May 06, 2008

Dirt-Worshipping, Sans Nudity

I love the hell out of May. Unlike these weepy eyes swelling from every thing that ever bloomed, and the fascist demand that I stay in my chair and do my job when it’s 71 degrees out (which I handle about the same as a fourth-grader), gardening gets easier every year. Not only that, but it also gets more rewarding; I pull less weeds and grass as my plants keep coming back—and add to that the shock that my plants DO keep coming back, and it’s almost worth it to spend my one day off pulling and planting. Almost.

Here’s the right half of the rock garden, affectionately called the ‘Mum Garden, at the end of April. That teeny spray of daffodils is the only one in the garden, so every year—when the rest of the garden is snow and barren sticks—that sole green shoot blooms and looks for all the world like the turkey’s done. When the blooms die, I plan to put two or three on the other side for a little symmetry, on the theory that daffodil eyelashes are more attractive than one daffodil boner.

Directly behind the penile narcissus is the Autumn Joy sedum. Let me give you a tip for planning a garden: pick perennials that look beautiful both in the spring and when they bloom. Some are invisible until they explode, some bloom for a week then piss off for a year. Sedum and chrysanthemums are a leafy green in May and bloom tall and lush starting late July. The only problem you’ll have with these is that they grow too well, and can take over. But just look at that succulence! The green leafy texture! You can’t stay mad at them until you’re pinning up their droopy, mushroom-cloud exuberance mid-September.

The lower, purplish clump is one of two patches of bugleweed I planted that were originally, swear to god, about the size of your average ham sandwich. They’re still looking a little grey around the gills, I suspect due to grass seed (seen, oh, everywhere else in the photo) trying desperately to get its own back. So I pulled, and I pruned, and I waited a week.

BOOM, baby! Just look what a little sunshine can do! That sedum has doubled in size, and the bugleweed’s well on its way to its former aubergine hue. The back row of yarrow and Joe Pye Weed is starting to build the foundation for the autumn explosion to come (the very reason I don’t bother filling in the blank spaces around them). My two pale green hostas have poked their way up as well (a nasty spider living in the unfurled center of one; I weeded carefully) and that lovely purple phlox was a last minute addition since I knew last year’s creeping phlox was not to return. Or WAS it?

What you can see here, in the lower left, is a teeny patch of wormwood (woorrmwood… hee!) which, if it doesn’t spread, I will buy seven more flats of because it’s softer than a kitten, and also the merest sprout of either a dianthus or a balloon flower (which really are as awesome as they sound). What you can’t see here are rose bushes that refuse to bloom no matter how much money I spend on them (because the prolificacy of a plant is inversely related to the amount I pay for it; three years running, I have yet to learn this). What you can barely see here are the hen & chicks surrounding the rock, surrounded by dandelions surrounded by grass—it’s Custer’s Last Weedening in there. If anyone has any hints on how to prevent / attack stubborn grasses in tightly-knit growth like hen & chicks, please tell me; I’m weeding every weekend just to keep them visible.

The pineapple-y sprouts around the tree at the top right will be a masterful array of black-eyed-Susans and Echinacea—that is, if the two blooming ‘mums honor the non-invasion treaty. The giant space at bottom right is not bare; it cannot be planted because the infuriating ghost of a rosebush has popped up against all odds to test my patience. It has one summer to impress the crap out of me. I’ve imported some new hope—again, in the interest of symmetry—in the form of a sedum offshoot that grew about six inches away from the master plant. Grow, little sedum. Infuse the sad empty half of the garden with your perennial brilliance.

And there, as a teeny striped afterthought, the creeping phlox of yesteryear. Back from the dead; $3.99 a flat. Tell it to the rosebushes, phlox.


crdrue said...

There appears to be some sort of tree in the corner. Not sure if you noticed.

Sarah Beedoo said...

Yes, I see the tree. It blooms evey year and gives me no trouble, so I returned the favor and left it alone. Although it does do its subtle best to thwack my eye out every time I mow around the border...