A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Green Thumb Sunday


I have difficulty coming up with and sticking to plans when it comes to designing my gardens. Assigning a color or a theme to each bed helps me to focus. It also narrows down the plant lists. I get overwhelmed when I have too many choices.

The border along my shed has been through several themes. It started out as a pumpkin patch. That was fun, especially when the vines crawled all over the backyard and I only had to mow half of the lawn. The downside was that vines are not very tall. They did nothing to break up the long white wall of my shed.

Next I tried perennial sunflowers. Very tall, they broke up the glaring expanse nicely. They had two drawbacks. They didn’t bloom until September and every year, we would have at least one bad windstorm that knocked all the sunflowers down. They still bloomed profusely. They just did it at crazy angles or sprawled across the lawn.

Next I opted for that old standby, the hollyhock. If they were good enough to spruce up outhouses, they were good enough to prettify my old shed. And they did for one season before developing the worst case of rust I have ever seen. I didn’t think it was possible, but the hollyhocks ended up looking uglier than the blank wall of the shed.

My latest “theme”, inspired by a book on medieval gardens, is now in its third year. The herbs that were originally planted in 2005 all failed except the thyme which hung on until this year. A Madonna lily, notoriously difficult to grow, did so well that I splurged and bought another bulb. They are both now budded. Johnny Jump-Ups have finally begun reseeding themselves in a corner of the border. I have high hopes that they will eventually fill the entire bed.

This year I have added three roses: the Apothecary Rose, the Eglantine Rose (Shakespeare’s rose) and Rosa Mundi. Both the Apothecary Rose and Rosa Mundi bloomed, but are sickly. The Eglantine Rose is healthy but so far flower-less.

My final addition to the bed was purchased at the flower show in February. I’ve always wanted a gargoyle. What better place for one than in a medieval garden?

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At 8:21 AM, Blogger Gina said...

I'm a brand new gardner and I can really relate to your comment about the overwhelmingness of so many choice. I'm presently paralyzed by all the choices of things I could put on the back of my garage. It's helpful (and a little disappointing)to know my first few shots at this may fail. ps i love your blog.

At 10:01 PM, Blogger LostRoses said...

OldRoses, what a about a climbing rose in your bed by the shed? Sounds like it gets plenty of sun and something like a New Dawn would bloom prolifically all summer and complement your wonderful selection of old roses. Underplanted with the violets it would be stunning.

I like your gargoyle!

At 1:28 AM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Gina, failing is half the fun! And it certainly narrows down your choices. I always have some spectacular failures every year.

LostRoses, I have a HUGE butterfly bush anchoring that bed. My composter is at the other end. I'm actually thinking hanging baskets.


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