First look: new baby garden in the front yard

The new front yard garden plants are in! All the new plants are shade-tolerant, drought-tolerant, frost-tolerant, evergreen and low-maintenance.

Sweet new vignette pictured below, foreground to back: Webberville sedge (Carex perdentata), autumn crocus foliage (Sternbergia lutea), pale-leaf yucca (Y. pallida), sparkler sedge (Carex phyllocephala 'Sparkler'), giant leopard plant in bloom (Farfugium japonicum), Zephyranthes 'Zebra Grand Jack,' Aquilegia chrysantha hinckleyana 'Texas Gold,' Buxus microphylla.

View from the NW corner of the lot. Our two little postage-stamp-sized beds are clearly defined by the new stonework. The back tree is a Texas red oak, about 30 years old. The tree in front is a bur oak, about 10 years old.
Close-up of the new mortared path. Initially it was to be an unedged path. However, we live on a bit of a hill, and the soil is higher on one side of the path, so that side had to be edged to keep soil from spilling onto the path. Edging the other side would have impeded rainwater flow that runs off the driveway onto the sidewalk leading to the front door.
In the very back corner near the hedges are variegated cast iron plants and two varieties of Mahonia ('Soft Caress' and 'Nahira'). I gave the box hedges a big chop in fall and they will get another big chop in spring. Eventually I'd like to take them out and replace them with something that doesn't want to grow over the windows, but Jack wants to keep them for now. (I also want to remove those fake shutters, but one thing at a time!)
East side plot

West side plot

The new baby sedges are adorable. Eventually they'll fill in and create soft mounds that cover the bare ground.  Until then, I must lightly hoe the bare spots every week or two, to keep the sprouting weed seeds under control. We mulched before the install, which knocked down a lot of horseherb, and makes the remaining Bermudagrass easier to pull up.

In amongst the sedges, we've planted swathes of holly fern, columbine, cedar sage and spiderwort. Reliable Central Texas bulbs like the autumn crocus, Sternbergia lutea, Narcissus 'Erlicheer', red spider lily and oxblood lilies lie underground, waiting for their season to pop up amidst the sedges.
From the northeast corner, looking west. So tidy.
I planted bamboo muhly around the corner, on the skinny side of the house by the A/C unit.  Tradescantia will go in as a ground cover once the risk of frost passes. And there are some tiny Mexican honeysuckle near the cast iron plants that are hard to see with the leaf cover. Give them a couple of years, though, and they'll be huge enough to fill that corner. 

The garden is in its awkward gangly phase, but I love it already. Many plants already have new growth.

Words and photos © 2005-2021 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden." Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. Love it. Looking forward to seeing it during the growing season. I chuckled at your comment of being on a hill. Ours is such a steep slope, yours looks level as can be. I do understand that water carries soil and mulch to the lowest area. I really like Sparkler, tried to grow it in Virginia and haven't tried it here.

    1. Definitely not as steep as your slope! Just steep enough that one side of the path needed edging. This is the first time I'm trying sparkler sedge. It's supposed to be more frost-tolerant than Dianella.

  2. Wonderful transformation. Looking forward to watching it grow in.


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