I finally started to deal with the crazy front garden. It was once as well cared for as the back garden, also planted by Wayne (who happened to stop by while I was working, and was impressed with the progress ~ it's always nice to keep in touch with a garden you once knew), with a wealth of hostas and cinnamon ferns. I found twelve hostas in total, all saved; some transplanted and others remained in their spot with some extra attention to weeding and rejuvenating the soil surrounding them. There were some other perennials in there (I could tell by some root balls I dug up) but they weren't able to be saved. The Bergenia, which has been blooming for a few weeks through the grass can finally breath (but will be divided come fall).
The shrub is a Catoneaster. Really? Again, it's good to have original gardener of the garden stop by when trying to identify who's who; but it's true, it's a Catoneaster. I'm so used to seeing them as horribly shaved hedges - it's nice to see one be itself. I like the deep blue green foliage, and the berries in fall. I'd like to keep it pruned, but not harshly - it looks good the way it is now.
Deep in the cinnamon ferns were a few hostas, but mostly the fallen fronds have kept any weeds at bay so there are clear paths down under there between the stems. A group of irises are struggling to bloom in front of the Catoneaster. They'll need to be divided to give them some breathing space, but other than that I'll keep them where they are. Beside them, I think, is a Ligularia trying to peek out from the ferns. We'll have to wait until later on in the season to know for sure, and identify the variety (unless Wayne stops by again(: ).
After removing the grass and weeds from the bed I was left with some stray ferns, and hostas in all kinds of strange places. The hostas, well some of them, were dug out and grouped together - one group near the steps and the other near the retaining wall at the edge of the garden. Most of the stray ferns were moved back with the rest of them, and planted a little more tightly under the window. I left a few ferns out front because a) I like them, and b)it is a rather large space and I didn't want to empty it all right away. I'm glad I left them now - they will stay.
The soil nearest the sidewalk is in terrible shape. I will try to lay down some manure before laying the sod (which I will get and do this weekend), but it is a somewhat high traffic area, so I don't expect it to be perfect.
I couldn't help myself and did a quick run out to a nursery nearby to grab an Annabelle Hydrangea, Astilbe (white)(can't remember the name right now), and a small blue Columbine (again, can't remember which one off hand). I had to get that Annabelle in the garden, it was a must, and I want it to establish enough to bloom this year.
From my own garden I added the little Blue Spruce globe that's been surviving in a pot for two years. It's right next to the steps, and should fill in nicely now that it has some room to breath. Behind it I left some goutweed which will do what goutweed does, spread, but that's okay. I want it to fill in behind there just enough (and when I've had enough I'll tear some out). Surrounding the globe spruce are three of the hostas found in the garden. They two in front are the smaller ones, with a more lime-green leaf, but still different, and the one tucked in the corner is taller, with a thinner white edged leaf. Hopefully that one won't get too big for that space.
Over in front of the Catoneaster I'm going to plant the remains of my poor Sutherland's Gold Elderberry, which too has been surviving in a pot for two years. I have faith that it will bounce back in good form...in time. In front of that is now the white Astilbe surrounded in another trio+1 of hostas saved from the weeds.
I've made a list of plants to add, such as Echinacea, Pulmonaria 'Raspberry Splash', heuchera (a red one, 'Midnight Rose', 'Plum Royale'), Carpathian Bellflower Campanula carpatica 'Bavaria Blue', another Lady's Mantle, a Hardy Geranium 'Johnson's Blue', and another Astilbe, a lavender one I hope. Some alliums would be nice, maybe a mixture of both small drumstick ones plus some Gladiators for fun. Tucked in and around of course will be some Myosotis (forget-me-not).
For spring I want to fill the garden with daffodils and paperwhites. As much as I love tulips, for now all I want to concentrate on are the daffys.
I'm sure there will be more added as our front garden evolves. It's so nice to throw some extra curb appeal to this beautiful old home. It's been neglected for far too long.