Corner Makeover: Before and One Year Later


Readers may have noticed I’m an obsessive-compulsive garden-maker, not happy with making and tending just the townhouse garden I now own.  I showed you one example recently – the town center garden I adopted in May of this year. Boy, did it need some love.

Next up, another highly visible bit of city-owned land that looked even worse. So bad, in fact, that I couldn’t resist the temptation to transform it, with donated plants and at least a year of hard labor. I went to sleep dreaming about before/after photo montages, and now I have some!

Above, a streetside view of the jungle as it looked last summer. Less visible in this shot are the fallen branches being covered by an assortment of thuggish vines. Poison ivy was rampant throughout.

But voila! This year it’s starting to look like a garden, and seen from a distance or from moving cars, gardens had better have color, right? For that I planted daffodils and Rudbeckia, our state flower, and left some of the existing Daylilies. Large sedges and ornamental grasses are filling out nicely.

Not looking like much yet but destined for greatness here are some flowering shrubs, a central feature in this Low-Maintenance Demonstration Garden. In the shot above you see an ‘Ogon’ Spirea, perhaps my favorite of all the Spireas, its chartreuse leaves creating a focal point from very early to very late season. Smaller and less noticeable this year are a Weigela and a Ninebark, and I’ll be adding more of them this fall, thanks to give-aways from a trial-garden visit.

Far left in this pano shot you see the weed shrubs that used to impede driver visibility.

See, better!

Another perennials I planted here en masse is this unidentified Sedum. Its blooms are now transitioning from a cream to a pinkish cream, and either way, they’re almost invisible to the eye. Especially if the eye is passing by in a car.

I’ll be replacing them with more Rudbeckias and maybe some Garden Phlox – anything that’s more colorful than these insipid-looking things and that I can find for free in sufficient quantity.

Anyone know which Sedum it is?

The Dangers of Clearing Brush 

Last October, as I was clearing the bulk of the mess, I disturbed a ground nest of some tiny insects that I never did see but that collectively stung me eight times. Particularly painful stings, I might add. Since that traumatic event I’m still nervous about digging and yanking in the area, though gradually less so.

Of course I also contracted poison ivy a couple of times, since my efforts at prevention weren’t exactly stringent. But I’ll take PI any day over swarms of angry bees and the poison they inject into my bare skin and through two layers of clothes, no less. Horrors!


  1. It sounds like your sedum could be S. Spectsbilis “Stardust”. It starts out white & transitions to a pink shade.

    The corner looks great!

  2. What a generous and gentle gift to your community! I feel inspired to look around and find a neglected corner I could make beautiful, too. Thank you!

  3. Hi Susan, your results look good. This little corner has been changed by you and becomes eye-catching.

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