Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Front yard before and after

Here are some pictures of how my front yard has evolved.

Some of the plants that I thought to be indestructible are not doing too well in the intense heat and afternoon sun.

1. Duranta Cuban gold - just one day of no water and it starts to wilt. I must say that I am surprised and disappointed at the same time. All over South Florida you see duranta Cuban gold planted in the islands in roads, shopping centers etc. so I am at a lost for why my plants can't stand the sun and heat - maybe they are just too small still and will harden off ?
2. Euryops (african daisy), they are looking pretty dismal and dried out - this is also surprising, the bushes in my backyard are doing quite fine.

Plants that are loving it:

1. Aloe barberae
2. Aloe thraskii
2. Bouganvillea
3. Glory bush (Tibouchina urvilleana)
4. Mexican petunia (Ruellia)
5. Royal Dwarf Poincana - becoming a small tree in its own right !
6. Lemon grass
7. Sanchezia

Plants that are just making it:

1. Pentas - a couple of days of no water and they start wilting

If the cuban duranta doesn't make it, I am contemplating planting some Aloe arborescence in their place. I only have 2 plants so its clearly not enough, but over time it will grow into a shrub. The other alternative I am considering is dwarf crown of thorns - another South Florida stalwart.

August 19 2007

I was no longer happy with a blank front yard and decided to landscape it myself.

March 8 2009

Spent many weekends and hours after work to clear the large area of grass. I used the removed grass as mulch around my fig tree and its working great even up till now.
I bought a row of variegated liriope and pentas, the rest of the plants are self-grown from seed or cuttings (except Aloe barberae and Aloe thraskii).
Note how terrible the lawn looks after our record dry winter (since 1930).

April 16 2009

I mulched the entire bed with pine needles, I used 6 bales at a cost of $6.50 per bale. Much less than comparable wood mulch and environmentally friendly as its sustainable / renewable and doesn't harm the forests.

May 31 2009

I planted the horse radish tree in the front.

August 5 2009

The tree in the front is a horse radish tree, grown from seed, less than 1 year old !

I am sometimes wondering if it was a good idea to plant the horse radish tree at the front, but when I see the shade its starting to create I hope it will shield the plantings from the unbearable afternoon sun and create some shade where we can sit and watch our children play in the cull-De-sac. I plan to limb up ( remove the lower limbs) in order to make it less dense in the near future.

Its almost big enough to start harvesting leaves for salads / cooking. The leaves have a slight peppery taste. I'll report later how palatable they are used as food.


  1. Beautiful! Your horseradish tree has grown amazingly fast. The foliage looks fabulous and I bet it won't be long before it offers the shade you're hoping for. You did a great job on this design. Fun.

  2. Yes, I am surprised by the horseradish tree, it is truly beautiful, my neighbours constantly tell me how beautiful it is with the foliage and white orchid-like flowers.

    Thanks for the compliment about the design.