When I bought this house, the front yard was nothing much to look at. The margins of the lackluster lawn were defined by two massive white pine trees (still there, causing mayhem with their midday shade) and a scraggly line of the largest euonymous shrubs I’ve ever seen (also still there, but maybe not for long). The lawn was dead-brown, and filled with a wide assortment of most everything except for grass. A series of box-like shrubs stood sentinel along the foundation of the house. Among the standard yews and arborvitae, I found two azaleas. The poor things were so aggressively pruned that I think they must have suffered a crisis of identity. They’ve been moved to a quiet place, where I hope they will recover. The rest of the foundation shrubs were simply put out of their misery.
I haven’t been shy about recreating the front yard. I replanted the foundation with blueberries, and have plans to add a small grape arbor and a peach tree. The front beds are now easily four times their previous size, and I expect they will grow ever larger in the coming years. Among the many annual crops — tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, melon, corn, etc — I’ve planted a small stand of asparagus, several artichoke, one dwarf plum tree, and an assortment of flowering natives, such as purple coneflower and false indigo. Along the new front walk (working with brick is equal parts fun and exhausting), I’ve planted enough herbs to keep my kitchen smelling grand — rosemary, several thymes, tarragon, garlic and regular chives, oregano, mints, and more.
The future may bring a few more fruit trees and blueberry bushes. If I find the courage to pull down the gargantuan euonymous shrubs, then there might be some sort of vertical wall thing going in their place. Perhaps a trellis for tomatoes and beans? More asparagus seems likely, and grapes are a definite. Of course, each year will see a blend of annual veggies and flowers (mostly natives), so the garden will always be changing with the seasons and with the years.
I’m approaching my one-year anniversary in the house, and so far the outlaw garden has received nothing but compliments. One neighbor — an elderly gentleman — even told me how proud he was of all the work I’d been doing. He probably had no idea he was talking with the neighborhood (gardening) renegade.