For today's Show & Tell, I'm showing off one of my other obsessions.
I have something of a plant fixation, so the gardens are constantly a work in progress. I am always trying new things, in part because there is always some plant on my wish list, and in part because not everything survives the winter. I have to contend with heavy clay in parts of the yard, so things sometimes don't come back the following year through the tough soil. I also seem to have a powdery mildew problem, even when I buy mildew-resistant varieties, so that has killed off things like bee balm and anise hyssop. I love both of those plants, because even when not heavily in bloom, the plants themselves smell so good when you bring cuttings inside. Alas, they are not meant to be in my yard. Happily, plenty of other things DO survive.
I am constantly mulling over new plans for the garden. Currently, there is a new bush sitting in a bed, still in the pot. I will have to go outside and consider it again today, but I think it's not the right spot for it. I think I need to put a couple of giant echinacea there, instead, because the butterfly bush next door is likely to grow too large, and take up the empty space that I'm trying to fill. If I put the new bush there, it will also grow large, and there won't be enough space for both it and the butterfly bush. Plus, the bush has white flowers that will eventually turn pink, and the butterfly bush is purple. I don't love a purple next to a white--too boring. Although pink and purple are lovely together, especially with an orange or a yellow, like the one planted in front of it. I don't really have another spot for the bush right now, either. Such a dilemma I have.
I have several beds that I completely started over with this year, and I can't wait to see how they'll turn out. I decided I wanted beds that were all red and orange and yellow. So, I bought nine different kids of seeds and scattered them all together. By the end of the summer, with a little luck, they should be magnificent. They're mostly perennials, too, so they should be fabulous next spring, too. I have an all blue bed in the works, too, with a bit of white and chartreuse green. See? Obsessed. It's another form of therapy, though, so I can justify all of the money I spend on it.
However, I am generally very busy, so I've created a few "rules" for myself. First, as I'm sure you can tell, I prefer the messy English cottage garden look, i.e., lots of stuff jumbled together. Second, I don't weed. If you are fanatical about weeds, look away. Mostly, they aren't too much of a problem, due to the clay. Third, I'm all for "volunteers." If a plant goes to seed and sprouts up in some other part of my garden, I let it grow where it is. Fourth, I only plant perennials. I don't really see the point in annuals in the garden, and my yard is bereft of them, except for the pot or two that graces my front stoop and back porch, and a couple of hanging pots. Finally, I'm all organic, all the time. My one big vexation is the lack of an organic nursery selling organic perennials. I try to buy as many as I can at the farmer's market, but the options there are limited.
I love coming home and seeing what has finally bloomed during the day. It will be even more exciting once the tomatoes come into season--my favorite garden food! It is so relaxing to walk around in the evening, and see what progress the plants have made since the day before. It's one of the few aspects of my life where I can see tangible progress in a short amount of time. And hey, it's fertile!