Front Foundation Bed – Progress Shot

Some of you may remember when I dug one of the foundations bed in winter.

Originally just grass and a scruffy half-dead miniature rose that was completely trampled during the building works, it went from this:

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Old

To this in July – a garden of cuttings, plant plugs and bare-rooted plants (and hope!):

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Bare-rooted plants, tiny plant plugs and cuttings

And now five months later, it is really starting to take shape:

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Still a lot of growing to do, but it’s a lot more colourful

Obviously there is a lot more growing to go, but the climbing iceberg rose in the corner has been the star performer. Given that the wall is North-facing and receives all day sun, the salvias have also done really well:

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Salvia ‘Waverly’

Trying to ignore the annual diascias (granted, this is difficult but I haven’t the heart to rip them out), I really like the combination of blue-ish pinks and mauves against the blue-grey wall:

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Soft pinks, whites, mauves and catastrophic colour clash!

The mauve Osteospermums are temporary – they live but a few years, but they more than adequately compensate by being in flower for 90% of the year.

The Achillea and Salvias at the front of the bed will provide a nice contrast floral and foliage to each other: at the moment they are not much to look at because the plants are still so small, but fingers crossed by next summer I will get the tubular flowers and spikes of the salvia floating above the ferny yarrow…..

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Achillea millefolium ‘Summer Pastels’

Again, like so much in my garden, the Achillea ‘Summer Pastels’ was a lucky dip purchase – i.e. mixed, so this combination was another happy coincidence. I could just as easily ended up with orange or terracotta and then, dear reader, there would have been no photos at all (!)

However, the real stand out lesson in this bed for me (apart from the fluroscent dianthus), are the two climbing iceberg roses. One was put in as a bare-rooted plant in mid-winter and the other as a pot grown plant in late winter.

The rose in the corner was put in as a $12.95 bare-rooted plant: you can see how small it was in the second photo. It has grown 6′ in five months.

Even though I wanted two of these, the supplier only had one left. Because I was impatient to get at least one bed planted up – especially at the front of the house, and against my better judgement, I bought a pot-grown specimen for $23.95 and has done almost nothing (it is the rose to the left of the third photo).

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So much growth

I guess I should have been patient and waited until this winter to get another bare-rooted rose, they really are the best way to establish roses. Even though still small, at least the flowers are lovely:

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Delicate white and pink

Happy Gardening 🙂

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27 thoughts on “Front Foundation Bed – Progress Shot

  1. I really like the contrast with the plants and the blue-gray wall ,too! We have a forest green background on part of our house-lol-not too much contrast against that at times! We have ivory stucco in the front which gives us a bit more contrast, so I understand that issue! A lady down the block repainted her home the same color as your blue-gray wall.It really looks nice on their home. She has lovely flowering plants in front.
    I put in the summer pastel yarrow, too:-) I put it in last year, so we shall see if it survives our below hot summer up front + below zero winters. Achellia millefolum does well in our soil here, but some of the newer cultivars may not:-) Always an adventure to see what survives. Your garden is filling in nicely + it always is a learning process:-)

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  2. Bare root roses are the best..looks great, a vast improvement. I had Yarrow for years and finally couldn’t cope with it anymore and got rid of it. With the wall color, I want to add some chartreuse. But, I am a chartreuse fanatic.

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    • Yarrows do seem to give some grief – especially if soils are quite rich – they put on a lot of leaves and then the flowers just flop all over the place. Apart from light, but moist soils, I think the trick is to ensure that they are constantly divided so that the plant puts on new foliage/flowers

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    • Thanks, I like the new wall colours as well. And yes, everything is the other way around on this side of the sphere, but it’s OK, as I do the same double-take with ‘south facing wall’ 🙂

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  3. One climbing Iceberg is enough for the space you have there, they grow very rapidly. train some stems horizontally against the wall and you’ll have vertical stems growing up from these almost immediately. I like the colours against the grey wall too.

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    • Thanks! I’m pleased with the series of blue colour bases. The larger of the Icebergs is going to mostly be trained to go up the veranda post and railings and the iceberg on the other side is the one that will be used more for the horizontal effect, but depending on how well the main one grows, I may end up moving the smaller one to other spots in the garden as I clear them and make room 🙂

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  4. Looking great! We both share a similar front entry – although yours is a much steeper incline. I had hoped building up my front bed foundation and elevating it quite a bit would shorten the distance, but I doubt I raised it high enough. The soil I brought in has already settled quite a bit & I can see at a glance more soil is needed. Although I have to contend with the drainage system height… and containment then becomes an issue. I didn’t want to use stacked stone, as it is used in other places in the yard. Nor did I want landscape timers or pavers… it’s a dilemma. I may have to accept the stacked stone option…I also now realize I could increase the width of the whole bed and pull it out further from the front of the house. There was so much construction traffic (and still is) that I didn’t consider this until now. Thanks for showing how well your bed is performing, it gives me ideas on what to try here. 🙂

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    • It’s always tricky to make the initial hardscaping call….my whole garden is going to end up as stacked stone – the four-five layers of stones in the front bed are a result of turning the soil in just that tiny area. The soil is just so rocky throughout the garden, and ultimately it ended up being a question of whether I used the copious amounts of materials that I unearthed on site or go to the (unnecessary) expense of taking it away and bringing new materials in. But as for making your proposed garden bed larger, I say, go for it!

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  5. it looks very nice Matt, I agree with you re bare root plants I find them much better, I get quite a bit of stone and have started using it for paths hoping one day to finish off with a cement layer, I had an iceberg rose once when I had a very small garden in the 1970s and it flowered all summer, they are beautiful roses, Frances

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    • The Icebergs are great. I know that more serious rose growers consider them a bit ho-hum, but for my money, they grow strongly, flower continuously and I don’t have to worry about them being over-run with diseases….

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  6. Matt, it’s great to see the progress you’ve achieved in a short time. Changing the base color of the foundation to blue-grey was a great idea. That neutral color will work with most anything. I like the iceberg roses–interesting confirmation of being patient. It’s so hard though sometimes.

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    • Thanks – I had to get rid of that awful mis-matched red brick, and everything else at the front of the house! I’ve still got to add all of the trim & millwork detailing around the veranda posts and window frames (that will finally give this boxy little house some architectural detail). I am with you about being impatient in the garden 🙂

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  7. I love the colour scheme you have chosen to look good with your grey wall. I have trouble with Achillea, I start off with lovely new colours and after a few years I am left with wishy- washy colours and a plant that is determined to colonise the whole garden. I love your Salvia. It seems funny to see summer days on your blog in the middle of a cold, miserable January.

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    • It’s odd, isn’t it? The best thing for me about seeing the opposite hemisphere’s plants in flower is that it reminds me of what I should get into the ground for the next season, which is usually perfectly timed (especially the autumn/spring periods).
      I’ve heard the Achillea wants to spread (and be the worse for it), so it will be interesting to see how it behaves in my garden. This is the first time in Australia that I’ve had a garden climate where you would consider herbaceous perennials as a main part of the scheme – most of Australia tends to have a very long growing season which either turns perennials into rampaging monsters or short-lived like a biennial, so I’ve always been a bit wary of them….

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  8. The bed has made great progress! I love the mix of colors. It was a stroke of good fortune that the Achillea bloomed with pink flowers. I’m often frustrated by the garden centers’ penchant for selling mixed colors – it seems that’s much more common here than selling single colors.

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    • Thanks Kris! I think the other Yarrow is going to be lemon yellow, so it will be a case of digging it up and hoping I get some more pinks in the other Yarrow pieces I dotted around the garden to replace it. But even if there is no luck, Yarrow is so easy to divide.
      Most of my plants come from on-line nurseries, but even then, the mixed bag of colours is still the cheapest 🙂

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  9. I love bare root plants, too, but sometimes a big pot full of lush growth is hard to resist. 🙂 I”m impressed with how much your other rose has grown! Have you thought about pulling out the bed to where the steps end and adding some tall perennials near the rose? The scale of larger plants would work well with the height of your steps. I’ve had mixed luck with yarrow. The newer hybrids want more water than the old standards.

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    • Thanks! Under the steps I have planted Hydrangea quercifolia, so that will definitely fill (even overfill) the 2.5m of space under the stairs which will definitely blur the lines of the staircase, which to mind, is an unattractive feature of the house. Then, that climbing rose will be trained upwards and along the veranda post, so the plants should fill out in that area quite nicely.
      Given how many people have had a hard time with Yarrow, I will keep an eye on it for the next few summers. We have high rainfall and light, nutrient-poor soil, so it should produce more flowers than foliage, but if it doesn’t, then I shall move it to a less conspicuous part of the garden 🙂

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