Sunday, April 6, 2008

A day in the dirt

So much of Tom Spencer's talk about gardens has stayed with me today. The notion of a "gathering in" and careful observation in particular. A friend gave me this sign, which is both a physical truth and a metaphorical one. I'm pretty much always in my garden, whether in actual reality or when lying awake at night thinking about where on my little plot I could manage to plant an allee of Sky Pencil Hollies (ilex crenata). I saw these at Home Repo for $9.98 and am now somewhat obsessed with finding a place for them in my yard.

The backyard pink bed is doing well, all the cosmos are filling in the space between the roses. My plan to define the end of this bed with a wall of aspidistras is clearly not going to work--too much sun. I think a wall of rosemary or boxwood would do better. Next weekend I'll rip out these poor things and put them somewhere shady.

Meanwhile the front yard bed, which is all white flowers, blue agaves, prickly pear and gray-foliage perennials, continues to infuriate me with its slow growth. I am not a patient person; it's a wonder I managed to raise two children without resorting to mayhem. But this front bed is testing my very soul. I thought I had done a pretty good job of preparing the soil, but clearly things are struggling and I assume it must be oxygen deprivation. Salvia coccinea, brought from my Vale house, should be about a foot tall by now. The only things that really seem happy are the iceberg roses and the white plumbago. In despair, I filled in some of the empty spaces with white lantana and white salvia greggii today.

One bright spot is the appearance of buds on the prickly pear pads. I just snapped these cactus off the mother plant at Vale and stuck them in the ground hoping like hell they would make it. And lo, they have. This is my favorite landscape cactus, it has a velvety gray-green patina and is spineless. I love it paired with the roses.


Lori said...

I'm with you as an impatient gardener. I've tried just about everything to make my plants grow faster, and the one thing I swear by is SuperThrive. It's a growth hormone that you add to the water when you water your plants. I use a little more than the directions call for, but it doesn't seem to hurt and my plants have gotten huge. I found mine at Lowe's, but I know The Natural Gardener and Barton Springs Nursery both carry it. :)

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to hear more of your trip! So sorry I didn't get there but I will be waiting for your email when you come to RI. I can show you some gardens! Love that shot of the lawn. We do love our lawns and with good reason!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

"Home Repo" - LOL! Can I call it that too? I find that gardening has helped me develop (taught me?)patience. I definitely needed it.

Dawn said...

Your garden sign is very pretty. Yes to being 'in' your garden in more ways than one.

Good luck filling in your White Front Garden. May all your plants double in size in record time. :-)

Libby at Aurora Primavera said...

I'm not sure I'll have time. Grace is now engaged and there is to be a party, between that and commencement activities our weekend is packed. But I'll keep your offer in mind, in case plans change.