Mary and Jerry were looking for a change. They had grown tired of the shaggy carpet of front lawn and weary of whacking back old, overgrown shrubs. There was also the unfriendly front slope, not wide enough to comfortably walk on, steep enough one could think better of it. Mary had new, useful ideas for the land: Fruit trees, berry bushes, kitchen herbs, and plants to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The lawn was dug out and the battle-scared shrubs removed. The selfish front slope was coaxed into becoming friendlier, with more topsoil having been brought in and added to her waistline. Given a belt of dry-stacked stone, the slope now had become a wide, usable terrace. A trio of dwarf fruit trees started off the new planting. The apple tree had five varieties grafted onto one tree (called a 5-way combo) the pear had three (a 3-way combo) and the Italian plum was one of Mary’s favorites. With just these three trees came a whole orchard of fruit. Raspberries and marionberries became friendly room-mates, forming a caned fence at the back of the garden. Colorful Blueberries mingled with Hebes and Daylilies. Butterflies found their way to the Asters, and Mary’s nose found its way to the fragrant dwarf hardy Gardenia. Hummingbirds quickly claimed the Penstemon. Up by the front door a welcoming committee was planted with Lenten Rose, dwarf Escallonia, Caryopteris, and dwarf red-twig Dogwood, all taking turns being on display, giving year around color and interest. Stone pathways lazily wound their way through the new garden, passing by a bubbling fountain surrounded by a stone patio. Jerry could be found sitting there, in the shade of the big fir tree, sipping ice tea in the summer; which is where I found him one late afternoon when I came to visit. His garden was alive. Bees were busy, apples were ripening, and blueberries were about ready to pop. Mary came out from the kitchen to snip Rosemary for dinner. “Do you miss your lawn?” I asked. “No, and neither do the neighbors,” Jerry replied. “We use our front yard now, and mowing the grass took a lot of time and water”. Mary added, “And we are enjoy growing some of our own food, along with having a beautiful new front yard.” As I left the garden, the stone walkway now lit with pathlights as evening approached, Mary, Jerry and I stood at the edge of the garden, looking back on the fruits of our labor. “Our neighbor next door wants to talk with you about redoing his front yard, but only after you help us get rid of the lawn in our backyard.” Jerry said with a smile.
By Tina Miller, Landscape Designer