A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Friday, May 06, 2005

Purple Garden

I didn't create the purple garden. I just took it over before it merged completely back into the lawn. It has an odd mixture of perennials, mainly purple. Asters, William Guiness columbine, Japanese iris, Siberian iris, lamb's ear, Shasta daisies, Milky Way morning glories that are neither perennial nor purple, and other things that I honestly don't know what they are. I have been keeping to the original purple color scheme but have allowed myself some leeway to try new and often hybrid flowers. I have also tried to grow a few herbs with varying success. Common sage was a huge winner. Catnip was not. Or rather, it was until the neighbor's cat discovered it. I would watch him through the window rolling in the catnip with an expression of ecstasy. Last year, I transplanted in some purple coneflowers that I had grown from seed. I was puzzled when they didn't bloom. Then I read that coneflowers need to reach a certain size before they will bloom.

Last year, I established the aster quadrant. I concentrated all of the asters in one spot because they have a tendency to take over. I also planted some green flowers in another sliver. Trying to tame both areas was an exhausting process. The weeds had gotten a solid foothold. This year I was more ambitious, expanding the green garden to an entire quadrant. And widening the entire circle. I've been eyeing the half that was left with trepidation.

But it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought. Because the perennials are still short, it was easier than I had anticipated to get between them and do a thorough job of weeding. I moved asters into the aster area, lambs ear offshoots back into the main bunch and consolidated the sage into one grouping. Earlier this spring, I had planted a purple daylily, Ace of Spades iris and Hidcote lavender. Today I planted Poker primroses, Plum Blossom snapdragons, Zebrina (yes! more hollyhocks), anise hyssop, clary sage (yes! more sage),Ballerina Purple datura and Chalon Supreme pansies (heirlooms).

I've grown the Zebrina and pansies before with success. My success with snapdragons has been spotty but I read somewhere that they need light to germinate so I just sprinkled the seeds over the soil like I did the poppies. The poppies are doing well. I'm hoping the snapdragons do too. If the birds don't eat all of the seeds first.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow so I'm taking the day off from gardening. Rain is just what I need right now with all of the transplanting and seed sowing I have done all week.


At 2:25 PM, Blogger Sylvana said...

I can never get Zebrina to grow. There are lots of other gardens around here that have huge beds of it but mine always dies.


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