I love winter. I really do. But around the second week of January, I’ve had enough. The snow is great, when we have it. Most of the time it’s just grey skies and frozen brown earth. This is usually when the gardening catalogs begin to arrive.
They are bright and colorful and hold the promise of spring and warmer weather. Of course armchair gardening is much easier than actual gardening. The flowers and vegetables are always lush and there are never any weeds.
I love the landscape catalogs the best. The flowers and shrubs are always perfect and look amazing. Some even have diagrams of how and where to plant specific flowers for the look shown in the catalog.
It’s always best to live in a new home for a year before doing any major landscaping. That way you know where the sun falls, and how the soil reacts in certain areas of the yard.
As much as I love to garden, I have to keep it as simple as possible. I have allergies and a low tolerance to the heat and humidity we get in Southern Illinois.
In my new home, I have a beautiful front porch and a small front yard that is essentially a blank canvas of grass. Over the past year I have determined the play of light in the yard and my plan is pretty well set.
I’m partial to burning bushes. These are great care-free shrubs that are a bright green in spring, deep green in summer and violent red in autumn. They have a wonderful rounded shape that requires no trimming. I plan to plant one on each side of the steps in the front of the house. They can grow tall if you don’t get a dwarf variety. I’m going for those that will be no higher than 6 feet at maturity.
I’m also a fan of Hosta as a foundation plant. They absorb a great deal of water, thrive in shade and don’t send invasive roots into the foundation. I plan to plant them all around the house, close to the foundation. Their colors are all varying shades of green, some with a bit of white in them. They make a wonderful backdrop for other flowers. After the first freeze they die back to the ground making autumn cleanup quick and easy.
I love color but due to the number of trees and the amount of shade, I’m somewhat limited to shad loving begonias, coleus and caladium. I plant two urn containers with those and place them on the porch on either side of the front door.
To really increase the appearance of your front yard, try these tips:
1-Use containers to showcase colorful foliage plants near your front door. It looks beautiful and is welcoming to your guests.
2-Keep the landscaping in the front yard simple. Very few people like busy. It’s much easier to keep the front yard looking great if the landscaping has been kept simple.
3-Use care-free plants when possible. Front yards are the first and possibly the only part of your yard that guests see. Use plants that are as maintenance free as possible.
4-Don’t fight nature. If you live in a wet climate, don’t plant desert plants. If you live in the desert, don’t load your yard with plants that require a lot of water.
5-Use annuals for color splashes. They are inexpensive, easy to plant and look great almost immediately.
One last tip, for great plants use worm poop fertilizer. It’s organic and even the packaging is recycled.