Garden Girl – Patience in Gardening Goes A Long Way JULY 12, 2016

What a whirlwind this spring has been! I am pleasantly surprised to see all the foxgloves in bloom already! Among roses, which are now in various stages of flower throughout our property, I’ve really been enjoying our geraniums, sweet Williams, pinks, lilies, iris’, bellflowers, violas, primulas and baby’s breath! They all feel early to me this year but that could be because I feel so behind with everything else… Regardless, bring on the flower show!

It’s been crazy busy around our property. Every year we try to reclaim more of it and this year is no exception. Our barnyard was the focus this year. It was overgrown with sumacs and goldenrod with their snaking root systems spreading everywhere. Besides the rampant weed roots there is still no shortage of garbage that still needs to be picked up. We’ve picked buckets of broken glass and trailers of old metal barn pieces that were buried into the ground around the barn. I still shake my head everytime I think about it. Apparently burying one’s garbage was a way of life once upon a time. I try to change my perspective and pretend I am picking up diamonds because after hours upon hours of picking up small pieces of broken glass one needs anything to distract from the tediousness…

DJ 2I’m learning there is a technique to planting spring bulbs and I have learned I don’t have it yet… Most of our bulbs came up and we had a pleasant show of crocus’, hyacinths, tulips, and daffodils. However, I can’t help but wonder how much better they would look if I planted them with a plan in mind, instead of willy-nilly-ish, as it were… Also closer together; not loving the “bald” spots…

We’ve relocated over a half-dozen hostas from our front yard to our mature tree path we have in the back. I’ve resolved to accentuate the trees and am happy with the changes we’ve been making on that front. We’ve even added lily of the valley to the tree path in hopes that one day the area will be perfumed with their sweet smell making walking in that area that much more special and inviting.

DJ 4In all honesty, I had so much anticipation for this spring. So many days last year I pushed myself beyond the point of pain to get further along the journey to my vision of our “sanctuary”. As much as I hate to admit it, as great as this spring’s “payoff” (by payoff I mean the reward from last year’s work…) has been, it’s been anticlimactic.

DJ 6Over the past year I’ve collected some simple vases in preparation for this year’s “flower show” and now that we’re here, I find myself not wanting to cut any of the flowers and not only do I not want to cut any flowers, I want and have been adding more!!! Is there really such a thing as too much of a good thing??? I love the idea of letting my favourites go to seed! I have never met an ugly foxglove…

My major burn this year has been our roses… Always with the roses… But, the reward for caring for them just right is beyond divine.

Every year I add to our rose collection. I have been adding beds to our landscape and doing my best to make them at home. No matter how much forethought one can give to something, there always seems to be room for the unthinkable. Like how this spring the flooding was worse than previous years and we had pooling around certain roses after the frost had let off. After a few weeks I begrudgingly pulled 3 roses. One was most definitely dead, the second was at least 80% dead and the third, having some evident green spots, I’d rate around 60% alive. However, as I’ve said, after weeks of life returning to our yard, no apparent life was seen on either of these 3. There also was one other rose, one I deeply adored last year, the Winchester Cathedral, that appeared to be 95% dead, but because it’s growing with a newly established clematis (last year’s addition), and surrounded by happy baby’s breath, I decided to prune it to camouflage it into the background.

Fast forward to now, well actually a few days ago, and I spotted new growth from the side!!! Here we are, mid-June, and this rose is just waking up! On one hand, I am so relieved to still have this gem in its intended spot! On the other hand, I am very sad with myself for not waiting longer for the others. One of the ones I pulled had the most gorgeous cabbage-style purple blooms with a smell reminiscent of an English garden. I thoughtfully placed it next to our John Cabot climber with its’ bright fuschia blooms with full intentions of them being blooming buddies… Excuse me while I wipe a tear…

Last year we went through a period in the beginning of the season where our lawnmower was being repaired. We didn’t get around to mowing our lawn for the first time until around the beginning of June. During that time we noticed that we have drifts of grape muscaris surrounding our lilac trees and coincidentally (or maybe not…), they bloom at the same time! I also noticed patches of a particular plant but have never been able to identify it until this spring.

Because we noticed such happy insect activity in our yard and flower surprises last spring when we allowed it to over-grow, we resolved to let it go again this year until after the frost is done. It seems that some flowers and trees are happy to bloom early and we want to do what we can to help the bees, including bonding with all the dandelions. It is a pleasant sound, the various bees and birds at dawn in a country yard, when I find myself watering everything to beat the heat of the day. And with the scorching weather as of late the garden can’t seem to get enough. I can deal with a scorched lawn but not sad plants.

Anyway, this year I flagged the flower mounds so we wouldn’t mow them and to our happy surprise it turns out they are patches of sweet william. Funny enough, I grew a bunch from seed last year so this year we have two different areas with bright, cheerful coloured balls of flowers atop a 16” or so stem. In the one bunch there are at least a hundred different flowers in bloom right now and every day I enjoy seeing all the butterflies come to visit them. I could have sworn I planted Stoke’s Aster in that spot last year but I am pleasantly happy with the turn out.

We’ve created a new flower bed in our yard and planted roughly 50 lily bulbs in multiple varieties. I love vibrant plant clumps and so we chose roughly 6 varieties and planted them. I’ve lovingly named this our “lily pad”. I don’t know why, but I get a kick out of that.

We’ve also relocated over a half-dozen hostas from our North yard to the tree path we have in the back. We plan to accentuate the mature trees and are happy with the refreshment. We’ve even added lily of the valley to the tree path in hopes that one day the area will be perfumed in early spring with their sweet smell inviting all to take in their beauty.

As I’ve said, as great as this spring has been, I find I am adding much more to our garden and yard. Bring on the flowers!

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