Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Back to the Front

Oh how I love a project! And now it's the front garden's turn to get the makeover. We've been here for four years now, and the front garden has just 'been there' really. It's the traditional lawn with shrubs around the edge. Two large forsythias, lovingly clipped into spheres by the previous owner, a couple of box, a couple of evergreen viburnums and an Olearia.

The viburnums on the right are an essential windbreak, so they will stay.
The front garden takes the full blast of south westerlies coming off the English Channel, which is about 700 metres away. While it's lovely to see the sea, the downside is a pretty much constant attack from the wind, together with the salt it brings with it. Only the toughest plants survive. In fact it would have been far more sensible to leave it as it is. But that would be too easy - I like a challenge. So step one was to kill the grass, which we did in the spring.

The Olearia to the right was getting too large - it's now gone!
 Some of the shrubs have been removed - two cistus plants that had got too leggy and were beyond pruning, plus the Olearia above. Then by July we were ready for the next step - weed suppressing sheets and gravel.

Here you can see the gap in the windbreak to the left of  the viburnums

My Fascicularia bicolor, tightly packed in a pot, will feature in the new front garden.

The idea is to plant several beds of plants into the gravel. Most of the planting will take place in the spring, but I have made a start with some autumn planting, to give some plants a chance to settle in and toughen up during the winter.

These plants don't look like much at the moment but they are part of the big plan!

Nepeta and Centaurea from my mum's garden.

Griselinia will form part of the new windbreak.

I took this photo to prove the sun made it through the mist today, at last!
The rest of the planting can wait until March or April. Hopefully it will look decent when I open my garden for the Coastal Garden Trail next August- see here for more information.

And finally, here's my plan for the planting!

It looks a mess, but at least I understand it!


  1. It's looking good already Martin, and I'm looking forward to seeing what other plants you will be putting in come spring :) Exciting times ahead!

    1. Very kind, but I know it's looking very bare! Rome wasn't built in a day though....

  2. It's great when a plan comes together and it looks as if yours is doing just that.

  3. Cheers L, fingers crossed it will look okay.

  4. I will be watching with enthusiasm!

  5. A new project and a new garden is always fun!