Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Year I Learned to Garden

Why of all the years to take up gardening did I have to choose the one with enough rain to float an ark? As a wee child, I never grew up thinking I would be a weeder and yet here I stand, spending nearly every nice weekend moment outside in my yard weeding. No sooner have I cleaned a patch up, then we get gallons of more rain and they sprout up again.

Back in April I believe it was, I told BD I wanted a flower bed in the front yard that mimicked the shape of our patio in the backyard. I had read a helpful hint in a home design book a while ago suggesting the use of a hose to outline the design that you want your bed to be. BD agreed that this was an awesome plan, so we used this trick to dig out a space in the front of our house. And then I had my bed, but not a clue what to do with it. I started looking up garden plans on the Internet to try to find some inspiration for how to set it up and what to put in it. What I finally decided on was this prairie garden plan in the small garden plan on the Better Homes and Gardens website. It's no secret that I love the color purple, so I wanted that to dominate. I also wanted to try to use as many native plants as possible.

As you can tell, my final plan is only loosely based on the BHG one and about half the plants have already bloomed this year. We dug the bed around an existing rhododendron and left the whole back area pretty clear because we still need to replace the lattice work under the front porch. Our neighborhood also has enough cats to start its own cat army, so I also employed the liberal use of marigolds as a feline deterrent. The original plan called for eight different kinds of plants, but I chose to only use three of them: purple coneflower, black eyed susan, and creeping phlox adding in all the marigolds, midnight salvia, and a couple of other purple flowers whose names escape me. Next year I'm toying with the idea of adding clematis, prairie blazing star, and/or alliums, but this year's work just about the broke the bank, so those will have to wait for now. I'd also love to try some heather or some lavender.

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