Sunday, March 19, 2017

Gardening Fever

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…



  1. I bet your yard is Beautiful. A blank slate scares me, but the way you approached it seems perfect.

  2. I absolutely loved reading this.
    I related in so many ways!

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  4. Your enthusiasm as a gardener comes through loud and clear in this slice! Thanks for sharing. Today at my house in VA it warmed up, the snow is almost all melted and you are making me ready to spend some time outside planning my gardens! Enjoy!

  5. I still have snow in my yard but just today I said - Oh I think I'll expand this garden... I seem to have the same problem as you - I call it spring fever!

  6. I'm sure that your yard is spectacular! You've got enthusiasm, and that's more important than making sure everything is planned & coordinated. Good luck with your goal haha! ~JudyK