A garden coach is a gal's best friend

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I'm one of those gardeners who easily gets paralyzed by too many options. I've been known to sit and ponder what I should do with a certain corner of my yard for years, never to take action. But all this has changed -- I'm finally digging in!

This transformation is all thanks to my newly found garden coach, Erin. I first heard about garden coaches at the Garden Writers Association convention last fall.

I've got plenty of plant knowledge and DIY gumption, so I never felt like hiring a landscape designer was the right thing. But at the same time, I wasn't making any progress in transforming my yard. It turns out that a garden coach was exactly what I needed. Having someone else to bounce ideas off of has been a huge help and has lifted my decision paralysis.

Case in point: my front yard.

For years I talked about installing a bed that paralleled the street. I wanted less turf and more plants. And, I was tired of mowing around the pindo palm, so it really needed to be part of a bed. However, I had a hard time deciding what shape to make the bed. And I also had a hard time believing that my crude vision of a plant-filled bed could become a beautiful reality.

Enter Erin. She came over a few weeks ago after work. We looked at the yard and used a garden hose to lay out a few bed lines. We settled on something we both though looked good--a deep bed that left only a ribbon of grass that would lead the eye to the back corner of the yard.

New front landscape bed

We marked it off with surveyor's paint (image above) and then sprayed Roundup to kill the turf (or more truthfully, the weeds). It took awhile for the area to turn brown, but it finally has. I'll probably do another application before I install any plants.

And speaking of plants, I've got a list of contenders started. Of course, I have plenty of old plant lists collecting dust around my house. The problem has been that I never decide which ones I actually want to install. This time I'm going to run them by my garden coach and see what she thinks of my options. Problem solved!

But as long as we're talking plants, does anyone have any bold and beautiful plants that they think would work well? The bed stretches the length of the house. I need mostly shorter plants close to the driveway but can use some taller (10-12') plants on the other side of the pindo palm.

I already have the 'Queen Emma' crinum and would like to play off of its burgundy foliage. Some of the top candidates include Ensete (no surprise there), brugmansia, castor bean, silver saw palmetto, red zinnias, kniphofia, and 'Forest Pansy' redbud.


Jake said...

Sound like a great plan! The two plants I was going to suggest are ones you already listed. Eneste and Castor Bean. My Castor Bean has done well surviving 23 degrees and still standing, it just lost its leaves, but it is noe leafing out again. A Banana Tree I just picke up a few weeks ago is Rojo Banana. It has red splotches on its leaves, there are pictures on my blog or you can google it.

Have Fun,


erin said...

huzzah for progress! i can't wait to see the next step.