Monday, June 21, 2010
Posted by Gin
My garden does not make sense. I plant perennials too close together, because I don't always trust time. The next season, I get mad when they elbow each other. I prune when I should sit on my hands and sit on my hands when I should prune. I alternate where I should mass, and I plant penstemons where they will stretch and flop for the south leaning sun.
I argued for depaving and doubled our permeable "land" a few years ago. I've got lots of nice pictures and memories of the back yard. Still, I never did get around to watering the astilbes until last summer. Finally, I am seeing some blooms. . . .on one of them.
When I think about how interested I am in gardening, and how many resources I have for gardening, and how much I think about our little plot o land and how many talented tenders o land I know, I think my garden should be further along. The problem is that when I have a chance to got outside, I just poke around. I have a big conceptual picture (such as a tall, colorful, undulating linear prairie type garden along the east fence we share with the Head Start), but no real strategy for implementing it.
Coming home in mid-June, I am confronted with the fact that I have few perennials that bloom in early summer, and that once again we will loose this year's apples. The front and back are lush with weeds. A few blue purple tips of sage, some straggling blue columbine flowers, and dozens of rose hips make me wish I had pictures from spring. The pic above is from late in June last year; this year, the rose and penstemon must have bloomed much earlier.
While gone, I was surprised by how little I stressed out about the building or the garden. What will be will be. But as our return approached , I did start getting anxious--more about the garden than the home.
Thankfully, Karen--who rocks her garden, and who has given me many plants that thrive despite my willy nilly approach--did some work in our yard during a spring heat snap when we were still out of town. Her report prepared me for the weeds, but also affirmed that other plants were doing their thing.
Last year, I dismantled much of our back garden in an effort to fight the rats. I relocated many of my happy perennials, including a lot of coneflowers, from the west side of the yard to the east, in soil I have been carefully amending for a few years. But one of our tenants accidentally planted a cover crop there last fall, not aware of my relocation efforts.
I came home to a lovely sweep of rye (?) shading and asphyxiating the coneflower transplants and many other plants I had forgotten about, including raspberry canes from Karen. In the front yard, violets have swallowed the coral bells I transplanted (more rat refugees) and the hydrangeas I bought with a gift certificate from my mom.
Today my dad helped me weed while I pulled out the cover crop. I found that many plants survived, probably thrived, with my six months of neglect. But the coneflowers are tiny, shadows of how they grew last year. I hope they will now be happier with more breathing room.
I still want to reorganize some of the perennials the way I might move furniture around, but I can hear the voices of more patient gardeners telling me to wait until fall. Even if all I do is weed this summer to uncover and encourage my efforts of years past, I should be in good shape to be strategic (right??) this fall.