My front garden bloomed all the colors of the rainbow just in time for this past Pride Weekend.
The plants in bloom include natives, heirlooms, passalongs from past plant swaps, and weeds. Not everything in bloom is visible in the photo. Some are too small to stand out at this scale. Others are just off-frame to the right.
Achillea millefolium, Common Yarrow, cerise/pink-red, passalong
Alcea rosea, Common Hollyhock, seed strain that came with the house
Digitalis purpurea, Foxglove, seed strain that came with the house
Penstemon digitalis, Tall White Beard-tongue, native
Thalictrum pubescens, Tall Meadow-Rue, native
Trifolium repens, White Clover
Almost everything in this photo was newly planted this Spring. The only existing plantings are those near the steps. You can see everything is in full sun. It wasn’t so when we bought the house.
Two years ago, Hurricane Irene hit. The mature London Plane Tree in front of our next-door neighbor-to-the-south came down. This changed our shady front yard to one of full sun, and opened up new opportunities for plant choices.
It also allowed me to advance my long-term plan of planting all of the front yard, and eliminating the last vestiges of “lawn” from our property. So this Spring, I planted out the first section, along the driveway. I’ll make my way across the lawn year-by-year. In a few years, the entire front yard will be planted out.
Right around the corner from the Buffa10 hotel, the Embassy Suites Buffalo, is a cul-de-sac named Cary Street. I discovered it by accident when I was trying to find the entrance to the hotel when I drove into Buffalo yesterday. I missed the entrance, and pulled into the first street I found to turn around: Cary Street.
The homes are detached cottages of modern construction, but in Buffalo’s vernacular brick Victorian style. No two houses are alike. And most of them have beautiful front-yard gardens.
Lots of bulb action in the front garden lately. Just a couple days of warm weather and things really took off. This is what it looked a week ago:
These photos of the Hyacinths are also from a week ago. Heirloom Hyacinth “Queen of the Blues” is the light blue one. It’s hard to render the color accurately on-screen; it’s a pale, powder blue which looks different depending on whether it’s sunny or overcast, or in the shade or sun. It’s been blooming for two weeks now. Today, it’s just starting to flop over and fade.
The dark purple one is heirloom Hyacinth “King of the Blues.”
What the camera can’t capture at all is the scent. These heirloom Hyacinths are intensely fragrant, especially “Queen”; those eight inflorescences perfume the entire front yard and the sidewalk in front of our house.
Two more bulbs opened up over the past week. An unidentified Daffodil obtained from the Daffodil Project, and the unbelievably red Tulipa linifolia, which I just planted this season.
Tulipa clusiana was just starting to open up today, but I didn’t get any shots of that yet. Something to look forward to for later in the week.
Heirloom Canna “Mme. Paul Caseneuve”. Photo Credit: Blog Widow John
Earlier this week, while I’ve been in North Carolina, one of the heirloom bulbs in the front yard started to bloom. I was disappointed to miss its first flower. Blog Widow John was excited to see the bloom, and sent me this phonecam snapshot of it so I wouldn’t miss it. This is his first guest post on the blog. Thanks, baby!
It’s Canna “Mme. Paul Caseneuve”, which I received from Old House Gardens (OHG) this Spring. This is the first time I’ve grown this variety of Canna. Introduced in 1902, it’s growing about 3 feet high for me, not as tall as “Cleopatra” which I grew in the same container last year. OHG describes the flower as “heart-breakingly lovely” and it looks to fulfill that promise. The foliage has been attractive, dark bronze for me.
[Confidential to my readers: I’ll get some proper photos of it after I return home this weekend.]
The London Plane Tree in front of our house. It’s taller than the house, and provides shade in the summer and fall.
Over the last two summers, more than a thousand people volunteered to conduct a tree census of the five boroughs, the second in the city’s history (the other was in 1995) — and the first to put a price tag on each specimen.
… Each tree’s type, age, size, and location was fed into a computer program, developed by the U.S. Forest Service and the University of California, Davis, that quantified the plant’s annual value in saving energy costs (more shade means less air-conditioning), improving air quality, absorbing storm-water runoff, and prettifying the block. The study determined that street trees are collectively worth $122 million a year to the city, with an average of $50 to $300 apiece.
Not surprisingly, the oldest and largest are worth the most. … The standard formula says a dwelling with a tree in front is worth .88 percent more than a home without one … The city’s math allowed for a tree’s effect on property values, but with a limitation: The survey priced all houses equally, at $537,300, the median cost of a single-family home in 2005.
The article goes on to profile the value to the city and the homeowner of four different street trees in four different settings. Based on its age, and the real estate prices in our neighborhood, I’m estimating our street tree is worth $300-400 a year to the city, and adds about $10,000 to our property value.
Trying to catch up with some of my blogospheric responsibilities, I realized I totally forgot to link back to Good Planets! I submitted two photographs from the front of our house. The one above is the street tree in front of our house. Street trees have a tough time, and I worry about it. I’m thinking about plantings I can do in the tree pit (aka “hell strips”) between the sidewalk and the curb which will help the tree. We’re also going to need to make a cutout for the trunk, something I’m sorry we didn’t do when we had the sidewalk replaced two years ago.
Bees and Crocus tommasinianus in the front garden
This one’s a bonus shot of my first Spring flowers, in the front garden. These are part of the heirloom garden I’m building up in the front yard. The crocus were swarming with bees that day. I counted five bees when I took the photo, though I can only find three of them in the photo now.
Eranthis hyemalis, Winter Aconite, flowering in the front garden this afternoon.
Everything is delayed about a month from where I’d expect it to be. I would have had the first bulbs blooming last weekend, were it not for the blast of ice and snow we got. The most recent storm reached us last night. It eased off this morning, giving way to partial sun and clouds and temperatures in the upper fifties. Perfect for the crocuses to open up. Crocus tommasinianus
And here are two shots showing the flowers in situ in the front garden.