and gave the little hill a buzz cut. Actually, it was more like he removed it’s toupe. Underneath the green of the Ivy and Morning Glory was a whole lotta dry, rocky browness. We planted a Jasmine vine, a Lemon tree and some Sunflowers, as well as Celosia at each step. The Jasmine and Lemon tree have held on, but we only got two wimpy sunflowers. Lesson – don’t buy Sunflower seeds from Home Depot. The Celosia became deer food. They were right at their chomping level, I don’t know how I thought they would survive. I also threw a bunch of wild flower seeds on the hill hoping for an array of color to bloom. Instead we had our mound of dirt with slightly less ivy on it for one year.
During this past year we have gone over again and again what to do with this little hill.
The soil is very dry and because of so much Ivy and Morning Glory running around, we knew it was nutrient poor. This became a big discussion, not only because we have fallen in love with gardening, but most of the houses on our street have pretty great plant life going on. Their yards can be described as elegantly wild. Natural, but not a totally native kind of look. It kind of reminds me of the brand Anthropolgie; Oh, I casually picked up this Japanese fern and thew it together with Spanish Lavender and set them within field stone steps creeping with flowering ground cover -or- I’m so down to Earth in my $400 skirt and $300 cardigan adding these vintage knobs to my 3 year olds’ dresser drawers. Everything looks like it belongs, but if you take a minute….everything is planned out.
While most of the time I don’t really care about fitting in, we had created a bit of an eye sore on our street! Our next door neighbor, George, has said we are doing great job…but we feel like it screams, “that’s where the renters live!”
2010 – First thing is first…Brad had another dance with the weed whacker. Some of the vines had grown back, but not as much as we thought. We spent hours a few weeks ago digging up as many of the runners as we could and I think I found the brain! It was a knob of roots that had grown together and was a big as my two hands holding each other. It was like surgery getting it out of the ground and I think if it had a face it would have cursed me. Instead it’s at Marin Sanitary…the best dump in the world! Peace be with you.
The 2010 Front Yard Plan –
Add another Jasmine vine
Plant Marigolds between the Jasmine Vines
Plant Yarrow at the retaining wall – this will be part of our ground cover
Plant Monkey Brush mid-hill – also more ground cover
Plant Gladiolas along the fence line outside of the Jasmine
Find something lovely to grow along the steps that won’t be deer food
While our backyard is a study in growing food, medicine and flowers on top of rock….the front yard is our lesson in creating something beautiful and learning how to create a symbiotic environment where the plants and the little hill can work together to hold each other together. If the backyard was a metaphor for Life, the front yard is a metaphor for Marriage. And if those metaphors stick, I don’t really care what the neighbors think, I just want Brad and I to come home and be proud of what we are working on.