Sunday, May 5, 2013

Gardening-this is the year to pull up all the bulbs

We purchased an antique home in 2011. Because it's on the National Register of Historic Places the former owners only grew ivy, the kind that grew in colonial New England times, in the front yard. There's also restrictions as to what one can do with our house on the front. But that damn ivy drives us crazy, it crawls up the house which isn't good for the wood or paint. It's wound itself around the house and into the back where I am yanking some out to make room for hydrangeas and I'm thinking a big Hollyhock to keep it at bay. So there wicked ivy.

 Over on the sunny left side of the house, we put in two garden boxes, purchased black mulch, the first box was going to be my cutting flower garden, second one our organic vegetable/strawberry garden for us with herbs for our house rabbits. After we set the whole thing up, our new next door neighbor informed us that black mulch is dyed and that dye can get into the roots of these edible flora. Good to know, wish we knew it sooner.

Last year was a hectic Spring/Summer with my having surgery and did I mention? I work two hours away and stay with an artist friend and her two adorable kids and dog during the week and come home to husband, dog-(just adopted a puppy-yikes) and two annoyed house rabbits-they didn't ASK for a puppy. So the garden pretty much went to crap. This year as I move close to thinking about moving out of the day job, and husband and I prepare to sustain ourselves on my creative home-business and he on his-(www.urban-antiqueradio.com) I'm finding myself anxiously trying to finish up on house and garden projects for what possibly might be leaner days ahead.

 Flowers are like Prozac for me, they uplift my spirits like a fine wine with out the side-effect.
Now that I've finally learned a thing or two and yanked out all the strawberry plants to be replaced by colorful perennials, I say, " Behold Neighbors! My new cutting flower garden boxes. Of course I want to go crazy, I bought scores of perennials those that bloom Spring-to-Fall mostly-as a novice gardener and artist I want long lasting COLOR, why have a garden otherwise, say I.

Yesterday, I and annoyed husband–("I've got work to do!")–pulled out densely packed Day Lillies, milkweed that was growing between them, grass and other assorted weed-crap. I gave up on trying to weed around these flowers, it was too hard. I felt like I was pulling weeds out of concrete. I replanted some and placed a lot in back behind a fence that covers the piles of leaves and compost and what not. My hope they will naturalize and pretty-up the area. The strawberry plants went there too, in hopes that they will continue to spread and interested fauna would rather chew on them then my flowers. Maybe I should print up a menu for them and post:"MUNCH HERE, NOT OVER THERE".


 By last night my creative juices were flowing so I bought some used clothing off  eBay to make an elegant scarecrow. I searched Youtube for directions to make a sturdy one, but didn't find anything to my liking. So stay tuned as I create my own scarecrow. Directions and pictures too. My goal is to make a garden to make a noble old home proud and to entertain us and the folks who walk by our place.

In the mean time, here's the ten things I've learned as a novice gardener:
1. Buy the blue Hosta's with thicker-waxy-like leaves, harder for whatever it is that chews the crap out of the other ones.
2. Don't buy dyed mulch
3. Use Newspaper or fabric or both, then pile Four inches of un-dyed mulch on top to discourage weeds from growing-four inches being the target number.
4. Some people hate mint but I plan to pack a bunch in to crowd out weeds, besides you can always sell what you pull up on Craigslist.
5. Look at other people's yards to see what does well and buy those shrubs that you like.
6. Hydrangeas solve a lot of problems and even look good when dry. Think Nantucket.
7.  Don't be so anxious to plant like I am as you will have to dig up at a later date and re-arrange for a better display. Planting flowers and shrubs is like arranging furniture.
8. Think twice about buying stuff that has runners, like Forsythia unless you want to populate a whole area.
9. If you're a lazy gardener or have little time, think twice about growing tall flowers with delicate stems, after a storm your garden will look bushwhacked. They'll be lying flat on their faces.
10. If you grow a cutting flower garden you will have birthday gifts available Spring-Fall, unless you live in warmer climates then you have more access to instant gifts.

Oh and here's one of my newest magnets for the novice and not-so-novice gardner, it can be purchased here: smirkinggoddess