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The closeup view looking up at the house focuses on this charming Moroccan Poppy (Papaver atlanticum 'Flore Pleno') in front of my scented pelargonium 'Fragrant Frosty.'
Pulling back you can see more of my salvage hardscape. Believe me, I would love a nice brick path and steps here. But for now I am pleased that, apart from the crushed rock filler, my walls, steps and paths are all made of materials I had on hand (or scrounged from family and friends!)
My old front walkway was jack-hammered out and used to build the retaining wall that levels the inner courtyard garden. More cobble from under my street trees is used as edging. My crooked sidewalk is unfortunate, but everything else works well together. The shrubs are Manzanita (Arctostaphylos bakeri 'Louis Edmunds') and Coast Rosemary (Westringia fruticosa 'Morning Light'). The grasses are Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca 'Elijah Blue') and Slender Veldt Grass (Pennisetum spathiolatum).
From this angle you can see how the wall follows the curve of the fence and divides the broad bed into two levels; this is a great way to add interest to an area that was formerly lawn, rather than maintaining the existing lawn grade. Here you can see one of the "mother plants" of my Mexican Feather Grass (Nassella tenuissima) and how the cobble adds a little finish to the sidewalk edge.
A young Fuyu persimmon and Green Globe artichokes are two of the edible plants found in the front garden. Purple Sea Lavender (Limonium perezii) self-sown California Poppies (Escholtzia californica) and Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas) provide the main flower color in the outer garden. A wide swath of prostrate blue juniper (Juniperus horizontalis 'Icee Blue') at the sidewalk will keep the view around the corner clear.
A nice vignette of (from front) Yucca variegata, Lemon thyme, Aeonium, Limonium, Green Senecio and California Poppies; can you say water-wise AND pretty?
Pulling back you can see that we've come nearly full circle. A gentle berm along the driveway path adds dimension and a bit of enclosure. The tiny tree is a Dancy tangerine.
Let's pause in remembrance of my former lawn (which I kind of liked when it was gold) and my old front walk, which became the wall. Here's what it looked like two years ago.
One year after installation. The circular fence and the fountain anchor a really nice space. The semi-circular thyme path is just coming into bloom and may just continue right across the front walk, which still needs a final top-dressing of brown gravel. Someday it will be brick...
And you'll notice those same orange poppies in front of the lemon tree; the circle is complete. Some have compared my garden layout to a Mandala. Exactly.
As we approach the porch, don't trip over the official 'greeter.'
And here's the spot from which much of this garden was conceived, and that I can now enjoy with some privacy!
Views from the porch: I'm in love with this combination of poppies and feather grass under the tangerine tree.
Pulling back, the poppies are now framed by the robust red branches of my young Arbutus 'Marina.'
Back further, and here is the view from my chair. No longer a fishbowl at a suburban intersection, but a real place of refuge. Thanks for joining me on this journey around my garden, I hope you'll come back as it grows!