Front gardens

Green comes in different forms in our urban landscapes, from street trees and public parks to hidden back gardens.  All of these bits of green are important threads in the fabric of the natural world as it exists in our city.

Among the green spaces that I’ve been enjoying most recently, as spring is here, are front gardens, which have experienced a renaissance in our historic neighborhood  (as elsewhere in our mountain city), as gardeners are invigorating their gardening efforts with a variety of annuals, perennials, and ground covers, in the spring versions that I’m seeing currently.

There’s been a distinct uptick in front yards that are truly “gardened,” not simply maintained, resulting in a patchwork of small gardens to appreciate as I walk in the neighborhood.

I’ve particularly noticed this in smaller front landscapes, where mixes of sedum, thrift (phlox), and other groundcovers (even problematic ones like vinca) create a wonderful substitute for lawn.

A particularly vivid example just around the corner from our house

Gardening the strips between sidewalk and fence, wall, or building has been another trend, along with the “hellstrips” between sidewalk and street.

Gardening is an activity that quickly can become captivating, whether it’s adding perennials to support pollinators in sunny spots, or adding shade-loving plants to a shady nook, or growing some of your own vegetables.   And the gardens that result are diverse; some of us enjoy a naturalistic style, where others are more orderly.

There’s always room for planting something new; as we lose plants (or decide it’s time for them to go), it’s an opportunity for adding something that will enrich your garden, whether for pollinators, the table, landscape interest, or habitat.

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