Saturday, June 4, 2011

Wednesday* Workday

You know how it is with an evolving garden.

You have a plan - at least in your mind. [In my waaay too anal-retentive way, it is actually on paper, too, but at least most of it is written in pencil, not ink.] You try something and you like it. You try something else and you don't like it so much. You plant something that you know fills in fast - either as a place holder until you decide on something else - or to fill a large space. You plant the "wrong" plant and it works out well.... or it doesn't. Or, all of the above.

Case in point.
This nearly circular garden is one of the first things that I did when we enlarged from a rectangle in the back yard to the first real "garden". This birdbath came from Mitchell's mother's yard and I wanted it to be a focal point.

In this early April photo the daffodils are fading (Tete a Tete minis) and you can just see that behind the daffs all the way back to the walkway is filled - and I do mean filled - with mondo grass. What have not made their appearance this early in the season are the calla lilies that also ring the birdbath. The apparently empty area in front of the daffs is actually planted with ranunculus bulbs that I put in early this spring.

By last week, this area looked like this:
Ah ha! The mondo was the right plant at the time, but but instead of the well-contained "ring" around the birdbath that I had envisioned, it became a bully and is now choking out the more desirable callas that are struggling to come up thru all the mondo. Goodness knows what the callas are doing for water with the thicket of roots surrounding them.

Last weekend I decided that the time had come for the mondo grass to go. Several hours on hands and knees later and several buckets of vegetation added to my compost pile and it looks more like this.

Added some mini-dalias in pink and white (the callas are a clear pink and the ranunculus are a mixture that is heavy on pink and white - I hope) a big bag of mulch, and re-sited the gazing ball. Voila! this is more what I had in mind all those years ago.

*Yes, I know it's Saturday. You do what you have time to do!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's so Hot...

that I am thinking of flora from farther southwest.

Like out yucca. Mitchell loves yucca so we put in two several years ago [Yucca filamentosa 'Color Guard']. It has a pretty variegated leaf and provides just the pop of white that the first hot days of June demand.

The other plant has a reddish tinge to the newest leaves, but seems to be struggling and didn't bloom this year.

Around the corner from the Jazzercise studio there is a wonderful corner that is completely filled with cactus. Most years it has a lot of flowers, but this year it is gorgeous! It's completely covered with yellow blossoms. Makes the trip to dance even more enjoyable.

Somehow that didn't make me feel any cooler, tho. Happy Monday!

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Memorial Garden

Usually on Memorial Day I thank as many of the vets in my life as I can remember for their service, and today I am no less thankful than other years.

I am spreading my thoughts farther afield this year to our parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends, spouses, and - God forbid - our children who have died, leaving holes in our lives. I've always seen life as a sort of tapestry that we weave day by day - adding and subtracting as our lives change. The people and events are woven in, but change over time, as our tapestry brings warmth to the walls of our castle. Simplistic, perhaps, but it works for me. [Or did I mix up the story of Homer's wife somehow - weaving and reweaving?]

Another thing that works for me is memory plants in my garden. It started when Dad died several years ago. That spring I planted a mahonia. He had loved them and had several in his yard. Every time we visited he offered me a "baby" that I always declined. Then when he was dead, I suddenly found myself thinking of him and planting the mahonia. That same spring the mother of my childhood BFF died and I planted the Miss Kim lilac in her memory. She had done a lovely watercolor for us as a wedding gift - of lilacs. Somehow it seemed like the thing to do. Then I realized that one of the first things I put in this garden was a miniature rose from my Aunt's yard. And, voila! I had a memory garden.

I am very lucky that there are so few plants in my garden. Last fall when Mother died my tennis teammates gave me a lovely pink sasanqua that I added and next weekend I will plant a yellow/white rose (a Knock Out) in memory of her husband Ralph. He knew horses, not plants, but was always willing to help in her greenhouse. Ralph was the kind of guy who thought that if watering weekly was good, then watering daily must be seven times as good! But, he had the most sunny disposition I have ever known and I think this rose will be a great reminder. There are a few other people for whom I wish to plant a reminder as soon as I decide on the right choice.

Just as the the flowers in one's garden bring joy to the day, visiting specific plants that remind me of a loved one can bring the wholeness of the garden tapestry into my heart. On Memorial Day I think I will visit my friends and family ... outside. Love to you all.