With the lawn all replaced, I set in some Iron Mountain flagstone leading from the awkward, City-mandated ending of the front walk to the driveway and down to the Frankenlawn. I topped the beds to the edge of the ‘grass’ and throughout the front yard with a dark brown, recycled finishing mulch.
Most of the planting I did in Autumn successfully treaded water through the long, wet winter, and as the Japanese Painted fern unfurls and Azalea ‘Hino crimson’ blooms begin to fade, the first narrow crowns of Hosta ‘White Christmas’ are poking through. A couple dwarf fothergilla suffered minor browsing from either deer or rabbits, but most of the front plant material has not proved to be popular foodstuffs, save for the worrisome exception of one Japanese maple, Fernleaf full moon–whose early racimes must have been tasty. I cross my fingers in the hope that there is enough top growth to sustain the beautiful little tree. Flowering cherry ‘Shirotae’ and the Shiro plum look tempting, and I remind myself to mix up some deer repellent spray so I can stink up the yard like fish death or liquid hatred or whatever is in there.
This is the ‘free and full use’ area, where I can plant what I want; I used some old favorites and tried some new ones, and I like what I see. It is a bit ‘Japanesque,’ and sympathetic both to the architecture of the home and the forest beyond the confinement fence. The area is small, close to the street, but useable: last night I laid on the grass and attempted to read while my daughter used me as a human jungle gym and played ‘statue’ for the passing traffic.* While the small trees in the front bed will eventually form a light screen , I think I will enjoy the small front yard, as it places me within conversational distance of passerby in a more neighborly way than is typical of the usual suburban home…and it takes only a few minutes to weed and no time whatsoever to mow.
*Confidential to the Domino’s man: the speed limit is 25 mph…and you, Police Car–I expect more from you. Slow down unless you are chasing the Domino’s man.