An awkward front garden that always surprises us

both-sidesOur front garden is to put it bluntly, awkward. It is bisected not only by a straight ugly sidewalk but just a few feet away is an even uglier driveway. We have a space of about four feet in between the two and that leaves us with a strip in the middle to make something out of. On top of that, the soil needs constant amending since it is rock hard and dry all summer. Victoria, for all it’s rain in winter, is desert-like all summer and we live with water restrictions as well.

So keeping that in mind we have tried to use mostly plants that can stand both extremes. The goal eventually is to have some plants like the cedars give winter interest and fill in with all the dry land plants for summer.

We are pretty haphazard about it all, I must admit. And often things come up that we weren’t expecting, or things have spread and found their own spots and we tend to leave them to it. I’ve posted in the past about how this garden surprises us and even earlier about an Accidental Poppy Garden.

This summer it has surprised us once again and we’ve let it happen. To really appreciate it you have to see it from the front steps down to the street.


Then to appreciate it even more it is necessary to go to the street and look back and enjoy the chaos and color.



But to totally appreciate what the plants have done you must slow your progress and look closely at the individual groupings made almost all by unexpected plants like Lamb’s Ears or Mallow or even oregano ( which has escaped the herb garden and gone traveling) cosying up to what we actually planted. Those of you who know a weed when you see one will probably find quite a few. As an artist, I tend to give them a chance if they fit in somehow and look nice. At least for a while….





2 thoughts on “An awkward front garden that always surprises us

  1. Marianne says:

    Hi Helen – rather than chaos and awkwardness I see joyful abandon and harmony!! I’m sure your plants are much happier than the ones in Beacon Hill Park which are planted against their will in strict military fashion. I bet they’d love to run away and come to your place! As I recall, it’s a singularly pleasant experience walking up your sidewalk amongst all the elegantly casual plants with their various textures and colours. Love your garden – thanks for the photos!
    P.S. Is the plant Lamb’s Ears the same as Lamb’s Quarters? The latter is an edible plant which my grandmother and I used to gather from hither and yon in Hope BC and cook like spinach. Yum!

  2. Helen at Summerhouse says:

    Hi Marianne, You are quite right about the plants in the park. I like your description of “joyful abandon and harmony”. Not sure about the Lamb’s Ears and the Lamb’s Quarters though.

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