Sunday, May 17, 2009

Progress Report

Hard to believe it's been just over a month since I started this blog. Somehow it seems like much longer. I went back today to look at the goals I shared in the beginning and thought you would want a progress report.

1) The purple river. Overall, I am pleased with how this is coming, but it will be the middle of the summer before we will be able to see it all and next year before it will be really pretty - such is the reality of the garden. The salvia 'May Night' that I planted last fall are looking really good (center back and far right back), as are the geraniums (left front). The hydrangea has buds, but will not bloom until mid-to-late June, so it will look better later. The new perennials I added this spring are growing - well, some of them - and will hopefully look better as they get larger. It appears that fewer than half of the bulbs I planted last month are coming up. Perhaps the rest are just slow, but I fear they are not going to make it. I hadn't used this nursery before, so doubt that I will use them again.

I need to continue to work on this area. I need to look at different shades of purple, as well as different heights and textures to make it more interesting. I have seen some small iris in the neighborhood that are very dark in color. I need to see if I can barter for some to add both height and contrast. When the aquilegia [columbine] spreads that will help, too, since they are quite dark.

2) Planting around the pond: I haven't done much, but it does look better anyway. The ground covers I planted last fall have spread, as has the yarrow and the large clump of daylilies at the far right edge of the pond [see below]. These are a locally propagated lily 'Richmond Spider' that is considered "red". You will see later in the summer that it's in the orange family, but definitely to the red end of the spectrum. I added several verbinas [Homestead Purple and an annual variety] and cut back the buddelia. The latter has really filled out and thickened up. It should be pretty when it blooms. In the pond itself, the iris have about doubled in size, so hopefully will provide more blooms this year. I also added a varigated water parsley. The varigation is both cream and pink. The water lilies are getting ready to bloom and are already as full as they got last year over the whole summer. The pond is a perfect example of how well benign neglect works in the garden.

3) The shrub rose is long gone and replaced by an Emerald Arborvitae. I love the height it brings to back of the border.

4) The raised area in the corner. I planted a new clematis on the wrought iron gate (center of photo, it's not up enough to see), but that's all I've added. I didn't really have a plan for this area, but as I look at it now perhaps it planned itself. The shrubs are going well and provide a background for that end of the garden; we pruned out all the dead branches of the weigelia and trimmed back the flowering almonds this spring. They are all full grown now and all blossomed well this year.

The pink iris were pretty, but looked skimpy. I think when the clematis matures a bit (two years) and I add a few more iris, it will look fine. When I get iris for the river, I will get extras to put here to pull the two areas together color-wise. There is an amsonia to the right that I have pulled out twice, but keeps coming back. I think I will maintain that strategy to keep it small. [This is a plant that was way bigger than advertised and I have to really keep working to keep it small. It's gorgeous in the fall when it turns gold - really ! - and pretty now with pale blue blooms, but it's branchy and grows too fast for me.] In the far left you can just see a tall planter. It has a mini-rose bush that was a birthday gift a couple of years ago and blooms almost non-stop all summer.

5) The seating area by the pond is just great. We use it nearly every evening when we feed the fish. It's a great place to relax at the end of the day. Mitchell found two small tables - just in case someone needs a place to put a glass... or a cereal bowl. It's one of my favorite places to sit early in the morning to think or read. Right now the fragrance of the peonies makes it especially nice, but I think that even when all the flowers are gone the foliage will continue to provide a nice shady nook for us to enjoy.

So, in only a month two goals are completely met and three well under way. And the big project - which is not even on the list - is also well underway. I don't think of myself as a goal-setting person, but maybe I am. I saw these more as projects I wanted to complete this summer, and not as high-faluting as "goals".

Maybe that is a lesson for life; that goals don't have to be lofty. They can be little projects that we want to accomplish.

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