Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Front, Stage 1, aka, "The North 40"

Alright.  Here it is.  The first part of the yard shown that does not consist of a single plant.  This is the first section of yard that we are tackling.  Now, as I have stated previously, our yard is not large by the standards of someone who lives in say Alaska.  Or Montana.  Or Siberia.  However, by the standards of the state of California, the yard is pretty decently sized.  Now, I haven't been able to muster the courage to show the entire yard.  I'm still compiling my list of caveats related to each possible picture I could show.  It's quite an ugly site.  In my defense, though, I did not have much to start with.  I believe that would be caveat one.  As a breach to that defense, and as my wife would quickly point out, I am the king of demolition.  I remove everything that could ever want to be removed.  However, I'm not nearly as diligent in the reconstruction process.  The yard, unfortunately, has suffered the brunt of this problem.

So, what we have decided is to tackle the yard in pieces.  That will limit the area we need to concentrate on.  Our plan is actually to create a series of rooms within the property, so dissecting the yard actually fits quite nicely into that plan.  This is what we decided to tackle first.  The front yard off the driveway.  On the sprinkler system we inherited this was labeled the "North 40".  I've decided to stick with that.

Prior to this, the area consisted of lawn.  Next to gophers, lawn is the one thing in this world I despise the most.  Dictators of third world nations who rule with an iron fist are a distant third to these two items.  Within the lawn, there was an ornamental plum tree and a Magnolia.  Now, I have nothing against either of those trees, there were two issues (one with each).  The plum was planted too close to the knee wall.  The magnolia tree was the free city tree that came with the newly constructed houses.  Meaning, every house all the way down the block has the same tree, in the same spot of the yard.  They're Stepford trees.  That wouldn't do.  So, they were the first two trees to come down.  The battle with those stumps is a story for a different occasion, while drinking a different cocktail then I am currently drinking.  And, yes, all bloggers drink when they blog.  Or, at least they should.

The new area consists of the Pigmy Date Palm to the left of the second picture, which is the only surviving item from the previous regime.  It's named Bob.  Different story.  We then have the olive, which is in previous posts.  The small slope is covered with lavender, fourteen in total along with three Italian Cypress.

Two types of Agapanthus are up against the neighbor, the Sprinkler Maven.  The two largest are Agapanthus 'Lily of the Nile' and the three smaller are Agapanthus 'Stormcloud', which are supposedly cobalt in bloom.  Looking at the picture, I'm not sure how that will look against the lavender.  I'm not fond of my blue suit with lavender pocket square nor lavender socks, but I digress.

The front of the yard is rimmed with Boxwood Green Beauty (buxus microphylla japonica).  Capped on two ends with Golf Ball Kohuhu's (pittosporum tenuifolium), which is better seen in the first picture scarred by the leg lifting neighborhood dog.  If anyone knows of a way of electrifying foliage, I would be willing to pay for the information.  We had a third Kohuhu; however, the Sprinkler Maven made sure one didn't survive the liquid onslaught.  Once they grow into a solid wall, I'm hoping it will look quite spectacular.  Sweet Jesus, I left the weeder in the picture.

Here is the line up of boxwoods, along with our drip system.  Yes, I understand that is should be buried, but do keep in mind, I have the memory of a gnat.  Ask my wife.  If I bury it now, it is guaranteed that I will slice through it each and every time I dig a hole for a new plant.  And, in this space, we imagine there will be at least another twenty plants.  That's twenty repair jobs.

Also, note the boxwoods are set back away from the sidewalk.  We're going to put a ground cover between it and the sidewalk.  We have decided the mulch is ugly.

Lastly, we have three mirror bushes, two Coprosma Repens Marble Queens:

And, one Coprosma Rainbow Surprise:

Lastly, my God this is long, I need to go get another drink.................lastly, you will notice all these plants are small.  This is a very, very, very, very young garden.  The lavender and cypress are a year old and everything else (olive in June of '09) has been put in during the last couple of months.  We have a lot of plants that need to be acquired and a surprising amount of patience to wait for them to grow.  I'm actually going to attempt plants from seed soon as a way to fill the space while still being able to afford food.


  1. I don't know what your problem is. That looks good to me. I'd call it done if I was you, and relish the fact that your frontage is low maintenance!

  2. Well, IG, I must answer to a higher calling. Just when I think I'm at the stopping point I ask myself, "What would Alan Titchmarsh say?" And, then, it's off to the nursery, again.

  3. I enjoyed this post so much. Kudos to you to break out of the mold from the rest of the neighborhood and so something different! I love the lavender by the way. I do drink when I blog - but my preferred drink is Diet Dr. Pepper. Does that count?

  4. Baby steps, Noelle, baby steps. Thank you for the kind words. One edict I have from my lovely wife is that the yard does not look like any other. Shouldn't be too difficult, as they all look the same.

  5. I actually see a pretty nice looking yard here in the making, evoking "Mediterranean" with the lavenders, Italian cypresses, and olive. I also detest lawns (too much work, water & moolah to maintain) and think they look best on a golf course. If you like the drought-tolerant stuff, Rock Roses (Cistus spp.) are great and also widely available in most nurseries. Being a wino, my drink of choice when I blog is a super dry, full-bodied, native California Cab. Salud!

  6. Ah, Camissonia, a woman after my own heart. Being out in Murrieta, you have plenty of local wine to choose from. Thank you for the plant advice. Don't be surprised to see some of those as we have a big nursery outing this weekend.

  7. Lovely! It looks just as a new landscape should, full of promise. Rats, where's my drink? Well, at this time of the morning, it would be coffee. --Lou Murray

  8. Thank you, Lou. And, your secret with what actually goes into your coffee is safe with me.