Saturday, May 31, 2014

Garden Update, 2014

I think it's good for the ego to review long-range progress, especially when it comes to landscaping and gardening. It's just too easy to focus on the lawn that needs mowing NOW, the weeds that need pulling NOW, the pile of landscape pavers you just brought home and don't have time to place, but golly you should get to that NOW.

Back in 2011, my house had been unoccupied for 18 months, two summers' worth. I think it showed:

And we started pulling the front perennial beds apart, getting rid of overgrown ornamental grass, a half-dead flowering plum, and weedy wild garlic. 

There were days it was hard to sort the worthwhile from the compost pile: 

But my sons helped me dispose of the concrete rubble and build new retaining walls: 

And every year I worked on mulching, and adding just a little bit more. I wish I could say I had a plan, but I didn't. I feel like cottage garden style doesn't need one, so much. Thank goodness, because I gave up having time to plan a garden out on graph paper years ago. 

This year, we've been enjoying the bulbs, like these daffodils. I wish the pesky squirrels had stayed out of them: 

The big hit this year was the new globe alliums, white and purple and nearly three feet tall. The neighbors stopped by to admire, and I even had an in-town school classmate contact me to find out what they were: 

Speaking of oniony-garlicky type things, we also have a nice clump of chives in the garden this year. I want to add more herbs as we go along: 

And the irises are at their peak. This one is called Tennessee Gentleman:

Overall though, the pleasures of the perennial garden are in the close-up views in May. The larger view shows it in its pre-peak stage:

The foreground above shows what's left of the daffodils and pink yarrow. The blue salvia "May Night" is coming along, and behind it are mixed pastel (coral, pink, white, and yellow) lilies and a mystery variety of white penstemon (with reddish foliage). Over on the far left is a clump of Joe Pye Weed that volunteered in my garden that I've let stay, because the butterflies and bees go absolutely nuts over it. Behind the penstemon you can see a pile of weeds that need to be bagged and the garden hose. Real life gardening!

I always have a few containers of annuals around for all-season color, and this year I chose purple, yellow, white and orange to go with the new house paint color:

Yes, my deck desperately needs staining, doesn't it? It's not faded though. I've decided it's got "patina."

Here's a finished container, with African marigolds, calibrichoa, lobelia, alyssum, dahlberg daisy, and annual salvia.

After the long winter, the garden feels glorious even when it's a little weedy and with not enough blooming. What have you got going in your little patch of Eden? 


  1. I love your alliums! I've been wanting to plant some for a long time now. I just need to do it!

    I love your container plants, too. Great colors! I tend to buy a lot of pinks, blues, and purples myself.

  2. Love the color combo in the large pot.

  3. We're very similar kinds of gardeners. Except, I think we probably know less than you. We buy stuff, we stick it in the ground, we hope it stays around. This is our 3rd spring in our house, and it feels like some things are finally getting to where we'd like them to be. There's a long ways to go, but like you said--we focus on the progress. Think that's pretty much the only way we can be satisfied with our garden. With our life, really.