Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Gardener Changes

I think my gardening style has grown up.  I initially loved cottage gardens, with their many colors, and crammed-in, higgledy-piggledy look.  Now I want more calm, more order, less chaos.  I've never liked plants that look tropical or flop over.  I also want to stay away from invasives or those that self-seed too readily.  I pulled out the beautiful obedient plant last year (it's actually way not obedient).  This year the phlox have seeded everywhere and I need to keep an eye on it.  I suppose I should deadhead it right away, but who can keep up with that?

As I get older I am concerned about the high-maintenance roses I have.  They require a lot of pruning, watering, deadheading and fertilizing.  I suppose I could just keep the knockouts and other shrub roses that don't really need a lot of fussing over.  For the past two years I've had five roses out back that barely flower, if at all.  Three of these are from the beginning, in 2006.  Maybe they're just worn out.  I don't know.  I'd like to pull them out and replace them with Lady Elsie May, which is an Energizer bunny of a rose, and huge.

Then I remember this:

The other problem is that because the side yard slopes severely, I can't easily bring mulch to the shade and back gardens.
That's little Lucy last year.
In concert with my new streamlined approach, I prefer the look of cedar mulch rather than leaf mold.  Hopefully, as the new gardens mature the plants will cover most of the ground.  In the original garden I now have four groundcovers - thyme, myrtle, ivy and plumbago.  This was my mother's sage advice because I wouldn't be able to maintain this large garden without them.

I've also become interested in extending the gardening season from its peak in mid-July.  I used to get a third flush of roses but not in recent years.  This year I've worked on the "bones" that will enhance the winter garden - the "transplanted" arbor and new boxwood.  I also decided to plant the new garden in front of the front porch (see below) as a winter and early spring garden, with a (transplanted) dwarf blue spruce, Alberta spruce, redtwig dogwood, possibly boxwood, and spring bulbs.
My favorite plants continue to be roses, hydrangeas, cranesbills, oriental ilies, hostas, barberries, peonies and foxgloves.  I tolerate the drooping peonies because who doesn't love their over-the-top beauty?  This year I actually staked them all in time, but alas, the April snowstorms took a toll on their blooms.

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