In the spirit of full disclosure and determined to face down this reluctance, today I submit some shots of the front bed, along the curb on the uphill side of the drive.
Within a strictly limited budget I began to work towards my goals. As a starting point I figured to use my own labor and a combination of self propagated and passalong plants. Progress was slow but steady.
One of the two houses across the street from us sold. After sitting empty for a few months it was completely demolished and then rebuilt from the foundation up. The resulting noise and chaos drove the decision for our other neighbors across the street to put their house on the market as well. After it sold the new owners stripped it to the walls and remodeled, top to bottom.
This meant for the better part of the past three years our side of the street has served as a construction zone parking strip, hosting an ongoing parade of pickups, semis and panel vans.
When it came to looking at our spaces from the street I was reduced to intermittent glimpses of the curbside beds when a few of the workers' trucks left at lunch. Except for Sundays, I rarely had street access to the front beds, and a wall of thorny agaves hampered my approach from the house side. I threw in the trowel, rationalizing with that constant screen of vehicles in place, what nobody could ever see would never hurt me.
Weeks turned to months turned to years. It didn't rain, it got really hot. It didn't rain, it got really cold. Visualize a montage of flipping calendar pages. Fast forward to the here and now.
Both house renovation projects across the street are complete. Without the constant presence of parked vehicles I face, along with the world, the full consequences of our devastating weather and my ongoing neglect. Big picture? Well. It ain't pretty.
To varying extent, every one of the agave plants were damaged this winter. Two coveted narrow leafed green varieties (weberii? americana? they were passalongs in a box and if I was told I can't remember!) were reduced to mostly mush. The centers seem intact. I trimmed away the rot and am fervently hoping they'll bounce back.
There are a few bright spots. The sumac I transplanted and protected with a barrier seems to have survived the winter. Branches are showing signs of terminal budding. Other plants put in last Fall (salvias, marjoram, penstemons, grasses, ferns, mallows) wintered over with no discernible damage. Many died back to the ground but that is to be expected and they should show signs of regrowth as the temperatures rise.
After agonizing over placement I finally planted two recently purchased gopher plants (euphorbia rigida). I put them where they'll enjoy good drainage in combination with what I hope is enough sun. If I guessed correctly they will become well established and not only thrive but reseed. If I can believe everything I've read, the gopher plants should fill in an approximately 2x3 foot space. They reportedly survive extremes of heat and cold, drought and deer. Go go gophers!
|Gopher the First (center). Hoping this will stretch out to eventually reach the curb.|
|Gopher the Second. I was originally going to pot this up but instead filled a gap created by the removal of a large cold damaged agave.|
The "maroon" and "white" varieties will never replace their original blue cousins in my heart, but for now I'm enjoying the novelty. I hear they revert to their original blue within a generation or two but the pops of unexpected color are fun while they last.
Oak pollen will drive me indoors for the next span of weeks. Regardless, now that I at long last have unlimited access, the urge to address issues out front will find me stubbornly popping outdoors for brief spurts of work. Several clumps of purple fountain grass were killed by the cold. I'd like to find native replacements. I want to relieve overcrowding and take out damaged agaves battered by cold and deer. I will hand water wildflowers if the rains don't come, and there is always work to be done pulling Bermuda grass and replenishing gravel.
And, just perhaps, taking a few more wide shots. It will be good to regard the curbside area taken as a whole as I continue planning for the future.
|Not perfect, no, but much much better than grass!|