Today I feel like we’ve turned a corner, and spring is truly on the way. I heard birds chirping happily as I walked my dog this morning, I can see the beginnings of my perennials peeking out, and we’re one full week into daylight savings time.
When I bought my house five years ago, I was super excited to begin gardening. I have a good-sized yard, and there wasn’t a lot of landscaping done previously, so I had a blank palette to work with. Growing up, our yard was a weird shape, and had this huge tree that I hate because it blocks out all of the sun. The house faced north, so we didn’t get a lot of light inside at any time. It was very dark and I always hated that.
My own house gets plenty of light, inside and out. I have a few shady spots on the north side, but my backyard, front yard, and the south side of my height is full of light for most of the day. So I imagined myself planting lots of flowers and having this beautiful yard and spending time outside in the summer. (I always want to be an outside person). My friend was a landscape designer and made me this great plan that made sense and was aesthetically pleasing and all. And I blew it.
I couldn’t wait. It started with the local arboretum plant sale. They used to have a pre-sale with a plant catalog, and you’d get this glorious poster-like catalog in the mail, with all of these color photographs of unusual and spectacular plants. So I ordered a bunch. Then I planted them. Wherever I wanted. And they did well, for the most part, but it was not super organized.
I kept it up. Stopping at Home Depot, I’d pick up a hydrangea. Or some coreopsis on sale. I kept buying and going to plant sales. And over the past few years, I’ve now accumulated an interesting array of native plants, butterfly and hummingbird-attracting plants, hydrangeas, and shrubbery. One of the biggest reasons I will buy a plant is the name - anything with a reference to Norse mythology (Freya bellflower, Thor spirea, Viking chokeberry), Kennedys (John F. Kennedy rose), or literature (Sense and Sensibility Lilac, Sirius Black Clematis). It shows you just how irrational I am at gardening.
Every year I tell myself that I am not going to buy anything new. I’m going to plant seeds (which I need to start now), and just try to get ahead of the weeds and shaping the beds. (I’m trying not to use Roundup, and, as you can imagine, I have a weed/dandelion problem). So this year, I am once again hoping to just make the most of what I have, and focus on maintenance. Even though I don’t have the perfectly organized yard that I imagined, I get lots of colorful flowers, visits from bees, birds, and butterflies, and have managed to keep many plants alive over the years.
I will definitely be purchasing herbs and annuals for my pots, though. I love lantana and lavender and that just won’t grow in my yard. And of course, the reason I thought of writing about this topic was that I came across an online plant sale...we’ll see if I can keep to my goal…
The memory of the excitement of a new plant purchase is coming back...uh oh…