Sunday, July 6, 2008
Cannas or flags, Lantana, Echinacea and Purple Sage
Echinacea and Lantana
Discovering perennial plants and groupings took me years of studying magazines. When I first became interested in gardening some people found my puny efforts pretty hilarious. I began with annuals because I didn't really have any knowledge of plants, bulbs, shrubs, none of the above. What I had were memories.
I loved my Grandfathers gardens. He liked the Japanese style, no grass at all. He had little red bridges, and ceramic critters like turtles, and frogs. He built a little miniature Tiki hut. His yard had a central area with a walking path all around it, and then an outer edge. He loved to make secret hideaway spots of surprise. He also had a covered patio with potted fuchsias, and fish in a large tank that he built into a wall. It was an incredible work of art. It took him 15 years to accomplish. He had other gardens too. They had a very large place in Oakland California, with 3 levels of yard, it was probably several acres terraced into a hillside. Mills college bought their estate for the women's school.
My mother used to make a cottage spring garden out of annuals, she planted snapdragons, pansy's, petunias, daisies, and gladiolas. Her plantings were a riot of color and fun. She was the exact opposite of my Grandfather's more formal style.
Not to give the wrong impression of my Grandpa who had a great sense of humour. He could plan elaborate hoaxes. He was a native immigrant from Denmark. When some of his family came for a visit he sewed large oranges to a tree in his yard and then watered until everything was much to muddy to get up close. I don't think it was even an orange tree. He was bragging about the year round fruit production; anyway they fell for it. HA HA, made his day.
Gardening, emotions, and memories are all very intertwined. The beginning is the desire to make an area more attractive. It can grow into wanting to create a special place, or a secret surprise. My goal began developing when I realized that perennials can come up year after year and the spring, summer, and fall plants can share a bed. Now we're talking! Flowers popping up all by themselves all year long, one peters out and another replaces it. Yep, my kind of garden. That became my focus. Each year I added to the beds. One summer I realized they were full. One fall I had blooming plants until Christmas. I realized then I had accomplished a perennial bed. So here are some of my favorites.
Blue sage, always a nice addition and very hardy. Bees love sage. Color groupings can always be softened by adding blues and purples. A variety of green foliage is fun too as there are an endless variety of shades of green and shapes in leaves. Shade gardening is a delight to me. I haven't much shade but I am working on that by planting trees.
I buy inexpensive trees the little twigs, they catch up much quicker than buying an expensive large tree. Trees that are pot bound have a hard time establishing spreading root systems, they tend to keep the pot bound shape even when set free. All our trees were planted when very young and are very healthy.
Enjoy the journey. Identify your style. Experiment, rearrange and share cutting with your friends and neighbors. I love it that my Lambs Ears came from Debbie in CA, from the Felton garden. We have an old red rose from Daddy BB's grandmothers place, just got a clipping, and my wisteria came from his uncles property. I have packed up the Irises for years they have been in probably 4 different yards, and I never take them all so a share stays behind to multiply. Another friend gave me Columbine seeds. If you want some I'll be glad to share. Morning glories reseed and so do a lot of other annuals. Nature still works her wonders in any garden, the happy accidents that come up all on their own can be the prettiest of all. So get your trowels and get busy.