What Would You Do With This Garden Space?

The benefit of having a gardening blog is soon you have a virtual world of like-minded, garden-minded generous souls who freely offer their opinions when you ask for them. Okay, I asked! My previous post about the shrubs I cut back has been out there for just a few hours and already the vote is 6 - 0, remove the shrubs or transplant them elsewhere, with one person abstaining.

I knew after I cut back the spiraea that I had opened up an area that has a lot of possibilities. I knew that I should just finish those shrubs off, and everyone, so far, has confirmed that.

Since several gardeners have also offered some ideas on what to do with this space, I thought I would post two more pictures to show the space from different angles to get some more ideas.

This is the view from the street. (See how tall the grass is? Don't talk about it! My mower is still at the shop, though when I called late this afternoon they gave me a glimmer of hope by telling me that mine is in the group they are working on now. Oh, please, lawn mower tuner uppers, please have mine done tomorrow. I'll pay double! Regardless of whether or not I get my mower tomorrow, I am going to trim everything and ACT like I'm getting ready to mow.)

Anyway, back to the view from the street. This area is open to the west and south. The garage wall faces west, the porch faces south, but the crabapple shades it some. Along the wall, there are several Fothergilla gardenii. You can't really see them in the picture, because they are just bare branches right now, but they are keepers. White "bottle brush" blooms in the spring, great fall color, dwarf, NEVER need trimming.

Also on that wall are two of three trellises that I tried to grow clematis on. One of the trellises fell down and is in the garage. I am ready to replace them and put something up there that is a little showier, a lot nicer. And the clematis never did that well. They tried to grow away from the wall probably due to the heat radiating off the brick and always got tangled up in the Fothergilla.

This is the view from the front step. In the center is a crabapple, Malus 'Guinzam', Guinevere Crab. Another keeper. Excellent spring bloom in late April. And then up by the porch are three Bird's Nest Spruce, Picea abies 'Pumila'. I think they should stay, too.

The rest of the plants... daffodils, a few tulips, some lily turf along the side walk, along with some sedum, and some daylilies by the Fothergilla are quite moveable.

So, there you have it. What would you do with this garden space?

(The picture of the pansies and violas doesn't really relate to the topic of this post, I just thought they were pretty, and a garden blog should have pretty pictures, especially when one is showing a garden space in need of renovation!)


  1. I read this post before the one below it, and as soon as I saw "open to the west and south" I thought it would be a great place to practice zone denial. That is probably a microclimate at least one zone warmer than the rest of your property. I would plant one or more things that you consider only marginally hardy or maybe not quite hardy for your area. Give yourself permission to be brave.

  2. I love a brick wall...must be a Secret Garden thing...but I can just envision a nice green backdrop to your area. Maybe a Banksia rose? I know they can take the heat...would it like your winter? It would cover your trellis so you wouldn't need to get anything too fancy/expensive (I guess you could budget it under home repair though) and the spring bloom is so nice. I also vote to remove at least some if not most of the spiraea...moving some further back into the bed might be good.

  3. I would put a row of boxwood along the sidewalk, hedge them at 18 inches high, and plant seasonal annual flowers inside the boxwood.

  4. I agree - I would love to see that wall covered with something like a climbing rose, and some zone denial plants in the beds. Or maybe a theme like a cutting garden?

  5. I vote for a climbing hydrangea on the wall, and get rid of the spirea or move them.

  6. Hi Carol, The area looks alot better without the spirea - just harden your heart and dig them out. We have a lannon stone house and there is Virginia Creeper growing up a north and a south wall and looks very pretty - huge leaves that turn crimson in the fall and the bare vine looks like a sculpture in winter. It behaves itself and only needs a quick pruning now and then - we get lots of compliments on it. Just a thought. The ideas of zone tender plants is a good one - it must be quite warm there. And something fragrant is nice too. You could always put in some tropicals or summer annuals as well as your favorite perennials. P.S. I received my stirrup hoe from Tierra Garden today - excellent. Thanks again.

  7. Hi Carol,

    My first thought was a brick wall is in need of some vines ... an ivy perhaps or as someone above noted, a climbing rose? I was thinking that you could also plant some sturdy mid-sized perennials like my beloved gas plant (Dictamnus albus) ... the foliage looks great all summer long and the flowers are spectacular and long lasting in June. Of course, I would add a meadowrue (Thalictrum) simply because meadowrues create a lovely atmosphere. And because it is a warm corner, several fragrant rock garden pinks (Dianthus) would give some colour (also looking quite beautiful with the gas plant and meadowrues. They also spread and create lovely patches of evergreen foliage ...

  8. I am still learning about zones so I am not sure this would work for you, but as sit here with a cutting from my daphne odora (it's been blooming for a while now by my front door), I think I have to spread the word. Beautiful dark green leaves with yellow edges, small but superfragrant flowers. Perfect along a walkway, by a window, or door where you can enjoy the scent. My favorite bush!

  9. I am with Gary. Some boxwood 12" from the walk with groundcover in front and some azealas (and maybe iris?) under the crab to the porch!

  10. I just went to the gardens at the Indy zoo and there was an area right as you enter the garden completely filled with hyacinths in bloom. It smelled like heaven. I'd suggest a nice heavy hyacinth planting for spring and I also like the idea of climbing roses and zone experimenting.

  11. Hi, Carol...still open for ideas? I'm with those who think you should move the spireas- all of them, and the idea of a rose on the wall seems good.

    My garden has similar climate to yours- two climbers I really like are the "America" rose and "The Alchemist". First is a coral and the second is an apricot- but I think it only has early summer bloom, while the America blooms through the rose season. I wouldn't do a cutting garden or anything too informal since it is a front dooryard.

    Since your fothergillas have good fall color, underplant with leadwort (plumbago)? It is a groundcover type plant with bright blue flowers.

    Plant choices would depend on what colors you were partial to.


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