A Gardening Year

The adventures and misadventures of an heirloom gardener

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I’m a selfish gardener. I garden to please myself with no regard for anyone else. I grow what I like, where I like and how I like it. All winter, I pore over seed catalogs dreaming up beautiful garden designs only to change my mind when it comes time to actually plant. And then, seeds don’t germinate, plants get eaten by pests or fail to thrive or, worse yet, take over an entire bed. In the fall, I enlarge beds, move perennials and plant bulbs. I have a definite plan in mind, but it always changes when the catalogs arrive and then the cycle repeats itself.

I don’t show off my gardens to anyone. There are only two ways to get a glimpse of anything that I’ve grown. You can read this blog or literally show up at my house and demand a tour. Only then will I grudgingly show you around, muttering under my breath that I don’t do attractive.

If you were to show up at my house today, this is what you would see. Colleen calls it “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”.

The Ugly

This was supposed to be my new Butterfly/Hummingbird Garden. The hummingbird part is coming along nicely. The butterfly part is a disaster. I can’t mulch my beds because I direct sow most of what I grow. Every spring it’s a race between the weeds and the seeds. In this bed it was a tie. Cosmos, bronze fennel and tithonia won. The Lion’s Tail also, I think, but I can’t be sure because I’ve never grown it. The Mexican Hats, Butterfly Weed and Lemon Mint lost.

Okay, I lied. I can and should mulch some beds. Believe it or not, there are rosebushes somewhere in there. I’ve been neglecting them in favor of trying to keep the beds with seeds in them weed-free.

This was a great idea that went terribly wrong. The Canterbury Bells were supposed to bloom in the spring and when they finished, I was going to remove them and allow the Zebrina and roses to blossom, followed by cleome, cosmos, Verbena bonariensis and Nicotiana sylvestris. The Canterbury Bells refuse to stop blooming and die. I haven’t had the heart to pull them out. Meanwhile, the Zebrina and the roses, desperate for sunlight have grown tall and spindly. And the annuals have been completely shaded out.

The Bad

This is why I have Shed Envy. Between gnawing squirrels and the weather, the door of my unattractive garden shed has literally fallen off of its hinges. Fixing this requires more skill than I possess so I merely lean it against the opening.

Mme Plantier grew so large that she has completely covered the faucet. I bought an extender, hooked my hosecart up to it and mowed around it. Then I came up with the brilliant idea of dressing this area up with a new bog garden since my sump pump empties out of the basement here. Great concept. Wouldn’t it be nice if I actually tried executing it?

The Good

My hydrangeas are lovely every year. To the Special Gardener who gave me a hosta: Even though I stepped on it and broke off a huge piece a few weeks ago, you can see in the picture that what’s left has sent up a flower stalk. Thank you. I will be more careful when I mow.

Not planning at all can be a good thing. I really love this (unintentional) combination of Echinacea, Shasta Daisies and Monarda in the Purple Garden.

I dance with joy every morning when I visit my composter. I planted some leftover petunias in a pot to brighten up this corner (that’s balsam growing around it). The squirrels never found it so it’s my best looking container.

My shade garden is my favorite spot all summer. I love watching the birds drinking and bathing surrounded by the airy foliage of the ferns and liatris. The hellebores make a nice groundcover.

Visit In the Garden Online to learn how you can participate in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.


At 8:42 AM, Blogger Colleen said...

Thanks so much for posting your good, bad, and ugly area! I was nodding along with you when you talked about plans not working out in regard to your bed with the canterbury bells and zebrina. I can't even count the number of times I've had a brilliant plan for a bed and then see that, for one reason or another, it doesn't work out the way I'd planned.

Your hydrangeas are absolutely gorgeous, and I'm with you on that shasta daisy/coneflower combo...I love it.

Thanks so much for doing this :-)

At 3:17 PM, Blogger Connie said...

Thanks for sharing your bad & uglies! It is encouraging to know others have these areas in their gardens, as I sure do.
BTW, your hydrangeas are awesome and I love your shade corner!

At 4:52 PM, Blogger Bev said...

Wow!! Now I REALLY have hydrangea envy! Your good far outshines the bad and ugly.

At 1:31 AM, Blogger OldRoses said...

Colleen, thanks for letting me know that I'm not the only one with great plans that go awry!

Connie, my hydrangeas have been growing along the front of my house for about a decade. I don't know why they love it there but I'm glad they do. Not much else wants to grow in that area.

Bev, thanks for the encouragement. Of course, all I see is the bad and the ugly!

At 10:50 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Wow! Those are the kind of hydrangeas I was hoping for when I planted my 'Endless Summer'! They look like my grandma's, for sure.

At 10:57 AM, Blogger Rosengeranium said...

Thanks for your good, bad, and uggly. If I ever have an outdoor garden it will turn out just like yours. Nice to see a blogger just like me :-)

At 7:32 PM, Blogger Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Nice post, an honest gardener :). We all must take the good with the bad and accept what we cannot get to. I garden for myself as you do, as long as it pleases me, it stays.


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