Well, first of all, thanks for reading all the gardening journey posts. As best I could, I have taken you every step with me from the vague idea of creating a front yard garden in 2014 up to the end of the first season. A lot of sweat went into prepping and tending the garden, and almost nothing turned out as expected. Most of the coneflowers didn’t make it back. I ruined the butterfly bush, and the first black-eyed Susans were annuals, not perennials as marked. But that’s OK; it was a learning experience.
The next spring, having spent winter thinking about the next steps, I was ready to start anew—slightly older and much wiser. By then, I had read more books and found additional nurseries. Watering had ceased to be a mystery, and more time could be spent learning from observation. To add color, I planted catmint and daylilies, resulting in an early spring lavender spray with peachy highlights every year since. The hummingbirds soon heard about the salvia and joined in with the bees.
In that second year, I realized I had a “Death Valley,” an area close to the house where everything planted dies. I learned this after watching saliva, coneflowers, speedwell, and geum shuffle off their mortal coils. Year two also brought the knowledge that aphids can be washed off plants with a stream of water and will cease to be a problem—a useful fact picked up from who knows where.
In year five, it finally occurred to me that the plants bordering the sidewalk had to deal with higher surface temps and drier soil than those closer in. As a result, I removed the liriope, which always looked sickly by August, and tried ice plant and scaveloa. Neither made it, but verbena and angelonia are thriving in the heat this year.
Now in the middle of season six, perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned is patience. Gardens take time. Like people, plants have to find a place they are comfortable, and they must get along with their neighbors. Looking back, thinking of all the worry and planning and missteps, I don’t regret one moment. And if I had to start all over again, I would, and I would definitely take many more pictures.
One would think that having all the perennials in place would make the garden boring after a while. Nope. Even with the same plants, it changes every year. Last year there was a big spray of crocosmia, this year back to normal. One year, the gardenia was so full of blossoms that it looked like a bowl of popcorn—this year, it’s resting on its laurels. The coneflowers, which developed an illness and were sickly for a few years, this year and last have had so many flowers that I had to stake them. The bell flowers which bloomed briefly, and died—so I thought—came back with full force pushing aside what I thought would be their replacements.
Well, as I promised a few months ago, this is the story of how the Martian landscape became a garden, and a place for me and my guests, welcome and otherwise. I’ll keep tinkering and adding to it when a place opens, but mostly I’ll be enjoying the view. You should too.