Time to Start Dreaming

We’re closing in on the end of our house foundation project. This is a project that’s been going on for more than a year now, and you can read more about it herehere.

This project has taken over our entire lives — all our finances and all our free time. We’ve got our final inspection in just a few days, and that means we get to start thinking about putting the garden back together!

Importantly, we’re getting our house repainted later this year, so until that happens we’re not going to do lots of planting. Instead we’re going to focus on hardscaping — pathways, rain gardens, pergolas, etc..

But that doesn’t mean I can’t start planning!

There’s a part of our garden that I’d like to replant first. It’s an area in the front, to the south of our front porch. That means it’s viewed by everyone coming and going from the house, and also passers by:

It will need to coordinate with the rest of the front garden, which is on the other side of the driveway:

The Garden in May - Portland Oregon

And while it’s important that the front garden feel like a whole, I also want this area to have its own identity as a separate space. It will house a rain garden designed to manage water coming from our downspouts and sump pump, over which I’ll create a flat bridge in the path. And it will also get a new gate entrance with additional privacy because our neighbors new ADU entrance path will go right by this spot.  And in the next couple of weeks the awkwardly placed downspout next to the front porch column will move behind the fence.

It’s partially shaded by the neighbors weeping cherry tree, and not a particularly large space. It’s 10′ wide at its widest. But I’d still like it to feel lush, have multi-season interest, and be relatively low maintenance.

Here are the plants I’m thinking about for that spot…

Cupressus glabra ‘Sulphurea’:

This photo is of a non-gold variety, but you can see the great needle structure on this tree.  It has a relatively open structure for a conifer.

Melianthus major:

A beautiful, large, foliage-driven plant.

Canna Musifolia ‘Rubra’:

A tall, deciduous plant with gorgeous foliage that looks like a banana leaf.

Drimys Lanceolata ‘Suzette’:

A tall, evergreen shrub with red stems and variegated foliage.

Phormium ‘Sundowner’:

A gorgeous New Zealand flax that might not make it through another snow/ice-ridden winter like we’re currently having, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

I’m planning to weave these featured plants together with groundcover color echoes in heuchera, geum, sedum, euphorbia, ornamental grasses and flowering bulbs for Spring color.

It’s so much fun to think about planning the garden again — especially one of my favorite parts of garden design, plant combinations.  Can’t wait!

Kate McMillan

Author Kate McMillan

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