how we got to now


When we moved in, 8 years ago the house looked exactly like this… Then we lost one of the aspens and another. Shade became scarce and eventually I knew we had to start over.

Ridiculously red

This is my favorite picture of our house, if the trees had stayed put I think I might never had any inclination to become such an avid plants person.

Before we get to the truly ugly after photos (this is a weird post where the before/after is turned on its head) here is another Zinnia frenzied view.

September 2014

After losing the trees I was anxious to replace them as soon as possible, but nearly at the same time our neighbors cut an incredibly large specimen in their own backyard and we were  instantly gifted an incredible view of the Wasatch Front from out kitchen window. Blocking it was just as instantly vetoed. I had decisions to make and they involved starting over and while I was at it removing the grass by the right foundation plantings.

new waterwise foundation plantings in November 2015
new waterwise foundation plantings in November 2015

This entire area was xeriscaped, and although most plants are small right now by next spring/summer they should hopefully be large enough to create a cohesive whole. Where the warty pumpkin stands, on the stump of the more recently departed Aspen I would like to display a large clay urn. Eventually the Maiden Grass (miscanthus gracillimus) will fill in at the back and create a backdrop for some Russian sages, black eyed Susans and the Iceberg rose.

Blue Oat Grass replaces the large Oregon grape bush
Blue Oat Grass replaces the large Oregon grape bush

I have added Blue Oat grass and Idaho fescue all over both foundation plantings to bring blue/grey notes to echo the new spruces. Every plant with the exclusion of the existing Japanese Maple is waterwise.

November 2015

The front lawn will get attacked next, with a 4 to 8 feet of grass removed from around its perimeter. This planting of Gaura and Karl Foester I encountered this summer in front of the visitor center of the American war cemetery in Normandy struck me as perfect.


I am planning on using these two plants together with some sedums along the path that leads to the front door. On the street side however I would like to add some short to medium sized trees. My heart is spit between Hot Wings maples (Acer tataricum) or Golden Raindrops crab apples mixed with dwarf evergreens such as grow low sumacs. I think the maples might be more waterwise but the Malus provides food for the birds…


golden raindrops crabapple
golden raindrops crabapple at Red Butte in spring 2015 and fall 2015

One thought on “how we got to now

  1. […] Ollas… nice looking clay pots you pay a lot for and then proceed to burry to the hilt in dry parts of your garden to irrigate a few plant efficiently. Ollas, I need you, but I refuse to dig you out in the winter… what to do… what to do?  I think I will do a test run for the  hellstrip along our detached garage with two clay pots joined together at the rim with calk such as those. […]


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