"Gardening is about enjoying the smell of things growing in the soil, getting dirty without feeling guilty, and generally taking the time to soak up a little peace and serenity. " ~Lindley Karstens

Monday, March 7, 2011

Garden Project: West Side Garden

I worked in the garden for most of the past weekend except the time for house cleaning, grocery shopping and sending kids to Sunday Chinese school.  In another word, I used every bit of the time I can find!  When I went to bed on Sunday night with sore muscles, I also felt a big sense of accomplishment :)

Since we moved into the current house almost two years ago (time really flies!), my majority work has been concentrating on the backyard, opening the flower beds from the scratch.  Since the land we own has very limited garden space, I know I need to utilize every bit of space, including the stripes at the both sides of the house. 

Since the side area is visible to the street, I want to give those future flower beds a more formal look than the backyard.  About one month ago, we finally hired somebody to come in and installed the concrete border in the front yard and both sides of the house.

The result is nice, and the border does give an instant face lift to the yard.  Now it is up to me to play with those bordered areas. 

As every new flower bed in my garden, before I can actually enjoy the planting fun, grass needs to be removed, big rocks need to be dug out, new soils need to be brought in.  Since I really have not got much time since the border was installed, the progress has been rather slow.  

The past weekend I finally "nearly finised" the west side garden.

Here is how it looked like in August last year. This area is at the low point of the land, even grass can not survive here.  We often have to walk in the water puddles during the raining season.  It really has become an eye sore for us. 

Here is how it looked like after I "finished" planting this past Sunday.

This is the view looking from the backyard side. 

The rain gutter downspout and the rain barrel we installed last year is cutting this flower bed into two sections. Right now we just paved the area where rain barrel is located with gravels, and put two stepping stones there. I also planted one Persian shield plant against the wall, and put an Aloe container in front of it. I need to think more about how to use this area, maybe for container plannting so it doesn't look too bared comparing other sections of this flower bed.

This flower bed is located the west side of the house, and the neighbor's house blocks some of afternoon sun, so I consider it is a partial sun area.

West side garden left section
In the left section of this bed, three Hawaii Ti plants and Plumeria pudica were planted there even before this area was bordered.  I added three ground orchids which were lifted from other part of the garden during the near freeze days in December. One of the new begonia is also planted here. I also squeezed in a dragon wing begonia at the back and a Brunfelsia latifolia (aka 'Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow').  I need to keep Brunfelsia latifolia prunned to keep it compact.
West side garden right section
In the right section, Plumeria rubra was planted last year, and now the leaves all fell off, left only the bare branches in the ground. I will see if it will do well this year, if not, then maybe it needs to be moved ino a more sunny area.

In front of Plumeria rubra are five Amaryllis bulbs.  I bought these five bulbs last December, and they finished blooming at the end of December. I hope by putting them into the ground can bring second round of flowers this year, or at least rebloom next season. At the back of this section, I moved two Cordyline fruticosa 'Kiwi' from other part of the garden. In addition, another dragon wing begonia, one very young Mussaenda luteola (Mussaenda White Wing) from cuttings, and a Cuphea ignea (Cigar plant) were also squeezed in.

Have you noticed that I used "squeeze" twice already? Yes, in my tiny garden, space is at premium, so I am used to squeezing plants into the flower bed when they are still young. Only if they grow out of the allocated space, I move them into another location. I am sure I will do quite some "moving around" for the next a couple of months depending on how the plants perform in their location.

As I said earlier, this flower bed is just nearly finished, still have some work to be done.

Meanwhile, I will give you an update to one of my existing flower beds, located at the right side of the drive way in the front.

A view from last year June....  Notice the border is still the old black rubber border.

West frontyard bed June 2010
Although this bed looked lush in the summer, Pentas and ground orchids don't have the best look over the winter. I moved them into other areas. Five Euphorbia splendens (Crown of Thorns) replaced them in this area to give this bed a tidier look and bring some consistent color through the year.

At the curve side of this bed, I planted two kinds of matchstick bromeliads around the oak tree base, and hoping some day they can grow up to hug the tree trunk.  Overall, I think the new plants in this flower bed will be low maitenence, easy controlled, and yet still have the tropical look.   When African iris comes to blooming, all those white flowers instant add more life and color into this bed.

Before I finish my garden update,  I want to also show you where I will work on for the future projects, the front yard and the east side.   
Front yard
There are one narrow stripe between the new border and the original rock garden edge.  The grass needs to be removed, and put more rocks on.  The border also contained more lawn area at the corner, so more plants are needed there.

At the east side, all the bushes against the wall will eventually be removed, so lots of planting opportunites in this bed.
East side
I am excited about all these projects, but don't know when I can get to them, so stay tuned :)


  1. Gosh Ami I love that concrete border you have - it ties everything together and seems to lead you on to discover more. All your plantings are looking great. No waonder you had aching muscles, I am sure you had pleasant dreams though :)

  2. Your gardens do have a more formal but natural look to them. Very nice. You chose some cool concrete edging too! Good work here.

  3. Oh Ami ~ What a wonderful job you have done with your limited space. It's all lovely, especially with that wonderful brick edging. I can hardly wait to see what you do next. You are doing a fantastic job and I know you must feel great every time you pull into your driveway.

    Happy gardening ~ FlowerLady

  4. Very nice work you have accomplished so far. I love, love that edging. Very smart of you to go ahead and install it where you want the new areas to be. Your plans will keep you motivated as time permits. Good job with the pretty color yet low maintenance plants in the bed with the crown of thorns, iris and broms. Everything compliments the style of your home nicely.

  5. Wow! That concrete edging does make quite a difference! Something for me to add to my "someday" wishlist.

  6. Oh Ami-your gardens look beautiful!!!!The edging really is the finishing touch.Well done!

  7. I love that new edging! it reminds me of the serpentine walls found in Chinese gardens. Your garden looks wonderful.

  8. Hi Ami...You have done so much work on your gardens and they look stunning. The edging gives a nice clean look and you've planted lots of pretty color. It's so much fun to have space to dream, plan and plant. Have fun making choices and creating a beautiful space in your front yard.

  9. Hi Ami! You've done a wonderful job on your beds. Love how you used the rain barrel to split up the sections on the side.

    I saw your post on Hoe & Shovel and wanted to let you know that I have plenty of gallardia seeds to share. Just email me and we'll arrange it! Happy gardening!

  10. Thanks all for your nice comments! Seems that edging really made the statement! Now it is up to me to play INSIDE those bordered areas. I shall update the new progress in the blog.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...