How Does Your Garden Grow?

garden_051615I enjoy the beauty and tranquility of public gardens, but I also like to dig in my own dirt. It’s a great stress reliever, enables one to stay active, and provides an outlet to use or improve upon creativity.

Last fall, I planted new bulbs in my garden to replace some older ones that had gradually petered out over the last nine years. I had a plan and I worked it—an equal balance of colors and types of flowers.

I waited expectantly. When spring came, chaos broke loose. The orange lilies I had planted on either side of my golden euonymus shrubs popped up near the flowerbed’s border in front of the shrubs. Not only that, the lilies quickly outgrew everything behind them in height.

Over the rainy winter, all my carefully scattered anemones must have washed to the right side of the bed, because they grew up in one massive (but pretty!) clump. The daffodils came up but never got heads; and of the four types of tulip bulbs that I planted, only two emerged and bloomed.

The entire landscape I had worked to develop looked anything but creative; and for a brief moment, I felt a wave of stress threatening to wash over me. Then I recalled one of my mother’s green thumb tricks: transplanting. She’d move flowers from the rock bed to the perennial garden to the stone planter out front until she found the perfect place for a particular plant to thrive.

Armed with a new plan, I set to work. I moved the orange lilies to the back yard, where they are now loaded with buds. I spread the anemones evenly across the front bed’s border–and they lived! I enjoyed those two lone tulips for their unique beauty, and I put a few annuals in for good measure.

Things are shaping up. The garden in filling out. Early bloomers have served their purpose and bowed out to the next wave of foliage. Have a look:


This “ice cream” double tulip had it’s day in the sun. Because my space was limited, I planted three of these bulbs in a big pot on my front porch. Green leaves grew up from all three bulbs, but only one bloomed. (Here, I’m experimenting with night photography.)


Anemones (or windflowers) are some of my favorites. For me, they keep blooming until the squelching heat of summer hits and persists–which won’t be long!


Usually my anemones are red and purple, but this new batch of bulbs produced these pretty white ones as well.


After the ice cream tulip (singular, sigh) faded, I planted some cascading vines, wave petunias and this pretty African daisy in the large planter on the porch. That’s probably a lot for this container to hold, but I like thick greenery and profuse color!


Out back, I tried something that might be a bit unconventional. I put these tall perennials, called Speedwells, in a deck box that hangs from the railing and serves as a privacy screen. I wasn’t sure if they would like it there, but it’s three weeks and counting and all’s well. (Blue: “First Glory” Speedwell ; White: “First Lady” Speedwell)


At a recent Triangle Gardeners Volunteer Recognition event hosted by Duke Gardens and attended by volunteers from four area gardens, I received as a parting gift this “Slim Jim” phlox pilosa, courtesy of Juniper Level Botanic Garden. It nicely compliments a white “Minnie Pearl” phlox that comes up faithfully and blooms from late April until early June in my front garden.


During a recent visit to the North Carolina Botanical Garden, I purchased Piedmont Barbara’s Buttons (Marshallia obovata var. obovata) at the garden’s gift shop. This perennial, the 2009 NC Wildflower of the Year, is drought resistant and tough despite its delicate, lacy blooms.


On Mother’s Day weekend, my seven-year-old nephew gave all the girls in the family two flowers apiece in celebration of Mother’s Day. (He didn’t mind in the least that I’m not a mother.) It was very touching, and I planted this pretty vinca with tender care in my front flower bed.


The “heart” of a shasta daisy–the second flower that my nephew gave me. Very charming.

That’s a glimpse of my garden. But that’s not all! Soon to bloom are my “Maryland, My Maryland” black-eyed susan and my ever-reliable “Jeff Gordon” yellow lilies, the latter of which were given to me when the 24/48 shop at Hendrick Motorsports was re-landscaped about eleven years ago. There’s nothing like a flower with some history!

Then, of course, there are my blue stars that shine in June through September. And the pretty pink perennial my younger sister gave me when thinning her own garden a few years back. …Dividing and sharing perennials is another joy of gardening, something I watched my mother and our neighbor Francis do from time to time while I was growing up.

Well, you get the idea. (I could go on and on!) Do you have “green space” in which to tend a garden? If so, how does your garden grow?

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