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in Wildlife gardening
I do worry about the vanishing front garden, it seems the passion for gardening is dying and being replaced with gravel, mounds and mounds of the stuff. Around here 95% of front gardens have being paved or gravelled. The big front lawns of houses are disappearing even thou they have big drives .I can understand small gardens and where you need off road parking but this is more than that. It strikes me as a lazy mans answer to not mowing the lawn but begs the question why buy a house with big garden if your going to concrete it over ?have we a love for hard core gravel more than grass? I have thou one ray of hope thou, its not one of manicured lawns but of a wild life return as the weeds pop up amongst the gravel and the bushes over grow with brambles showing their fruit and I saw some lovely rose hips in a un loved garden a feast for the birds .I have seen some delightful small front gardens with displays of flowers and shrubs although no lawn but they are but a few amongst disappearing gardens.
Rose, my front is lawn, or should I say green stuff, the boundry to the road is a beech hedge. It doesn't get much sun, but in time I will plant some things.
My previous house had a nice front garden, if small. I took a lot of ideas from "More front gardens" a book by Gaye Search..I think. I've just been to check and I don't seem to have it anymore.
I think it's sad all the hard standing at the front of houses, but can understand some people's need for it.
I will follow this thread, will be interested what people say.
Dear FW, I am a very keen observer of front gardens; what I have noticed in London areas, as they get more 'gentrified' and are too small to park anything but a motorbike, they are changing from a scrubby lawn and a sad hydrangea to lovely tiles up the front path, a neat place for the bins, yes a bit of gravel, hopefully with weed suppressing membrane underneath, and a focal plant in the centre, sometimes with planting around the edge. They are looking very good. Where I live in the Fens, 13 years ago when I moved here, the front gardens were a boring bit of grass, but over the years, with the help of Wisbech plant Auctions things have changed and virtually every front garden is looking good. Often where a front garden is neglected, there is a very old person living there who could do with some offers of help
Personally, it's the amount of hard standing (block paving, concrete, slabbing etc.) which I see as problematic. None of those allow surface water to be absorbed into the ground so aggravating surface flooding which is becoming more and more of a problem in urban areas.
In our village we are not allowed to pave over the entire front garden, but leave borders or some part unpaved because of the risk of flooding etc. Fortunately only a few gardens have paving/brick etc, most are proper front gardens with lawns and flowers. I love to walk round the village and see all the displays summer brings.
Hi Flowering Rose
yes it is a concern. Where I live (in London) a lot of front gardens are now drives - understandable with parking being so scarce and/or expensive, I guess. But also there are a lot of neglected gardens. It breaks my heart when I know that there are so many people out there who would love a garden.
I live in the "garden flat" of a converted house. I've always had a back garden, but until three years ago, the front garden consisted of a big lime tree and one border full of overgrown "car park" shrubs. The rest was concreted over. I decided to chop down the hideous shrubs and replant the one border, and my neighbour asked whether I would plant up the rest if he dug up the concrete. I asked him to buy a ton of topsoil as well and planted it up, using the entire contents of my compost bins, cuttings, divisions and plants grown from seed, plus some impulse buys that had never thrived in the back garden. I made a lawn from "mind your own business" - I wanted a patch of green but no mowing.
Now it looks like it has always been there, and I've met so many neighbours who have stopped to talk to me about it and are really pleased to see a garden - I'd lived here ten years without speaking to any of them! Passers-by often stop to have a chat about what is growing, or what I am doing in the garden. So front gardens bring neighbours together!
It is alive with bees and hoverflies in the summer and this Autumn, the spiders and harvestmen were much in evidence. There are all types of funghi springing up, enjoying the leaf mould that the lime tree generates.
I've added bulbs of various types. The plants are all well-established and many are self-seeding - I am hoping for drifts of cyclamen eventually and the anemones and fritillaria should also spread. There is something in flower virtually every day of the year, although at the moment it's the foliage that steals the show. So much nicer to look at that what was there before.
I'm so glad we did it!
Well done GG! Interesting about the neighbours now talking - just goes to show that seeing a bit of nature is good for human's social psychology.
I think that some people are loathe to 'garden' in the front in case they have to talk to their neighbours!!!
I love my front garden
The back garden is where the soil is better, where I plant my gems, where it's more private.
However, the front garden is what I see when I arrive, what others see. ,it's the "display" isn't it? But I don't have parking issues
In a small cul de sac, etc., where parking is essential and space is limited I think front gardens are not practical. often a family has 2 cars or more and there just isn't the room for all of them. If the front gardens were removed people could park more easily and with less aggro
What a lovely tale Ginglygangly.
And a very good point Dove.
When we do anything in our front, be it grass cutting or hedge trimming, car washing, or windows, it takes twice as long as we get an audience...usually people who are out for a walk and our gate is a good resting place. I don't mind, so long as I'm not looking a total scruff. H seems to enjoy the chat and reports back with all sorts of gossip and advice about "how to" do the job.
My front garden is mostly driveway, which is a bit pointless as neither OH or I drive, but I do find it comes in handy for visitors who don't have to park in the street.
While it is my window to the street, it is the last place I think about - there is little care taken to any of the front gardens near me and it is difficult to focus on the front when there is still so much to do out the back (That said, I do need to hack at my Quince and finish pruning my forsythia!) It also requires a litter pick every week as it gathers rubbish like it's going out of fashion!
On a positive note, all our houses are painted different colours which brings variety to the street. On her first visit my SIL said I live in Balamory! Not to everyone's taste but I like it
I know what Verd suggests make sense, but in a lot of new developments where I live they have no front gardens and the roads become chocca block with parked cars
A few years back, well I say a few! 2008 to be honest!
Time fly's when you are not consciously watching it!
My "Old Dear" God rest her soul, was an avid gardener! As was the old man, under direct supervision! of course!
There front garden was outstanding! Had everything! Lush lawns, lovely deep herbaceous border's, filled with every plant n flower possible, wildlife pond, climbers, shady bed! The works!
Did have pictures, but when I moved back to Mum's when diagnosed "Termanally I'll" some "Sick F@@k" decided it would be a good idea to lob a large brick through the French doors n help themselves to the laptop! and so went with it a lot fond, recorded memories! Picture's, and some of Mum's classic recipes!
Anyway! I diverse!
Back to topic in mind!
Since the the passing of both Mum n Dad! Property sold! The new owners first thing was to rip out the guts of it n path the lot for parking!
What a waste! If I would have foresite! I would have dug up n brought most plants home!
You live n learn!
Why would you destroy a garden?
I've only a small front garden which is in shade for all but the last few hours of sun in the summer so gravelled it over leaving a few shrubs and one border which has bluebells in.
If I have one regret, wish there were more shade loving evergreen shrubs growing for Winter colour as the back garden is only ever seen at weekends in the Winter.
Most of the gardens on my road aren't gravelled or paved, they're too small for parking which gives an idea of size and some have trees growing in them, all be it small ones.
I think front gardens are really understimated now and prefer to see one's which aren't paved over. I often drive along the front at Lytham St Annes and see some fabulous front gardens, few are paved and it must be one of the most inhospitable places to grow stuff, 1/3 of the year it seems, storms and high winds blow sand and salt over everything, the roads can be covered.
We compromised, as we needed to park 2 cars off our quite narrow lane, so crazy- paved part of the front garden, retaining a curved lawn. We have a weeping birch and a malus planted in the lawn and a number of pots on and around the porch, some with permanent plants (pieris, heucheras) a hanging basket currently with grasses, ivy and cyclamens, a large Norway spruce in a huge pot, which comes inside at Christmas, but no flower beds. I am in the process of deciding what climbers to plant in very large pots to grow up the trellis - probably clematis. I quite like the front of the house and the door is painted a rather attractive pale blue. We get lots of walkers passing by, many of whom stop to chat.
Kef, if you don't manage to find your book it is available for purchase from Amazon
Hi G G
I planted the communal garden where i live with perennials, shrubs and bulbs to benefit wild life.
it is in the centre of town and i do as much chatting as gardening.
I find it good for the figure and the soul, i just love being outside close to nature!
I guess I'm lucky in that the whole of my garden is sideways onto the pavement, so wherever I'm working in the garden, passersby can stop and chat. I love it!
I think that it is great to have a front garden even if it is just a small one. It is on the side of the house that everyone sees when they go past and adds colour.