My Great Outdoors: Susie's Brand New Front Gardens

My Great Outdoors: Susie's Brand New Front Gardens

Susie Nadler
Jun 5, 2009

Name: Susie

Location: San Francisco, CA

Type of space: Garden in front of our house and "community" garden next door

Tell us about your outdoor project and how you enjoy it: Just this spring, my husband and I did an overhaul of our little front garden (pictured above), as well as the beautiful patch of city-owned land just north of our house on the corner. (Photos of the community garden begin with the fourth thumbnail above.) For decades, our neighbor, Edith, has tended the public garden, but she's in her nineties now and it's become too big a project.

She asked for our help, so we agreed to re-plant the garden with lots of interesting texture, rare palm specimens, and some poppies thrown in for color (they're just on the verge of blooming now!). The public garden's in full view of our kitchen and living room windows, so we enjoy it all the time—while chopping veggies, relaxing with friends. And our little slice of a front garden, with its cute pygmy date palm and parade of ceanothus, welcomes me whenever I come home.

How did you create it?: Both gardens are definitely works-in-progress! You can see the plants have a lot of room to fill in (that's code for "empty patches of dirt"), and some of the plants are still getting used to their new environment. Since my husband's in the plant business (he's co-owner of Flora Grubb Gardens), we had a lot of fun, of course, picking out the plants. He's a palm nerd, so he was dying to put some rare specimens in the ground. But I love color, too, and flowers for cutting, so we compromised on a flat of poppies that should provide great bouquets this summer. Primarily we chose plants that don't need tons of water and are low-maintenance, especially for the public garden. In our front garden, we've got drip irrigation, which cuts down on water usage as well.

Recommended store, site, product or resource? Flora Grubb Gardens, of course... we love Strybing Arboretum for inspiration, too. Some of our rare palms came from their plant sales. Ground Cover Landscaping and Botanika are two favorite companies staffed with very talented gardeners who helped make these gardens happen.

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