What’s a garden for?
I think it’s for sharing. Would you like other people to enjoy your front garden as much as you do? Would you consider planting things for passers-by as well as for yourself? If so, read on.
Here is our long front garden.
And here it is last weekend when we briefly had snow.
Such a long garden is quite unusual in London. Hardly anyone has seen our back garden in 2020 and the front has become all the more important for a place to stand and chat.
It’s 15 metres from the pavement to the front door, down a straight paved path. Although we paved the front bit so we could park off the road, there is still a lot of garden for passers-by to see. I plan a lot for colour, scent and interest to be seen from the street.
I plant a lot of early daffodils to bloom in February and March.I buy them from Walkers Bulbs here. That means that as you pass the house you see a splash of yellow. Not only can everyone enjoy these from the street but of course I also walk up the path several times a day so we all benefit. My attempts at a drift of snowdrops have failed miserably. I have planted hundreds in the green but only a handful ever come up.
Shrubs for winter scent
I’ve put scented shrubs as near to the street as I can and written about the best ones here
This tiny winter honeysuckle flower will fill the air with its scent and people stand at my front door wondering where the perfume is coming from.
Winter flowering shrubs can be big ungainly things but I don’t mind that. It’s the effect they have that matters for me. A beautiful scent of honeysuckle or mahonia wafting around the pavement for passers by is a gift to other people – and so easy to do. Just one of those shrubs I mention will fill a space in winter with a strong sweet scent. Here is a local front garden with a sarcococca so near the pavement you can smell it as you walk past.
Tulips for a burst of colour
I also like to plant tulips all down the front path on one side so that you can see the colourful strip from the street. Everyone who comes to the front door gets the pleasure of walking past a few hundred cheap cheerful tulips. Some do better than others but overall more people can enjoy them than those in the back garden.
So you could stand on the pavement and look back at your front patch. Is it inviting? Is it interesting? Does it change with the seasons? Does it tell you that who lives there wants to share their pot of daffodils or pansies? Does it make your postman smile?
It really is worth it. The Middle Sized Garden blog has also written about beautifying your front garden and you can read about that here
8 comments on "A front garden for other people to enjoy"
Its also a pleasure to come home to. I think street appeal is so important.
Yes absolutely, we walk past our own front gardens so many times. It surprises me how many people spend a small fortune on a kitchen or a sofa and yet their front door area or garden is a dull uninviting mess. Weird. Thank you so much for your comment.
I agree totally. My front garden is about half as long as yours but it is stuffed full of plants I want to share with neighbours. The only thing is we are at the end of a cul-de-sac so few passing strangers get to share it. Right now the hammamelis is in full bloom and you can smell it from the end of the path on cold still days. There are helebores and the snowdrops I planted a few years ago are at last beginning to form good clumps. Later there will be cherry blossom and crab apple blossom a-plenty, the magnolia Susan’s dark pink flowers and mounds of pheasant-eye narcissi that just keep on coming. This Christmas, as we were just the two of us, we decided against a Christmas tree. Instead I put the money to a florist’s wreath for the door; not a typical one but one full of autumn colours because I wanted to celebrate the wonderful autumn colour we had last year. The postie rang the bell one morning with a package. She said it was the most beautiful wreath she had seen and when I told her I had bought it to share with others rather than have a tree no one would see, she beamed and was so delighted at the thought.
By the way, for some reason your posts keep going into my spam folder. When I see them I transfer them to my inbox but I am sure I miss a lot. Don’t know how to stop this. Ingrid x
Oh Ingrid I love that story about the wreath and such a lovely idea to have something that other people see rather than a tree inside. And wasn’t it lovely that the postie appreciated it. We didn’t have a tree either this year. I think I’m done with silly expensive trees. your hammamelis sounds wonderful. I haven’t got one but might well investigate those.
Thanks for telling me about the spam thing. That doesn’t sound good. I will follow it up. I only blog about once a month so you may not have missed anything.
I completely agree – gardens are for sharing.
Along one edge of ours’ where the pavement runs, we have a laurel hedge which had got too tall. A month ago it was greatly lowered and I’m hoping now people on their walks can look over and see what’s happening.
Love your blog.
Oh that’s interesting Clare, and thank you for your encouragement. I’m sure people will want to see what’s behind the hedge now. What kind of front garden have you got ?