16 September 2010

garden: Front Yardgasm

Well, I just can't contain myself: my front garden is on fire right now! I know that it's really unbecoming of me to brag, but what's a blog for anyway? The yard is surely not perfectly pleasing to a critical gardener's eye. It's all sorts of crazy. But that's precisely why it is so amazing to me at the moment. (Remind me of that when the weeds and plant placement start driving me nuts.)

I've been finding myself completely zoning out as I gaze out at the garden from the living room. It is brimming with hummingbirds, goldfinches, bees and wasps of all shapes and sizes, butterflies and moths, even praying mantises. The coral honeysuckle is even still hosting some snowberry clearwing larvae. The yard really is a feast for the eyes.

The hummingbirds still have a major crush on the turk's cap patch (at left, above) and the flame acanthus. But now they're starting to enjoy the blooms coming in on the kidneywood (at right, above).

The kidneywood is one of the most incredible shrubs a gardener can put in their Central Texas garden. When it's in bloom, it is totally entrancing. It's definitely a scent that I'm happy to have wafting through the nose as I walk up to the front door or pass by on the driveway. It catches me by surprise every time.

And the insects are all over it. I've already planted one of its seedlings in another part of the garden and will do that at least for a few more. It's really an all around perfect plant: light and airy in form, nice smelling leaves when crushed or clipped and sweet sweet flowers that smell almost like a citrus. I'm slowly trimming mine up to form a small multitrunked tree.


Bob said...

Absolutely stunning front yard. I have always preferred the more natural, slightly out of control look myself. Too much manicuring makes a garden look unnatural to me. I like the look yours has a lot. One other plant that might look really good in there would be a Datura. It only takes one bloom to scent the whole area in the evening and morning, and they look nice as well. With a garden like that, you get to brag all you want.

Caroline said...

Kidneywood! I've seen that around town and wondered what it was. Thanks for giving me some front yard inspiration!

Lee said...

Datura is a great idea!

ESP said...

Kidneywood! I don't have Kidneywood!
How big does this get? Full sun? I know I could google, but you seem to be intimate with this plant.

Those praying mantis photos in your previous post were most excellent...I have not seen any in my garden for quite a number of years now, how lucky you are...and to have some future babies and a potential decapitation! I would have to have set up a tent and camp around this scene with spotlights etc to capture the "beheading"...but I am also quite mad.

Front garden is looking great Lee.


Pam/Digging said...

I left behind a treasured kidneywood when I sold the old garden, I mean house. Lacking much pruning over the past year, it had become seriously shrubby, but it was in full lemony bloom this week, and the honeybees were all OVER it.

ESP, after 6 years mine was about 8 or 9 feet tall about 6 feet wide. It has an airy form that can be kept airier with diligent pruning. I grew mine in full sun, but I've seen it in part-shade up on Mt. Bonnell.

Lee, your front garden is looking great, and isn't it wonderful to see so much life flock to what you've planted?

Lee said...

Pam, thanks and yes, it IS so rewarding to see wildlife benefiting from our actions.

I'm looking forward to my kidneywood getting to that 8 foot height! Sounds like that pruning up is not a one time event...

ESP, I concur with Pam on the full sun and part-shade habit. In the wild, it seems to always grow on the edge, so its adapted to that kind of light regime.

I've been wondering how well it would take to keeping pruned down like a rounder shrub, but don't have the guts to experiment on this one. Maybe one of the others that I plant will be my guinea pig.