Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Walkway to the House

The flower beds to the sides of the walkway leading up to our front door are one of the most prominent areas in our garden, simply because you pass them often a couple of times a day and also every visitor coming to our place is reaching our house through that area. Unfortunately in our yard this is the most challenging gardening area you can imagine. Why? Because first of all the beds are really ridiculously small. Not our fault by the way, we bought the house with the hard scape already done. Who ever laid out the front yard was for sure not thinking about how to plant this area, there is way too much concrete there in relationship to the overall space available. Therefore the plants have hardly any room to stretch their roots. Secondly in these beds grow two pigmy date palms (p. roebelenii), which provide severe root competition for any other plant, which want to make herself at home there, too. Thirdly this area is facing South-West side and it gets really hot there even in spring already not to talk about the heat of a Southern California summer. So all the plants that grow there must be very tough.

(you can click on the photos to enlarge)

I have planted two 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' roses in this part of our garden, which you can see in the photo above and one 'Iceberg' rose, which is hidden by the cycad on the right side of the photo and to my big surprise roses all do well, given that I take good care of them in terms of watering, fertilizing, and mulching. My experience with roses in general is that they are much tougher than their reputation, but you have to find the right varieties that grow well in your climate. My newest addition to this part of the garden is actually not a plant, but the two blue glazed terracotta spheres underneath the pigmy date palm. In this area nothing is growing so close to the palm and I find that the spheres are a perfect way to add color and interest to that previously problematic part of the front yard. I am really in love with them!

Close-up of one of the picture perfect blooms of 'Our Lady of Guadalupe', with the blue sphere as a back ground. I love the contrast between the silvery-pink of the rose and the strong clear blue of the sphere.

The two blue pots that I had previously placed underneath the pigmy date palm (see my post about them, if you click here) moved to both sides of the front door and bringing interest and color to the entry of the house. On the photo below, you can see one of them with the 'Key Lime Pie' heuchera in bloom. The tiny flowers are a very unobtrusive light creamy-pink color and are giving the heuchera a very delicate charm.

When you walk up to the front door on the left side I have planted three more of the 'Key Lime Pie' heucheras into the ground, which are also in bloom right now (see photo below). I like the effect of the repeated use of one plant as is often recommended in garden design books more and more and feel there is really something to that advice. Somehow a plant is becoming much more impact that way and the overall atmosphere is not feeling restless especially in a small garden.

Same heucheras, but seen from the front door perspective.

Hidden behind the cycad that you can see on the right side on the photo above is an 'Iceberg' rose, which is just about to start to bloom (photo below).

The photo below shows the pigmy date palm with one of the 'Our Lady of Guadalupe roses from the other side walking towards the front door. In front of the rose are pink dianthus blooming. I had planted a couple more of them scattered into this area of the garden, but unfortunately one after the other succumbed death through a fungi, which leads the dianthus suddenly to wilt and then they dry up. Sometimes not the whole plant dies, but just part of it, unfortunately that looks so ugly that you have to remove it anyway. After the first year I decided that there is a little bit too much pink in the front yard and I am slowly trying to introduce more blue or at least lilac-blue to this area to build a nice contrast to the pink 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' roses. This year I planted salvia 'Black & Blue', which produce blue and black flowers (not seen in the pictures). Somehow the salvias have a hard time to grow in, but hopefully they will take off soon.

Top part of the 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' rose. To me it is still fascinating that this rose is able to churn out so many perfect blooms.

Close-up of the dianthus that you can see in being planted in front of the rose two photos above. By the way they smell incredible strong and lovely!

A couple of more pictures of 'Our Lady of Guadalupe blooms in different stages of opening.

The last rose that says goodbye or hello to you depending if you are leaving or approaching the front door is an 'Iceberg Climbing' rose planted to the left side by the garage. It is just starting to bloom magnificently. I like to plant pink and white roses together and think of thems the perfect planting pair. The white saves the pink roses from being to "overly sweet" and "girly" in my opinion.

One last pictures of the blue spheres and the pink 'Our Lady of Guadalupe' roses. Looking at the pictures for this post and writing about our walkway to the front door I realized to my own surprise that in the moment I am quite happy with the way this part of the garden looks right now, despite the challenges that this area has presented to me as a gardener. Three years of tinkering around with plants, planting and replacing them if necessary has paid off for me and I really feel rewarded right now with beautiful blooms. Of course there is always room for improvement and I am working on it!

Hope you liked to walk the path up and down to our front door with me!
See you in the garden!



  1. You've done such a nice job with the landscaping. Even with a small space that you worked with, there's lots of colors and beauty to look at!

  2. Such a beautiful walk .Pink, blue and white...Perfect colours !

  3. I love your beautiful walkway/entry gardens, flowers, blue spheres, scents. What more could one ask for. You've done a great job.


  4. Those blue spheres are quite a find! I am glad you thought of something that worked with those palms. They look great with OLOG too. Any chance of removing the palms:)? I think you made the right choices for that path, it looks beautiful, I wish I could visit:(...

  5. meemsnyc, thank you so much for your nice compliment!

    Dani, thanks, pink, blue, and white is my favorite color combination. You can't go wrong with them.

    Flowerlady, thank you so much! I am glad that you like our walkway to the house.

    Masha, yes, you are right the blue spheres were quite a find. I have never seen something like that before here in San Diego. So when I first spotted them in the nursery I couldn't put them into our shopping card fast enough, because I was afraid that someone else would snatch them up before I could get to them :-)! Actually we could remove the palms, but I actually love them even though I can't plant anything underneath. I still can't believe that I live in a country now where I can grow palms. I also would wish that you could visit me. Hopefully one day in the (near) future...

  6. What a beautiful walkway! I can just about smell the wonderful fragrance from here! And such varied textures. Great job!

  7. What a welcoming entry to your home. I just love the blue spheres! I see you like blue pottery like I do. The pink roses are just beautiful and I love 'Iceberg' for what a tough rose it is. I have one that gets huge and covered in flowers all summer.

  8. Excellent approach to your home. Love the blue! And all of your plants, too. Just beautiful, Masha!

  9. Holley, thanks for your nice comment. It makes me happy that you find our walkway beautiful!

    Catherine, thank you. It looks like I am getting into a "blue phase". I very am tempted to get some more blue pots for the yard. I agree, 'Iceberg' is simply a great rose!

    Sherry, thank you very much! I am glad that you like the blue accents that I set with the blue containers and spheres in the front yard and my plants!


  10. Christina everything looks so healthy. What difference the miliage inland between makes. Taking your lead and for the first I have not sprayed anything on the garden. I am covered in black spot and rust, yet the roses are still blooming great....

  11. Stephanie, yes, this year the roses planted in the ground are pretty healthy without spraying in my garden. I just have some minor powdery mildew infestation here and there, but it is almost close to nothing (some roses in pots are a different story, though!). I am happy to hear that you didn't spray at all this year, but also of course very sorry that your roses are struggling with blackspot and rust. Are all your roses equally affected? I am wondering if there are varieties that are more disease resistant than others and also if the roses will build more disease resistance on their own over time when they are not sprayed. Truly hope things will get better!