Aerial shot shows the new herb walkway in the front yard garden. (Click to enlarge)
It was the bush that ate Cincinnati.
It was beautiful for about two weeks every spring when it blossomed into a huge white puff, but the azalea bush had overtaken the front of the house. The 7-feet-tall, 7-feet-wide monster was blocking windows and denying sunlight into our lives. So it was time to take action.
BEFORE: This was the front yard at its best, when the azalea bush bloomed for about two weeks. (Click to enlarge)
I called Barrett Tree Service to cut back the bush. I didn’t want to kill it, just tame it. Trumbell Barrett, a certified arborist, said the best thing to do was to cut it back, drastically.
All of the wood inside the huge bush was dead so he cut it all back, leaving just the stems with green leaves that were hidden underneath. It should take a year or two to recover and this time I’ll have to be careful when trimming it, making sure sunlight can get inside the plant so that it grows properly and can be shaped and well groomed.
The little bit of grass that surrounded the bush was in pathetic shape, and hardly worth the effort of dragging out the lawnmower to the front of the house. So I decided to dig it up.
I had an ulterior motive: the front of the house is the only part of the yard that gets full sunlight. Now with the grass gone, I had room for a little garden: a little vegetable and herb garden disguised as an English garden. After all, this is the front of the house.
I planted six tomato plants, three basil plants, two mint plants, three oregano plants, a dill plant, a rosemary groundcover, a thyme groundcover, and a sage bush. Surrounding it all are hostas, daylilies, lavendar, and marigolds.
And to make the disguise complete it’s all fenced in with a short, fleur-de-lis, black wrought-iron-looking fence.
AFTER: The front yard seems much larger and even the house seems to breathe a little easier. (Click to enlarge)
I also planted blue morning glories and white moonflowers to climb up the railings on the front steps. The blue morning glories will start to bloom each morning and the white moon flowers will start to bloom each night. I’ve done this before to great effect. (Stay tuned for photos of this summer’s spectacular.)
Next year I may get more adventurous and plant more tomatoes and more vegetables, but this is a good start.