An Early Look at Some (Potential) Priority Projects - January 2023

This post is laden with caveats.  Potential, Early, Initial.  I'm thinking of this as a sort of mental workshop via blog post writing and publishing.  What better way to force ones self to begin to identify, list and rank priorities than to run through some of the potential options.  
Priorities?  Yeah...I've done this a few years now - in an attempt to reign myself in when it comes to buying and placing plants.  Starting back in Winter of 2020, I started to write about some 'priority areas' that I knew I wanted to address and those 'areas' ended up being one of the KEY INPUTS (and often the first few items) on my annual Yard and Garden To-Do list.  

Having recently published my 2022 'scorecard', I want to think about where we go in 2023. 

Again...I'm going to re-caveat this whole thing:  this is a workshop post.  Just spit-ballin' things here.  It will be messy, but I think it will be helpful.  What this isn't is a full exploration into each of the 'areas', but rather an inventory of the options.  There are other considerations that might be involved - like the 'order of operations' idea - whereby one area or item sort-of 'unlocks' other items.  But, the sequencing of those moves is important.  

Last year, I had a clear #1:  shrubs.  And I paid it off.  

I also recognize that I typically FORGET some of the late-season planting moves that I made the previous Fall, so it is worthwhile (for me) to run through some of the Fall garden diary archives.  For instance...I posted about this timber retaining wallYanked out an ill-placed Viburnum from the front porch bedsTransplanted an ornamental grass by one of the back gates.  Planted an Elderberry shrub that feels Japanese-inspired.  Removed the (in-decline) Norway Maple, planted a new Triumph Elm tree and had to (temporarily) relocate a Boxwood up there.   Stuck a lime-green evergreen in under the Hornbeams. And a Yew back by the firepitDivided and moved a series of grasses IB2DWs.  Divided and moved a bunch of things like alliums, ferns and various hostasPlanted some tall Allium hosta bulbs in the front,  Ajuga groundcover in a few places, and a good-sized silver-leaved Heuchera. I also went all-in on Autumn Ferns, planting 18 tiny ones

ALL OF THAT happened in October and November and feels like a mix of opportunistic moves and well-intentioned plantings.

Having reviewed everything, where do I start with my list-building of some potential high-priority items?  My mind naturally wanders to the front yard.  What are some spots to think through?   It starts with this area in the photo below:

Front Yard Potential Priority Areas
Sideyard Potential Priority Areas
  • The screened porch retaining wall/walkway.  This is an - 'of course', right?  It has been on my list for years. 
  • Southside Gate Landing. Another holdover from last year that didn't get done.  If I broaden the aperture a bit here, I think we can start to think about what the entire STRIP on the southside looks like.  Currently, it is a thin mulch bed around the house foundation and a narrow strip of grass to my property line.  If we were going to have a 'cut flower garden', this is the spot. 
Backyard Potential Priority Areas
  • Either side of the back stoop.  Might be time to call the rhododendrons on either side of the stoop a failure.  Those small, square beds need something special.  
  • Far back in front of AND behind Yews.  Dig up and transplant EVERY.SINGLE Ostrich Fern from the yard and move back here to begin to allow them to naturalize the area.  Plant some trees, too.  Maybe Birches?!?  Think about the layers with the yews.  Maybe expand the bed, move the ferns out and plant a mid-border flowering shrub or ornamental grass in between the Yews and Autumn Ferns. Add Viburnum and Build a more permanent Fairy Garden back there, too.
  • Curved Border by Kitchen.  This has been empty since the bed was carved.  
  • Under the Oak.  Again...where the Tardivas belong.  Upright evergreens, please.
  • Feet of the Lindens.  Expand the beds and layer shrubs and perennials.
  • Feet of the Hornbeams.  Expand the beds and layer shrubs and perennials.  
  • Under the Catalpas.  Keep adding Hellebores.  And Epimedium
  • Firepit area.  Privacy, lighting and plantings.  All are needed.   Also, adding another Japanese Maple.  
  • More landscape lighting.  That means...finishing the Disney Parks-inspired twinkle lights.  Add more up and back lights in the yard, too.  
  • Compost bins.  I have my two-bins-plus-a-tumbler system.  Maybe a third bin and turning properly?
What's that come out to (so far)?

3 Front Yard
2 Sideyard
20 Backyard 

15 total to work from. go explore each of them and figure out how to rank them (after #1...the front porch bed).


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