Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Our gardens after we're gone - my front yard

So James at Lost in the Landscape followed by Town Mouse, and perhaps more I'm not aware of, posted about what their gardens would like after they were gone.  And I've been waiting to post my own because I will be moving at the end of the month.  I guess I'll see what happens at least to the front since I'm not moving that far away.  But I wanted to let my landlord know and find a place before this post.  And I did.  My own apartment with a big ledge for some potted plants and a communal gardening space in back.  So my garden will continue just in an altered form.

As for my garden without me...

In front, the lawn has shown no sign of returning after a few blades of grass easily pulled out right after we got rid of it.  And with all our rains, very few weeds and no grass.  So anything like that that comes up will be seeded from the neighbors'.

The manzanita are all doing fine and will be fine I think with no water this summer.  As will the ceanothus, yarrow, white sage, salvia buchanii, and California fuchsia.  (Manzanita and ceanothus in back of first pic, white sage in second.)
 The fuchsia might become a little aggressive though.
Some plants may go dormant or deciduous with no supplemental water, like the ribes malvaceum, western redbud, blue-eyed grass and the columbine under the camelia, which are blooming and established.  But all should be fine.  That's just what California natives are supposed to do.  (Very happy blue-eyed grass)
I'm afraid this path will look a little sad and dry with no summer water, but the iris and snow-in-summer will perk up with the rains.
I'm more worried about 2 other sages, one of which is already not looking so hot.

I'm also worried about this licorice plant (right).  It's invasive, which I didn't know when we planted it. I kinda want to pull it, but it would leave a big empty scar.  Maybe not so great for my landlord trying to re-rent the place, or for encouraging people to let their renters experiment with the yard.  It will stay and spread.  Luckily this Galvezia speciosa (left) is ok with growing over, through and around it.
The hell strip, once a massive lump of weeds, still has some weeds popping through from time to time, but mostly has CA fuchsia, yarrow, native strawberry and festuca californica established.
And the craziest native honeysuckle I've ever seen.  I've trained it up our street sweeping sign post.
We knew this day would come sooner or later, so we chose low-maintenance, drought-tolerant species for the most part.
All in all I'm really going to miss the front garden.  But it was a great learning experience and as long as nobody takes loppers and hedgers to it, I think it will become even more beautiful with time.


  1. It must be so difficult to leave. This is our third house, and each has had its own garden, all different, but I feel like I've left a little piece of me in each one. Unfortunately, I made the mistake of going back to visit an old neighbor next to our first house, and peeked over the fence at our old garden. Everything was ripped out, torn up, or dead. I used to get so many compliments on the garden, and the realtor said the gardens really cemented the sale on the house. I admit to being very dismayed that the subsequent residents had so little regard for any of the life in the garden. Seven years of my life was wrapped up in the camellias, ferns, and Japanese maples at that house. Almost all the plants were perennials, and none particularly fussy. It almost looked as if it had been vandalized...but I suppose it was their garden to do with as they chose. I suppose not all are destined to garden. I truly hope your efforts are better appreciated by those that succeed you. Now I only look forward. A new garden, a new beginning.

  2. Wow, this landlord seriously scored! It's a great garden and you can leave feeling proud of what you've accomplished. It's sad, though that you're leaving right before everything pops open for Spring!

  3. With your new place so close you can keep a good eye on the garden - at least the front. Your new place will be different, but good. The ledge will be your new garden and you will be able to look at it all the time rather than when entering or exiting the house. The place has come a long way over the past couple of years.

  4. Yes, it's tricky when someone else takes over the garden. Who knows what they prefer... Regardless, it was great while it lasted. Hope your new place has room for some plants as well!

  5. Enjoyed seeing and hearing about your native garden legacy, love's labor lives on. Sweet!

  6. It must be so hard to leave it but lucky for the new tenants! I do hope that you have bigger and better gardens in your future.

  7. I'll confess... Whenever I visit Minneapolis, I drive by my old house, just to make sure the Flowering Almonds are still flowering (sold it 10 years ago, prior to moving to Utah.) Your landlord was very lucky to have you. :)

  8. The good thing about moving is that we get to try something different. I enjoyed a lovely garden someone else put in at my apartment for a number of years before having my own garden. When we left the first garden we ever made, we never saw the garden again though we've driven by the house. But after three more owners, dogs, kids and a hot tub, I definitely don't want to see my poor garden!

  9. Sorry you're moving on from the house, but maybe you'll raise the standards of where you're headed. I had a hard time gardening in containers, but your communal garden space sounds like a good way to keep your hands dirty.

    You've made some great choices for plants and I can see your garden doing well without you. The trick will be for the next resident to realize that when plants die back for the summer they're not disappearing for good. I'm not a total control freak, but I'd probably have to write a manual for caring for my garden if I ever had to leave.