The front yard was an area that I kept ignoring, but really needed some shaping up. Besides being busy with the veggie garden and back yard, the reason I was holding out is because I really wasn't sure what to do about the front. Did I want to build it up? Did I want to plant more? Should I get rid of the hydrangea? The front segment just looked unbalance and had different needs - blistering sun on the south side and cool shade on the front side.
Before: Our meager little shrubs last spring '08. From left to right is my peony, a rhododendron (center) and hydrangea (that came with the house) and a new weeping cherry blossom tree.
After: I moved the Rhododendron over to the left about 2 feet and turned it 90 degrees, so it would grow more attractively. Doesn't it look like a totally new plant!?
I asked my neighbors who told me that the Rho had been there at least 6 years and hasn't grown one bit! So I did some reading online about how to care for Rhos and read they needed a shot of fertilizer in the spring, moist soil, natural compost such as leaves, and in extremely poor cases some strategic pruning. This spring I did give it some flower food pellets and noticed the Rho grew at least a foot! I also pruned 2-3 branches back that were growing funny.
Before I moved it, I filled the hole with lots of leaves and tree bark that I gathered from the lawn. Carefully I moved the entire Rho with the root ball intact into the hole and back filled it with very rich humus from the nursery.
Always water thoroughly. I made a "well" around the base and slowly poured 2 buckets of water into the area. Then I mulched over it.
To the left of the cherry blossom tree, I divided a large hosta into 5 smaller bunches. The area there was always a bit of a mess due to the run off and it's all shade now that the tree is there. The hosta will hopefully hold the soil down when it rains hard and it's a good spot for the hosta too.