Big D is on vacation this week. He works hard and I am glad he has a week at home on his own to relax without me there to nag him as I am want to do. However, this guy cannot sit still when there is “stuff” to do. Which is great for me because then I get all sorts of things done that I had no intention of doing but enjoy having when all is said and done. This week on his first day off he built a garden addition…and then promptly told me I can’t plant anything in it. Fine with me! It looks nice and I’m not expected to fill it. Sounds like a deal.
While I try my hardest, I do not have a green thumb. Many people who see our gardens think I am some sort of wizard when it comes to growing things. That, my friends, is the work of the Universe, not me. I got smart a long time ago and chose wisely which plants would work best in our area of Upstate New York and would not require much from me but a pep talk now and then. This has proven to be a great plan of attack as we now have gorgeous gardens that grow on their own and only need to be thinned from time to time.
To give you inspiration, I include here a shot of our home about 2 years after we moved in (1997?). Pretty dull huh?
Click on each image to enlarge.
Here is a shot of our door yard about two weeks ago as things started coming in.
Now, here’s a shot of the door yard after Big D got finished with his vision on Monday:
This garden will continue to evolve as I stain the timbers to match our steps and thin out the plants in the back. This garden has been overwhelmed by a patch of “Snow on the Mountain” which can be very invasive. But, we got it from a patch at my late grandfather’s house so it isn’t likely I’m going to do away with it. I kind of like it, as long as I can keep it under control. Currently, there are roses, hosta, lilac, lilies, butterfly bush, variegated perennial ivy, and some little yellow flower plant that I love that stays a very succulent green all Summer.
The lilies came from a small pack of about 20 Asian Lilies about 6 years ago. In the first two years they multiplied to over 100. I have thinned these out and spread them around to several other gardens and need to do so again this year as the dedicated “Lily Garden” has now completely runneth over with spread as you can see:
Iris is another plant that you just simply cannot kill and look beautiful all Spring and Summer long. We now have about 5 large Iris patches which all came from a plastic bag of tubers that a friend dropped off one day without me knowing it. She left the bag by the door in a patch of dirt. Toward the end of the Summer I finally noticed it (I was busy with kids and college and work that year so it took a while!). They had broken out of the bag and started growing into the ground. See! No work involved on my part…they even planted themselves! So I simply tore away the bag and each year since I have thinned them out, shared them with friends and family, made new gardens from them and simply loved looking at them. At the end of the flowering period, the stalks stay tall and lush green so they still look beautiful even after you have dead-headed the petals.
The garden above contains Chive, Lavender, purple Iris, tall Evening Primrose, (another great perennial that spreads!) Hosta, Morning Glory, Ivy for the fence that we are just getting in this year with hopes that it will cover it, and Hydrangea. This one will have landscape timbers to enclose it this year as well since the area is really wet and the pavers just aren’t cutting it with all of the heaving that goes on in that spot.
One more plant that I cannot speak highly enough about is Hosta. I love them. We bought a bag of 7 plants from Lowes about 10 years ago. I planted them and the dog promptly dug them up. On their second attempt to grow leaves, a rogue teenage lawn mower plowed them down. I thought they were gonners. Two years later, 5 of them came up again. I moved them into gardens and after 8 years I have thinned, spread, shared them to my heart’s delight. Here is a sampling:
All of the plants we have are hearty and can tolerate walnut trees around them. We have a large walnut tree and some plants are susceptible to what they call Walnut Wilt, making them unable to grow well. Everything we have thrives even in these conditions. Our soil is almost completely clay! And somehow these babies manage to delight us every year as we watch them sprout and blossom. Another plant we have that thrives is Bleeding heart.
Most of these plants were given to me by friends or people I’ve met on Freecycle who were thinning their own gardens. I am pretty sure we have not spent even $50 on perennials over the years and our gardens are brimming with life that we don’t even have to encourage. One plant that has stymied me for years is Clematis. Until this year, I have not successfully gotten one to grow. The one in this pic is 3 years old and this is the best it has looked. We added pure compost and a lattice wall this year to help it along. I think we’ve got a winner! Patience, joy, gratitude for beauty are pretty much the only things I contribute to these gardens and they are a blessing every year!