Exterior & Garden

Reviving the Front Yard For Spring

This is the second of three posts sponsored by RISE’s AND not OR home and garden program. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


The great spring garden cleanup of 2019 has come to completion! I’ve pulled the weeds and have been assessing the garden after our particularly harsh winter. I like most of the garden to be self-sustaining and easy to take care of, but I do enjoy my time working on it! AND not OR has tips tailored to all kinds of gardeners to help you get a game plan together.

Spring Garden Clean Up!
Perennials coming back after winter

The perennials are thriving! I was able to split some of them to use along the wrought iron fence. We have a lot of the varieties from RISE’s list of plants that work well in this area, and looking at it again I’m thinking I’d like to have hollyhock too. Doesn’t that sound like a charming addition to the front of a Victorian?

I monitor our dwarf Alberta spruce throughout the year for spider mites and have to treat it periodically (they’re prone to pests), but it’s fine right now. I’ll be trimming the boxwoods later this month and I cut back as much of the yew as I could reach. It’s probably time to bring in somebody that can lop off the top half and bring it back to a reasonable size. I remember my grandparents yews getting cut down to bare wood and bouncing back beautifully; yews are like that.

The fence borders were filled with creeping charlie. I found the best technique for removal was to take my Japanese garden hoe and run it beneath their shallow roots. This is just one example of how I use The AND Approach to find, solve & prevent using a combination of solutions that work for me based on the problem at hand. Based on peoples’ responses on Instagram, creeping charlie is tenacious! Look at that beautiful weed-free bare dirt. I need to get something planted there before it gets overrun again.

Front Garden in Spring | Making it Lovely

I’ve filled the planters flanking the front walkway and lined up on the stairs with annuals. Sometimes I’ll arrange my own combinations of flowers, and other times I take the easy route and buy the ones that are ready to go. This year I mixed some flower fertilizer into the soil, planted the refill, and called it good.

Scalloped Planters on a Victorian Porch | Making it Lovely

The yews and Annabelle hydrangeas out front continue to fill in nicely! Still babies, but they’re growing.

Victorian House with Front Yard Garden

I’ve added creeping phlox, and a new lily to the yard. I split some of the allium, phlox, and lamb’s ear that was growing on the left side in the flower bed and planted it on the right. Please please please don’t let me forget to add tulips and/or daffodils in the fall so that we have some spring color next year. The houses that have them are so cheery! I want in.

Victorian with Wrought Iron Fence

I also added foxglove, again, which I know is a biennial (and poisonous) plant. I keep trying, but I’ve never had any luck with them reseeding to come back. I think this is the fourth year I’ve planted them. I continue to love them, even if they don’t seem to love me and my garden back. Is there a trick to this that I don’t know?

Foxglove and Perennial Flower Garden

Everything has come together so nicely, but what should I plant in the newly bare section along the fence? I like the idea of a mass planting like the Annabelle hydrangeas on the other side, but they seem too big for this spot.

The Lovely Victorian Garden | Making it Lovely

It’s in full sun. Roses or hydrangeas? Our street sees a fair amount of foot traffic and I worry about thorns at the fence line snagging passers by. Does that push me definitely toward hydrangeas though? The fence will be covered in sweet autumn clematis come late August or September with prolific tiny white flowers, but it’s so empty until the clematis takes off. Lavender was a popular suggestion too. What’s your pick?

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Sarah Liou
    May 18, 2019 at 8:31 am

    I think that border is begging for a pollinator-friendly perennial cutting garden! Rudebekia, echinacea, agastache, penstemon…all would be great as a mix or choose one or two to plant en masse for a more “orderly” look. With some research you can find lots of plants that fit the bill, and your garden will benefit the ecosystem as well!

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