Saturday, 23 April 2011

Who puts broadbeans in the front yard!?


Okay, so we'd bought the house and moved in in July, mid winter 2010. The front of the house had a succulent garden on a bed of rocks, with a small patch of lawn on either side of a central path, about the size of a double bed. I mowed the lawn once and decided it was going to go! Over the next few weekends i borrowed a neighbour's wheelbarrow (i think they felt sorry for me) and we picked up about 10 wheelbarrows of rocks, lifted the black plastic and gave away all but one of the large succulents to neighbours and work colleagues. The only succulent I kept from the original garden was a medium sized fan aloe which is now in a pot on a pile of pebbles near the back door.

There were 4 big variegated yuccas in either corner which actually looked quite nice but they had to go, so they went to a good home with work colleagues, one of which had young boys who I was sure were going to lose an eye on the yucca.

The last of the original front garden plants

I was racing against time a little as we'd bought the house in July so we had limited time to get some standard roses in as bare rooted specimens before spring. The roses went in as we lifted out the succulents and yuccas. We settled on alternating white Iceberg and dark red Camp David 3 foot standards. The neighbourhood is full of white Iceberg roses and they look great in the cottage gardens and period homes, but we wanted to break it up a bit with some colour against our white house.

The last to be removed were two tall strappy purple yuccas which I cut off about half way up the stem and potted and they quickly resprouted.

A freind from work has horses so we took a couple of trips with the trailer and forked in about 4 loads of horse manure and then planted an array of herbs. The "microclimate" out the front faces west so even in winter it gets a heavy dose of sun so they quickly thrived. We planted a row of standard roses along the front, with lavender between them, and filled the beds with parsley, sage, about 6 types of thyme, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, chervil, coriander, chives, borage (which i still cant quite work out what its good for!), and tarragon.

The only original succulent we kept!

I also made quite a large error which came back to haunt us for the rest of the year....i bought a bag of Jerusalem Artichokes and pushed them randomly into the central bed amongst the broadbeans. Almost a year later, and they are 3 mtrs tall and i've just started pulling them out. My wife hasnt stopped threatening to pull them out all year. God bless her, she put up with it and now we are eating those things for breakfast lunch and tea, but thats another story.
My wife hated the broadbeans, but the neighbour's kids loved them

The last photo was taken in October, 4 mths after we moved in and shows one of the beds, full of broadbeans (which eventually grew 3ft tall), with the roses and lavender in, the parsely doing well, and the big yuccas still in place. I also naively planted some garlic in there somewhere but it died off when the broadbeans grew.

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