After replacing some of the ugly shrubs in our front yard, I mentioned to Mary that I planned to tackle the perennial garden next. I was really just being a big talker. I thought I might try–I don’t know–weeding a teensy bit more. But Mary took my big talking to heart, and within a few days, she’d brought home a whole bunch of plants for me:
She’d bought me a hollyhock plant, a lupine plant, and a few columbine plants. This put me into a panic. She’s always said that she’s fiendishly jealous of my sunny spot and that she enjoys the garden. Two years ago I’d actually taken a few minutes to fertilize, and she congratulated me on the garden’s gorgeousness. Yet now I couldn’t help thinking that she’d seized my tiny bit of initiative because she feels like I’ve been woefully neglectful of the garden. Which, okay, let’s be fair: I have. So I was wavering between gratitude for the gift and embarrassment that this was her way to ensure that I’d follow through on my big talk. Both feelings were quickly overshadowed, though, by an overwhelming panic that the plants would die in their pots before I had a chance to plant them. The race was on.
The perennial garden is so overgrown that I literally could not find space within the garden without clearing out a pile of weeds. So that was Phase One. Phase Two was deciding what to put where, and that was a joint project with J, so I’m saving that for another post. For now, here are some “before” and “after” photos:
It’s been so long since someone who knew anything about gardening has touched the garden that I don’t even quite recall how it’s supposed to look. One part that I do remember is that this section used to have a fairly well-defined border of hostas and ornamental grass. So I tried to get rid of the extras around those parts. Here I was channeling Mary from The Secret Garden. I remember reading this book, and the idea of discovering my own secret place and nurturing it into something wonderful was extraordinarily appealing. Of course, reading about someone else weeding an overgrown and neglected garden back into glory is much easier than actually doing it. It’s a work in progress, but you can see a bit of the hosta and ornamental grass below:
Neither J nor I am actually crazy about the ornamental grass. J wanted me to yank it out, but I felt like it was a tiny bit of structure for me to embrace, so it’s staying for now. If you look in those pictures, the area just below and to the left of the tree is where J and I decided to plant the hollyhock. The weeds were crazy, and it turned out that the tree itself was going a little nuts, too. Here’s a “before” shot of that space:
Once we’d created a little space, we planted the hollyhock, with purple flowers:
I managed to get that into the ground on Saturday before we headed out to camp over Memorial Day Weekend. I realized, too late, that one of the other flowers that’s already in the garden has flowers of a similar color, so that wasn’t too well planned. So it’s a teensy bit deceptive, because a few of the purple flowers you see below are not hollyhock. Still, this picture of the same plant earlier today is pretty awesome, if I do say so myself:
Gardening with J has been its own special adventure, but I’ll save that for another post because I’m too sleepy to do it justice right now.