Claiming the front yard back for me

25 Feb

I worry too much about what other people think. So since we moved in I have been trying my best to maintain what we inherited. I have been carefully pruning the roses, watering the shrubs and asking P to mow and edge the lawn regularly. Living in a street full of older folk, they see everything and most people are quite ‘house proud’. If you don’t mow your lawn often enough, you feel like you are letting the team down.

Yesterday I came to the realisation that I don’t actually like the carpet roses in the raised garden bed along the front of our block. They are sprawling, spiky and jump out to get the kids when they play. They grow vigorously and need to be pruned back hard in the winter, and then need to be disposed of in green waste, because I don’t want to spread fungal disease through the rest of the garden. The garden bed that they occupy is 10 metres x 1 metre. That’s 10 square metres of well-drained, full-sun receiving soil that I could use for vegetables.

Now I hesitate here because I know what people think about growing vegetables in the front yard. They’re ugly! I disagree. People will steal your vegetables! Actually, I don’t think they will. You can’t grow vegetables in the front yard!

Watch me.

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8 Responses to “Claiming the front yard back for me”

  1. Michele February 26, 2011 at 9:12 am #

    Haha – I am sure the man across the road who was a gardener for 40 years shakes his head at our lawn!

    Soon you’ll be a true honorary Italian using every inch of fertile ground for food production.

  2. Michelle Ellis February 26, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    Do it! Do it! There are some truly stunning veggie gardens around. Be the change you want to see in your street!

    • L February 27, 2011 at 4:54 am #

      Thanks for the encouragement πŸ™‚ I mentioned my plans to my neighbour today, and I could tell he thinks I’m a loony. I’m going to have to make sure it looks beautiful from the start – so much pressure!

      • Michelle Ellis February 28, 2011 at 7:33 am #

        I think most people think of vegie gardens as neglected, scrappy bits of ground wit bare patches and gone-to-seed parsley. I’ve seen your photos of your garden – you’ll bowl ’em over and start a new trend!

  3. S February 28, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    I love it. Clearly I’m looney with you πŸ˜‰
    We (read “I”) planted up our veggie garden this year, but now I want more space. So, I’d come to the same conclusion as you. I’m adding veg plants to my front garden too. I’m starting off with herbs (eg. rosemary), but thought some asparagus and eggplant could find their way out there sooner rather than later.

    • L February 28, 2011 at 6:09 pm #

      I’m glad I’m not the only one πŸ™‚ My block is pretty small considering the size of our house, so the front yard opens up so many possibilities! Let me know how you go.

  4. Jodi March 3, 2011 at 11:06 am #

    L, I love what you’re doing here. Don’t mind too much what your neighbours think. You may think that they disapprove, look down on you or think you’re looney but in truth they’re most likely thinking ‘well, maybe I should do what they’re doing!’.

    Since we started planting in our front yard we have become more engaged with our neighbours. My husband and I had a compost challenge in the front yard once. It really got the neighbourhood talking. There was a guy who lived a few doors down who couldn’t contain his curiosity. One day, while we were turning our compost mounds he came over to ask us what we were doing. Until that point we hadn’t ever spoken. We told him that we were having a competition to see who could build the best compost mound and had done it in the front yard because that was where it would be used. He was impressed and over the weeks watched on in keen interest. He and his family turned out to be lovely and have similar interests to us. Suffice to say we talk often now and exchange veg when we can.

    I guess the key is finding a good balance between edible and ornamental. If it was all just veg then it might look a bit unsightly. Having permanent ornamental stuff in the mix is great because they’ll be your back-up looking good while while your tomatoes and zucchini are withering.

    You go girl!

    • L March 3, 2011 at 8:06 pm #

      Thanks so much Jodi for your thoughts and encouragement. Your compost challenge sounds hillarious -would have really got the neighbourhood talking!

      I have real trouble finding the right balance between ornamental and edible. I’m thinking that I’ll just use marigolds, nasturtiums, coneflowers etc at first, then see how I go. I think I just need to plant the normal vegies, then make sure I fill the gaps with pretty stuff like flowers and garlic chives.

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