Once upon a time when I was young, I wasn’t interested in gardening. I thought it ought to be my husband’s hobby because he didn’t have one. He also didn’t want one, so we had a garden that was lovely at the back where we mainly entertained, and awful at the front. In the front we had trees and a single viburnum.
The viburnum was a pest that produced other viburnum. Mainly we shifted these to the back where they filled in the spaces.
Time puttered by and the front garden never got any better though the back was lush. More time passed and we subdivided. This meant more hours to spend in the now smaller garden. We added agapanthus to the front. I tried growing a few other plants but nothing ever looked right.
One day we fell in love with a holiday house on a half-acre block filled with fruit trees, vegetables, grapes, and roses. Roses, roses, roses. We made that garden a showpiece, full of life and joy. Meanwhile, our city house was dull and dry, and nothing grew.
Life and death happened, mainly death, and I had to sell the country house. To keep my memories of the best time in my life, I transplanted some of the roses from the country garden to the city. In amongst the lilly-pilly and crowds of agapanthus, the roses sulked.
The day-week-month happened when I was tired of seeing everything around me die. I dug out all the agapanthus and left myself an empty landscape, except for the tired lilly-pilly trees. They shaded too much and made the area impossible but I kept trying. Hoping to improve the look, I bought more roses. This cheered up the transplanted roses, but the garden needed a design rather than more plants. Then I had an idea.
First I had the two lillypilly removed. Then I shifted around the smaller viburnum that had taken root and had the large one trimmed severely. My first touch of luck happened when I saw on television how to stake down branches to form a hedge.
Within a year I had a viburnum hedge all around the front of the garden. I didn’t buy a single plant for this.
Then I separated out three day-lilies I had in the side garden and I divided my liriopes. Together, these formed a border. Done. I am finally happy with my front garden.
I finished clipping the hedge yesterday. It takes a week but I think it’s worth the effort.