Garden Photo of the Day

Repairing snow removal damage from a front-yard bed

Maria Flemming (a.k.a. Quiltingmamma) from Ottawa Ontario has been busy! Thanks for sharing your snow-plow erosion strategy – great advice!

"Things have filled in with a variety of thymes, ground covers and native Field Pussytoes replacing most of the violets I had left as filler.  I added an old bench (but never got the hang of beergaritas out front), moved the birdbath (which is still hard to see – I see) and worked on the 'washing away' mulch dilemma.  The first winter had a new snow removal company in the area and they laid waste to the front 12-15 inches of garden and did a lot of damage in the neighbourhood.  We had discussed what to put there to manage the mulch, but so glad I didn't use the recommended railroad ties. I had set in some 12 inch pavers and they were found in chunks all down the street come Spring thaw.  A few are still there to raise up the garbage can, but a variety of ground sedums are filling in as erosion control quite nicely. The thyme grows back pretty well after any driveway snow removal damage, so mulch erosion there is now minimal. Thanks all GPODers for those past suggestions; I took a number of suggestions to heart.  The yard continues to attract pollinators, but the birdies seem to prefer the back. Regardless, every morning when I open my drapes, I smile and am so glad I made the decision to resort to 'lawn-be-gone'."

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All the tulips and bulbs are sure signs of spring

Fly on native Pearly Everlasting

Peony time is my favourite time

Prairie smoke and beard tongue in bloom early June

Sedum filling in nicely

Pussytoes and thymes filling in well

Before – photo taken April 24, 2013


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  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 08/18/2015

    My goodness, Maria, things have filled in wonder your gracious lady statue has such a serenely pleased look on her face...she is surrounded by nature's beauty. I love you inclusion of the warm colored you leave it out for the winter? I suspect not. What fun plant names you have...pussytoes, prairie smoke, and Pearly Everlasting...none of those are familiar to me but they look like great contributors to your front garden.

    1. Quiltingmamma 08/18/2015

      Thanks for the kind words. No, the bench gets taken in during the winter. That narrow yard gets covered with 3-5 feet of snow. Most of it is from driveway snow removal, but we do get a lot of accumulation over the very long season :-( The plants mentioned are local native plants. Antennaria neglecta, geum triflorum, anaphalis margaritacea (respectively) just don't sound as nice and homey as the local names. Hardy drought tolerant natives have been a great addition for water and labour reducing gardening....and helps the local pollinators

      1. User avater
        meander_michaele 08/18/2015

        Whew, 3 to 5 feet of snow...that takes me back to the last year we lived outside of Boston MA...during Feb./Mar of '93. We were located on a cul de sac and could have built 2 story igloos with the snow piles the plows left on our yard. I certainly agree that the local names of those plants are much friendlier and entertaining to say but I'm impressed you also know the latin names.

        1. Quiltingmamma 08/18/2015

          Meander1, I looked them up - just for you. I rarely retain latin names and often need to ask for translation when someone talks garden latin.

          1. User avater
            meander_michaele 08/18/2015

            Ha, good, ...then we are members of the same tribe...even after 3 or 4 years of Latin in high school, those Latin names just don't stick in my mind!

  2. user-4691082 08/18/2015

    I love the idea of the path to be able to walk through and enjoy what you've planted. I'm not familiar with your plant names either, but the package delivers! Great job, Maria!

  3. Beezos 08/18/2015

    Kudos! Looks great!

  4. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 08/18/2015

    Boy, does that look great. I love the new and additional views. It's filled in nicely. I love that you let the violets be a placeholder for a while. I'm not a fan of bare ground, so I often use things as placeholders until I catch a vision (or just get plain old dissatisfied). I love the tapestry look of your ground covers filling in with the pea gravel. I have Antennaria dioica rubra and love it in- and out-of flower. Do you shear your flowers back? I thought all everlastings were annuals most places. It's nice to see an everlasting that is hardy and perennial. Thanks for the ID!

    1. Quiltingmamma 08/18/2015

      Thanks Tim. 'Placeholder' lovely description and that is what the violets were. All that ground cover is filling well and soon there won't be any need for much mulch either. I did shear back the Antennaria, but not sure I like the blackened stem stubs left, but I reassess next year. The everlasting is a strong perennial here and in some places is a yard tall and big around. I am not sure how easy it is to separate and transplant, as it is overgrowing some beard's tongue, but I can try. It is a great flower for butterflies, but I don't seem to get many 'flies in the front either. I'll try to move some of this to the back and see if it attracts some Painted Lady butterflies there.

  5. lesliefarrelldelongpre 08/18/2015

    I LOVE all the pictures, but especially the tulips. The deer eat every one in sight, in my area,
    so to see such a grouping is beautiful. Your peony's are luscious too. So many things to comment on.... I've never seen Prairie smoke before so that is also a pleasure to see. Before and after pictures, inspiring! Thanks for sharing :)

    1. Quiltingmamma 08/19/2015

      Thanks Leslie. The squirrels go for my tulips, but I interplant with daffodils and that keeps them away - most of the time. Have you tried that combo as I read deer don't like daffs either? But maybe they just eat the tulips around the daffs. You could at least do a test site somewhere. I fill the front with bulbs as it is a little heat catcher so I have crocuses before the snow melts and the back is too wet to get into until well into tulip season. The reds are great multipliers.
      Maybe the Prairie Smoke (a Geum) has a cousin for your area?

      1. lesliefarrelldelongpre 08/19/2015

        Our deer are very picky and I think they would like the challenge of "picking" through the daffy's to get to the tulips. I have potted some tulip bulbs for the deck for next year, where they can't get to them. I will defiantly look for Prairie Smoke in my area. Thanks!

  6. GrannyMay 08/18/2015

    Maria, it is all gorgeous! Great choices for plants, drought tolerant natives are the way to go!

  7. sheila_schultz 08/18/2015

    It's so much fun to see 'before and after' photos, they allow us to see the gardener's vision... and your vision, Maria, is lovely! The pathway, the bench, the groundcover's and the other plantings all create a peaceful street-scape. Your neighbors must be very pleased!

  8. GrannyCC 08/18/2015

    Love the before and after pictures. You have done a beautiful job.

  9. NCYarden 08/18/2015

    Sweeeeeeeeeeeeet. Huge improvement. Always in favor of a garden in place of a lawn. Sedum is such a champ at filling in. I really like that prairie smoke, reminds me of the pasque flower seed heads. Great idea to incorporate a path through the middle so you feel surrounded and embedded. Thanks for the before and after..always good to see and to appreciate the work that went into it. Very pleasant garden.

  10. User avater
    gringopeligroso 08/18/2015

    Like others, I really appreciate you including a "Before" view of your serenity. How often I have wished I had taken a few extra seconds and captured "the starting point!" That moment/view evaporates Soo Quickly.
    I also love and applaud how you've incorporated some Natives into your creations.
    It's funny how many of the indigenous species have to go across the pond to be admired before we realize their worth in our garden's placement. I too, accommodate and employ some of the Natives in my own endevours and dreamscapes!! In some cases/seasons, they have become anchors!

    1. Quiltingmamma 08/18/2015

      Thanks Jesse. I had a GPOD post on my transformation 2 years ago, but before the whole website framework change so I think it is hard for Michelle to reference it, but here is the link
      I find when I have a big project, I take a 'before' but to use for design purposes. I have gridded my property on a 'map', which helps but I will take a photo, blow it up to standard paper size, lay a mylar grid over it to trial different layouts - in this case, the walk way. I use washable markers to reuse the mylar. I find I visualize, or plot on paper most of my new beds and projects....particularly as spring starts a'calling and I am anxious to get into the garden. I use it to determine numbers and types of plants and location. I have no landscape background, but I am not an impulsive shopper and as I want the right plant for the right environment, it allows me to research and dream through the worst of winter so I can go with a list in hand come the opening of the garden shops.

      1. User avater
        gringopeligroso 08/18/2015

        I'm impressed!! YOU are SO where I wish to be!! I have even gone so far as to obtain the software to map out my plantings and future dreams!! I have a wish list of treasures to look for in coming years, and the space to install those I find! However, I must confess that I'm an impulse shopper at heart and am guilty as many others on this morning inspirational site and succumb to temptations in the garden centers which I often didn't even know existed!! (OH WOW!!! I didn't know the breeders had come up with "That"!! I MUST have one...or two.... I'll figure out where it gets planted mañana!!) Not at all efficient as far as organization, design nor budget is concerned!! But, DAMN, I've stumbled across some fantastic specimens!!
        I eventually DO find space in nooks, crannies and corners to plug them in, and sometimes I'll build an additional bed around a very special theme which I've scored!! Again, not efficient, but the quest DOES remain exciting and serendipitous ! Having a blank canvas also helps. (Horse pasture and wooden or barb-wired fences....that's all.)
        At this time of year, I'm also haunting the box stores for their end of the season clearance sales. Some poor, half-baked leftover choices, but a few choice morsels for deep (below wholesale ) discounts, if'n one is diligent, observant, and careful!! That all being said, there's still something about a garden which is carefully researched, planned and lovingly planted, such as yours!!

  11. foxglove12 08/18/2015

    Lovely and love the before and afters ?

  12. eddireid 08/18/2015

    Seeing a transformation and reading about the process is very inspiring. Your careful planning and plotting and choosing is clearly an important part of your personality, for choosing a quilt pattern, measuring carefully, cutting after choosing just the right component colors is exactly what it's all about. Then fitting it all together to make the final product and viewing the beautiful result is the time you can stand back and admire your work. And so can we.
    Beautiful work, Maria. I'm taking notes.

  13. Quiltingmamma 08/19/2015

    Thanks all for the kind words and encouragement. Happy gardening!

  14. thevioletfern 08/19/2015

    Wonderful! I am in love with (and envious of) that Prairie Smoke! Love the Pussy Toes, too. Once again, I have to applaud the use of native plants! You make them all look so good! I planted all along the side of my driveway and am very careful about who plows. I hope you find a better snow removal solution!

  15. schatzi 08/19/2015

    Judging by your beautiful gardens, your quilts must be gorgeous. I am so envious of your organizational and planning skills! I'm afraid I am an impulse buyer who wants one or more of everything, But I think it is finally time to rein in my impulsiveness. Dragging 100' of hose around a large yard to water everything is getting to me. We have had such a hot dry summer for the NW, my heat-loving veggies are absolutely loving it, as long as I water them. Best year for lemon cukes, tomatoes, peppers and squash ever, and I even have eggplant! I love fresh veggies, but I am basicly a flower gardener and they are doing well too. Love your transformed lawn, and the sedums and natives. It is all beautiful and you ARE a garden designer!

  16. steve_mosley 08/19/2015

    just gorgeous - what a great transformation for a small Canadian suburban front lawn

  17. Beadlily 08/25/2015

    Your gardens are lovely---I share your Peony love!

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