Last year, my front garden was killed and reborn. I was the accomplice in the murder and the midwife in the rebirth. It's been scary, exciting, inspiring, and educational, and it's not over yet. A garden is never finished. Soooo, here's the BEFORE story.
Mr. Mouse and I moved into this house a few years ago, and inherited a lush landscape. Cycads, a palm tree, tree ferns, Loropetalum (Chinese fringe bush), Phormium (New Zealand flax) and blue hibiscus made a pretty picture.
The big problem was our water usage. We tried diligently to be conscientious. But those plants needed moderate to regular water. Our water usage was...embarrassing. I don't even want to admit to the numbers. Let's just say summer usage was up to five times winter usage. Each year we hoped to do better, and the natives in the back helped. But it just wasn't enough.
At the same time, we both became more and more interested in the biodiversity aspects of natives. We did some reading. I took some classes. We talked. The drought got worse. It was time to start over.
Mr. Mouse was actually ready to petition the city for removal of the Liquidambar city tree that stands in the middle of the yard. But the city arborist told me this mature tree can get by without summer water. It seemed kinder to leave the tree for humans and birds to enjoy than to kill and replace. After I saw the goldfinches do acrobatics on the seedpods in winter, and many other birds enjoy its shelter, I'm glad the tree is still there. While the prickly "hedgehogs" are annoying, the fall color is spectacular.
But the palm tree, the cycads, and everything else had to go. Still loathe to just compost it all, I found out about Tree Movers, a large tree nursery that salvages trees if they're in good shape and easily accessible. They get free trees, you get free removal. They tagged the palm, the cycads, and a few yuccas...
...and then the big day came. Four men arrived with a flatbed the length of the yard and some other heavy machinery, and the next time I looked outside, the yuccas were in the air. I left to get groceries, and when I returned, everything was neatly cut out and on the truck. Here's the picture (remember, the palm tree was almost as big as the two-story house...)
The cycads left as well, to be sold as field grown to someone thisting for a thirsty plant...While we were ready for the landscaper. But first, I'll need to explain the design process and the plants I picked, and I'll do so as soon as I figure out how to scan the plan...