I’ve been challenged by the lovely people at Plant Me Now in an Urban Revival project, to invigorate a forgotten outdoor space and bring it to life this Spring. As we did a lot of work on the back garden last year, it was time that the front garden (if that’s what you want to call it!) recieved a little bit of attention. I know how important it is to give your house curb appeal, but often what I say and what I do are two very different things.
This is what the front area of our house looks like at the moment:
As you can see, it is a very unloved patch. At the moment it contains just a few Box plants, and a larger Choysia which have all been in there for a few years now. We haven’t really invested my time or effort in the space and it’s all feeling really dreary and dull.
There are several problems with this area. Firstly, it gets very little sun, although you wouldn’t guess that from the pictures. They were taken at about 1pm on a sunny Winter’s day in February. The sun lasts just a few hours before it disappears behind the wall, so the area tends to be very shaded for most of the day. Secondly, as there is little sun, it can be a bit damp, which not all plants like.
The lovely people at Plant Me Now have spent a lot of time looking at my photographs and listening to my woes regarding the front patch, and have come up with a great plan for creating something quite stunning. I would never have thought of such a plan on my own, so this expert help has been invaluable.
We are going to create something quite contemporary using plants from their perrenials range that incorporates just a couple of colours. As I wanted to keep it simple, yet bold, we’ve opted for a purple and orange scheme across the flower bed, and some window boxes on the outside windowsills.
THE FLOWER BED
By the wall, we’ve included two types of tall dahlias. Dahlia Purple Gem and Dahlia Pippi. Ideally, these should be started off in boxes of moist compost indoors. This will encourage them to start growing earlier than they would normally without the risk of them being damaged by frosts. Full planting instructions are included on the packs of dahlia tubers. At the front of the ﬂower bed, we thought a low growing lavender hedge would work really well. Lavender Munstead is the best variety for this. Planting them closer together (25 – 30cm) will encourage them to form a hedge. Give them a trim in the summer to keep the hedge shape.
For the window boxes, we’ve chosen one type of plant (Calibrachoa) in two colours, Blue and Terracotta. Calibrachoa is a spreading/trailing bedding plant which will cascade over the sides of the window box, producing small petunia like ﬂowers throughout the summer. They like to be moist but not wet and try to avoid letting them dry out completely. Removing any ﬂowers as they fade will encourage the plants to produce more growth. They can be planted with just a 5cm gap if you want really full looking window boxes but it’s okay to plant further apart. If you have any plants spare, Lavender planted in the centre of a pot surrounded by Calibrachoa will make a gorgeous display.
Doesn’t it all sound fabulous. I love all the tips, and full guidelines I’ve been given. All I have to do now is put the plan into action.
Some of the plants for the flower bed have now arrived, and we’ve been busy preparing them for planting. As Plant Me Now advised above, we’ve planted up the Dahlia tubers to give them a head start before planting them outdoors. I’m keeping these inside for a month to get them going, which will hopefully allow them to flower earlier too.
So now the waiting begins. The Lavender hedge will start to take off, but the Dahlias have to do some growing indoors before they go outside. I’ve removed the Box plants and put them in some pots ready for trimming, and we may well relocated the Choysia too. I can’t wait to see how this all looks. The colours are incredibly vibrant and will create such a wonderful entrance way to the front door. I’m inspired to give the whole entrance way a makeover now, with new door colour, better house numbers and a freshly painted step. Watch this space!
There are a few bloggers taking part in this project, and Plant Me Now has offered a £250 gift voucher to the blogger that creates the best transformation of their urban space. I’ll be back in June to show you how it’s all going but for now, wish me luck!
This post is in collaboration with Plant Me Now, who provided excellent guidance, planning and perennials for this project.