Friday, January 1, 2010

2009: Watching a Garden Grow

Regular readers of Interleafings are quite familiar with the sexy details of my front garden, but might NOT know that a year ago, it didn't exist. I had killed my large, multi-species lawn the previous spring, and lived for months with an ever-shifting array of stakes and string that marked the bones of my design. Last January, work began in earnest. Here is the story, as seen from the front porch.

In January we started with the porch, facing it with used brick and building new posts. In the garden, the future water feature, urbanite wall (made from the old front walkway) paths and fence were roughed in and ENDLESSLY messed with.

In February the paths took shape. Except for some base rock, all of the materials were things my dad, boyfriend and I found around our houses. Yes, I would prefer a lovely brick path to match the porch, and will have one someday, but my slim budget called for a little creativity.

In March the urbanite wall was built, my dad finished the circular fence, and I made the focal point water feature. The bones of the garden are in place; the plantings? Well, yes, they look like confetti on a plate. But not for long! Starting small means more variety for less money.

In April the fence got stained and more plants went in. Yeah, more confetti (although you can kind of actually SEE them now.) Just wait! All the succulents, by the way, were given to me after the San Francisco Flower & Garden Show, as a thank-you for my help with the APLD booth. Sweet!

By June things are filling in; those 'Golfball' Pittosporum were swag from a Monrovia event (later lost the far left one for some reason, dang!)

By August the Bronze Fennel, Rudbeckia and ornamental grasses are taller than the fence, and the garden is starting to feel like a garden.

In September things are settling in nicely together; the tiny Coral Bark Maple behind the fountain has survived the summer, and my choice of fence stain is turning out to be a good one.

We had a gorgeous fall in Northern California. This is the view out my front door in November.

We've come a long way in a year! The garden is looking a little scruffy in the cold light of January, but the bones are strong. I'm looking forward to a little spring rearranging and refining, and as I do so will remember the efforts of all the people who helped bring it to life. Thank you!


  1. As someone who joined the party pretty recently, this is the first I've seen of the story - and what a great one! Your garden is so lovely and it's clear how much thought went into it. Can I borrow your brain and your patience?? Haha! Happy New Year!

  2. It's beautiful, Laura! I love seeing the transformation from "confetti" to garden. And I also love it when bloggers show how to create a garden on a shoestring budget.

    How about a few pics from the street and entry as well? I'd love to see your garden from other angles.

  3. Very nice - inspiring as well, since my husband and I are planning a backyard re-do in 2010 (followed hopefully by our tiny front yard) and will definitely need to plan something on a tight budget.

  4. Your photos tell the story beautifully. The fence really makes it, doesn't it? Creates a sense of enclosure and separateness from the street. More people should do this in their front yards. Amazing how much real estate goes to waste!

  5. What a great photo story. That is exactly how we have done every one of our gardens...with a village. It makes them that much more special & your visitors really love seeing the growth.

  6. That's really amazing, and must be great advertising for you. I hope all your neighbors want a garden just like yours!

  7. Nice transformation and assemblage of materials, textures and colors.
    I especially like the color, height and feel of the inviting openness of your corner fence.
    There is an evident boundary of privacy but at the same time an open feeling that one is invited to sneak a peek into the garden.
    That's a treat !

  8. What a wonderful post. So great to see your gorgeous garden grow. I hope you'll document it like this every year so we can see its evolution. Happy 2010.

  9. Laura,
    Lovely garden and so much potential with further growth! My big question is are the butterflies happy? You do know bronze fennel is the host for the Black Swallowtail caterpillar.

  10. What a nice journaling of your garden design and progress! I really like the pot as the focal point, as well as the curved flagstone pathway for definition. I am glad to have found your blog! Kathy