What Was Already Here: Front Yard

The front yard holds a large pine in a corner of the lot near the road, an ancient azalea under the living room window, and three small, newer azaleas in front of the porch. There is an overgrown holly at the corner by the sun porch. In addition, there is half an old stump in need of removal (the rest of it conveniently rotted away, but what’s left is solid and hard) and millions of either field onions or field garlic poking up through the grass. They are there year-round and the only time they have not been visible was due to 8″ of snow. The Pine was being strangled by vines. My nephew and I girdled them, leaving as much bark as possible. While some lower limbs were already affected, it looks as though the rest of the tree may recover. Here it is during a recent snow (the unwanted stump is in the foreground):

tree in snow

And here is The Holly, with the Aucuba on the right (more on the Aucuba in the What Was Already Here: Side Yard post, not yet published):


The Old Azalea was covered with tiny blossoms last spring. I could barely see any green leaves. I need advice on how to prune it so it can be at its healthiest. Here it is, first in mid-April, then mid-summer, blossoms long gone, and at risk from roofers:

  azalea and geraniums    azalea during roofing

The Three Small Azaleas have larger flowers. When I bought the house, they were in front of the dining room and were scraggly. When the roofers dropped a full load of shingles onto their neighboring rhododendron, killing it, I moved the azaleas to in front of the porch. (By the way, I use “porch” reservedly, since it’s little more than a stoop and not in keeping with the scale of the house.) I transplanted some bulbs from the corner of the back yard to the bed around the azaleas. Here are the three little pigs late last fall and now in mid-spring (fighting with volunteer plants for their place in the sun, blossoms on all three and all three need knowledgeable pruning later):

stoop and azaleas2front stoop azaleas2

The Stump was once a holly of some kind, overgrown with three kinds of vine and a couple of volunteer “junk” trees, making an island in the front yard. Here is the island as it was after I had tackled it a couple of times:

holly island

Here is The Stump, which has resisted my uprooting efforts thus far:


Whether I have Wild Garlic or Onions in my yard has yet to be determined. They are invasive. I have dug and dug and apparently never have managed to clear even one three-foot spot. They are darker than the lawn grass in summer and are particularly visible in winter, when the grass turns light tan, making the lawn look shabby. I have cooked with them and put them into salads, but nobody, in my opinion should be blessed with as many of them as I have. I will post a piece on my no-harsh-chemicals philosophy soon; it will apply to these problem plants as well as other considerations. Go ahead — feast your eyes on the little buggers:

Realtor shot that got me interested.       Close-up:     wild onion garlic

Finally, a shot across the front lawn in late winter from the other side of the alley, and the location of the erstwhile brick walkway, in early autumn. The bricks were subsequently dug up and piled to the right of the walkway’s path:

from alley    1905_front_walk


2 thoughts on “What Was Already Here: Front Yard

  1. I’m so glad to hear you cooked with your field onions/garlic. 🙂 I do that too because I’ve got tons in my yard. Every spring I harvest the yard, chop them up and freeze them or dehydrate them. Nothing like free food!


    1. I’m glad you stopped by! Yes, we love stinky cheese and stinky breath in this house! 🙂 Some wild onions will go into tomorrow’s chowder. Last spring, I pulled, chopped and froze a bumper crop of them and then my freezer died. Fortunately, my nephew and brother-in-law resurrected it, but not in time to save the bounty. It is much healthier, now, and I hope to have a full year’s worth processed by the weekend.


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