Monday, February 06, 2017

Suburban Gardening-Decade in

My front porch in October.  


I'm tired of deep meaningful conversations.  
My therapist has me doing an intense weekly delve into my childhood trauma.  
Good work that needs to be done.

My country is in a state of turmoil.
My metaphorical neighbors are having a hard time loving each other.
Everyone wants to be right
and have that mean that the other guy is wrong.
I don't want to talk about that either.

This peony was given to me by my Grandmother...it is simultaneously loud and gracious, just like us.
My church is struggling to find a voice
that doesn't magically sooth every single perspective and member
and still stands for the poor, downtrodden, and dis-enfranchised.
you know...
like Jesus did.
I can't even talk about that.

So I'm going to post some pictures
and some yard tips
that should illustrate somewhat
how my yard is doing since I wrote that long ago post.
Hellebore beside my porch....sneaky winter flowers.

I was going to try and post side by side pictures.
But that got technical real quick.
And it is winter and all.
So I decided to post some shots of flowers in this over grown,
matured and well-loved
suburban yard.

When we moved in, our soil was literally rubble.
Left over from the build.
There were some plants in the tiny yard.
But they were haphazardly placed
and relatively unimaginative.
Daffodils in a sea of lime green Creeping Jenny


Here is a little of what I know about gardening in small spaces.....

1. Color and texture should be in every space of your garden.
Every damn space.
Don't forget to look high and low.
Yes, the space should flow but...
make little vignettes OFTEN.

I have two camellia plants in my yard-one is a fall bloomer, one is a winter bloomer.  
In addition to cut flowers, they look great in the yard,
provide foliage for Christmas crafts
and a place for birds to perch.
They are also NONBORING (helleri hollie..i'm looking at you)
backdrop for smaller shrubs and perennials.
They are distinct, add their own beauty AND allow other plants to shine.

C. japonica-the winter bloomer.

3.  Set a color palette and keep to it
By the front bed....Purple Heart, Loropetalum, Impatiens, Hydrangea, Creeping Jenny
This is the hardest one for me. 
Because I love them all...all the flowers.
All the time.
I have been mostly successful sticking to lime greens and hot pinks
 with a dash of purple or yellow thrown in.
It works for me.
If I am tempted in early spring or fall then I turn 
the back deck into a short term color wheel.
The perennials all fall into this color scheme and so prevent my chaotic, overplanted yard
from LOOKING chaotic or overplanted.
Mostly.

4. BUY WELL
Annuals are like costume jewelry...made to overdo it.  
They won't last and you can never (rarely) have too many
 as long as you stick to a color palette.
Perennials are like precious jewelry.  
Invest in pieces you'll love forever.
Perennials are trees, bushes, and perennial flowering plants.
Carefully consider each purchase of these.

Also....you can't just plop a tree in the middle of the yard and expect to have a garden.
Here's an idea of the scale of plants you'll need:
For every tree, try to add at least 3 bushes.
For every bush, try to add at least 3 perennials (I prefer 5).
For every perennial, try to add at least 3 annuals.

If you keep to this rule, you'll have layers of height.
But in a small space, you also have to know how tall that tree is getting
and how wide that bush will be.
They're like baby lions...cute when they're little but they grow fast.
Pick well in small spaces....
Find an evergreen bush that also blooms and or bears fruit.
It is possible.
Get at least 3 seasons out of each perennial plant.
Spring flowers, summer shade, fall color and something interesting in the winter.
Beautyberry...worth every square inch of my garden that it takes up.

4.  Mix in beauty and usefulness
There is no reason that you can't have flowers and edible plants even in tiny spaces.
Mix them in together.
Buy dwarf varieties for pots and patios but also consider them in the yard.
Tomatoes are exotic and beautiful.
Lettuce can fill in for sprint annuals.
Kale and cabbage love to be with pansies.
We mix in veg with annuals often...but we also finally gave in
 and planted a side vegetable bed.
It is beautiful and functional.


Two views of our garden.....the first is late late summer-
pansies went in with the marigolds, 
tomatoes are done
greens and fall crops are planted
parsley and peppers are still kicking



This shot is very early spring.
Purple kale is huge
Carrots are ready to go anytime
pansies still peaking out
spring peas are climbing the trellis' on the sides
(we had to ring it with rabbit wire because the bunnies were eating us out of veg)


 We are a decade in.....once again life proves that in spite of 
concrete, runoff, poor drainage...LIFE WINS.
You can overcome any challenge as long as you keep trying
and you don't even have to try that hard.
Just keep at it, one pile of compost and one cup of water at a time.

This tiny garden is awesome and amazing.
It doesn't stop for elections, tax designations or denominational struggles.
It just keeps powering through.
And that is something to remember when you just can't even.



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