I cannot yet report that all of my bulbs survived the lawn guys’ assault, but some seem to be popping up. I wonder if the garden is confused as to the season? Our winter has continued to be milder than mild.
Spring bulbs – snowflakes, narcisuss, daffodils -- are waking from their long naps. Larger plants that go dormant in winter are beginning to bud or return from the roots. We had a nice surprise. Previous owners had planted a row of kordyline, the Hawaiian Ti plant, in one of the front beds. After our two nights of winter, those exotics appeared quite dead.
I was already replacing them on paper, but my husband had more faith in their hardiness than I did. He was right. This morning we found signs that they will be back!
Do you see the green or, rather, the pink? Hooray!
Many, many of our garden plants go dormant in winter, leaving a rather pitiful landscape. I can – and usually do – cover the gaps with cool-season annuals, but I’ve noticed that in this garden, they seem to linger halfway into summer. I guess it’s the shade. They don’t look their best, however, and I’m always waiting for the other shoe to fall. It’s hard for me to yank flowering plants. I’d rather not have to and so I’ve been considering mixing in some evergreens.
An excellent example of this are the raised beds running along the side of the house, which I can see from the kitchen windows. This past summer, we accepted that it really doesn’t get enough sun to make vegetables happy. In their place, I planted pentas and Turk’s cap and enjoyed butterflies and hummingbirds for months. When the freeze hit, those plants went dormant and the boxes were attractive to no one.
The Turk's Cap is already returning and the pentas will, too, but it was a pitiful show from the window the past several weeks. It shows a problem with my planning or design. If I had some early flowering bulbs or a few small, evergreen shrubs mixed in, at least I wouldn’t be looking at empty beds or stick plants all winter. Another option would be shade-tolerant herbs, but there surely wouldn’t be very many. The freezes, however few, along with the shade and my desire to reduce the number of annuals I plant, make for a very limited selection. We only need so much cilantro.
All of which means I have much to look forward to in the way of planning and implementing, dreaming and planting.
What did Audrey Hepburn say? To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.
Wishing everyone hope and happiness.
A few days ago, I enjoyed a full, blissful day of gardening. I was so happy. I planted over 100 bulbs and still have a few more to go. I pruned roses and pulled dead plants. The weather was cool, sunny, breezy. It was great.
The next day, I got so upset that I had to lay down. It was almost funny, really, except that it wasn’t funny at all. I caught one of the lawn service guys spraying herbicide onto my flower beds! WHAT? We’re ORGANIC! I’ve told them before! How long have they been doing this? Is that why the hedge suddenly died? Poison? What do you do when you’re beside yourself?
Yet we are going to give them one more chance. Does that sound crazy? Yes, of course it does! We have not had good luck with lawn services. I don’t think I’m particularly difficult, either, although for sure I am firm and involved. What right do they have to spray chemicals on my beds? How hard is it to just NOT do that? I had just spent an investment of time, money, and love planting bulbs. I can only hope that the spray did not kill them. I asked in person and via text what the name of the poison was, but the only answer I got was “to kill the weeds.”
The last lawn guys did not presume to use herbicide in our garden, but they took out so many plants through sheer carelessness that it was as if we were paying them one and a half times their asking price. The guys before them, the first we had for this house, lasted a day. They topped my crape myrtle even though I told them not to touch anything but the ligustrum hedge. I only have one crape myrtle and they lopped off the top. I was soooo aggravated.
The answer, of course, is to tend to the yard ourselves. That way, our garden might stand a chance. In the past, we took good care of a much, much larger property ourselves. Our life is busier here in our new house, however, and as far as edging, hedging, and timeliness go, the current guys are good. They’re human, too, and therefore no more fallible or infallible than the rest of us. So, here’s to another chance.
In the meantime, we have a watchman. He perched on that branch, albeit coming and going, for most of the day. Perhaps he likes golf?
I plot and I plan. I work under dangerous conditions. I am frequently under assault. At times, I might drop everything and run for cover. I strive to work towards the greater good.
Gardening in southeast Texas can be brutal. Heat, humidity, and potentially disease-carrying mosquitoes are problems for more than half the year and a dangerous combination in summer. That’s to say nothing of fire ants and other biting, stinging insects. Snakes, too, although they only make a rare appearance in my little garden. Poison ivy and oak are common and birds sow both generously.
Despite some uncomfortable conditions, I feel very protective of the wild in my garden. It’s important to know friend from foe, for example, venomous from nonvenomous snakes and even then, it’s often not necessary to engage. As for the bugs, it is not fine with us to hurt the good with the bad. Pesticides are banned. So are herbicides. Our beds, whether food or ornamental, are organic. And while our garden isn’t entirely native, we do have plenty of native plants that please the local wildlife as well as ourselves.
While every garden is different, they all offer challenges, pleasures, time with nature. Much like people, they have their good days and bad days, high seasons and low; and they can all be fun and beautiful if you love them enough.