Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Impatient Gardener Learning Patience

When we moved to this house 11 years ago this month, there were no flower beds in the back garden and the front was a mess. Over the years we dug beds, planted the cedar hedge for privacy on two sides, and I transplanted these irises from the front garden. 

I'd read about developing a master plan for a garden and thought it a good idea, going so far as to scratch out a general plan on a piece of paper and make a list of what I should get at the nursery. Shrubs that would provide interest during the dormant months, colorful perennials for summer blooms, trees for some architecture. However, I'm easily led astray by plant nurseries, and came home with few things on my list and a lot of pretty things like a buddleia that promised to grow to 15 feet in the first year, vinca that would quickly fill in and cover the soil, and so on. Friends and relatives gave me clippings that I accepted with gratitude, just wanting to have a pretty garden. It didn't take long before the lovely Snow on the Mountain (Aegopodium podagraria 'variegatum') and the Lamb's Ears (Stachys byzantina) and the purple Vinca took over. 

I managed to keep things at bay with serious clipping and pulling out and cutting back, but when we moved away for two years, the renters just let things go. I can't blame them. So last year, after moving back into our home, I became ruthless. My first task in the spring was to dig out all of those invasive plants. I dug up the soil and sifted through it, searching for stray roots that would produce perky stems of the very plants I was trying to eliminate. Of course I was not totally successful. Persistent pulling out last summer and now again this spring has the plants mostly gone. I'll be equally persistent this year.

Then we decided to clear the back corner for a new garden shed, which will likely be built in the fall or next summer. And add a block border which finishes off the beds very well, and has the added bonus of providing a place for Little Miss A to walk along. So there's more empty spaces. This year we added some fruit trees and in the fall I'll be dividing perennials.  When I purchase perennials, like the creeping phlox and the blue flowers whose name escapes me just now, I verify by reading the tag and inquiring of the knowledgeable folk at the nursery that these plants will mound nicely and contain themselves politely.

The rock rings are where I've seeded cosmos, annuals that never fail to provide lots of color and texture to my garden. I can move them where I want them once they sprout and grow a little. Elsewhere I have piles of large and medium-sized rocks, placed here and there, artistically, in my view, although my husband thinks them a bit odd. Dahlias and other plants (like the uber-friendly vinca) in pots fill in more of the blank spots. I'm determined, this year, at last, to wait.

Happily, I don't have to wait quite so long for other things - like the lettuce and rainbow chard. They grow fast and I'm happy to start cutting and consuming. 

So tell me that I'm not the only impatient gardener out there. Please? 


  1. Lorrie, I LOVE what you've done with your garden! I bet the garden is happy to have your loving, patient hands working in it again. Your lettuce and chard look delicious. Have a great week.

  2. No you are not - I always have this image in my mind that never quite happens! I like the idea of the little pebble rings as I so often plant seeds and then accidentally dig them up again having forgotten where I put them!

  3. Wow looking so sweet..
    Hugs x

  4. hello lorrie,
    love what you have done with your garden!It looks wonderful. like the iris!
    wish you a nice week,
    love and hugs regina

  5. Patience is a key ingredient for any gardener, you are right about that! Your garden does look wonderful!

  6. I know all to well how much work it is to tend to big flower gardens! It's looking lovely! And I really like the addition of the rocks.

  7. Isn't it strange how some of the most lovely and sweet-smelling plants are so invasive? How I'd love to have a bed of Lily of the Valley, yet it is a horrid thing taking over the world in short order. Or Lupines...so lovely...so invasive. Sigh. Your garden looks glorious and I know that it will be where you want it one day with continued perseverance. I'm delighted that I don't care as much as you do, though. =D And I'm already weary of the raised bed that John worked so hard to create for me last year and secretly I wish that it were gone so I didn't have to think about it. Some days, I am easily overwhelmed.

  8. I'm not too impatient - but do love a garden when it takes shape. Unlike you - I want the invasive, the fast growing. They fill up spots and I love the wild look of that type of garden - and gardening is less stressful and not so much waiting for things to fill in. Love your photos - it is a very pretty garden.

  9. No you are not the only impatient gardener for sure. I always tell myself that a garden is always in transition and never finished. Your garden is quite beautiful!

  10. The title certainly caught my eye...I'm impatient..and things do not grow and take over up here like they do on the coast.

    They grow Bishops weed as a ground cover here, and it's well behaved...enough said..lol.

    Nothing takes over here..

    I love the idea of the rock circles...why didn't I think of doing that..I keep wandering through the beds looking for the scratched up dirt...now that could be either the new seeds I planted or Boo.


  11. Your garden looks lovely Lorrie. I am impatiently waiting for a stone block retaining wall that my hubby promised the last 2 summers for my sad looking rock garden. It would look so much better and I could add more soil plants to make it look prettier. Having cut down a lot of trees this spring has opened up the yard to new ideas with trees or shrubs but we haven't even looked yet. And the possibility of putting in a large shed will eliminate one sad flower bed but who knows when that will happen. I am impatient indeed! I planted sunflower seeds and should have marked them with small rocks like you did. Great idea! But, it's raining again so it will have to wait. Pam

  12. LOVE your garden and the block border!
    Our land has been in transition since we moved here some 20+ years ago. Every year I come up with goals for the different parts of the garden...
    currently we are trying to 'tame' our bamboo, redoing the paths that lead through the Japanese-style garden, naturalizing a pond, possibly replacing an old shed, etc., etc.
    Enjoy the beauty of your gardens!
    Blessings, Aimee
    PS: Yep, constantly dealing with impatience here too:)

  13. "I'm easily led astray by plant nurseries" LOL Likewise, I'm sure!!!
    Your garden looks lovely & well cared for. I know they are a lot of work but I keep telling myself it is good for me to bend.

    I've got lily of the valley encroaching on mint which is trying to take over an entire corner of the house. I just keep pulling & digging. I use mint probably TWICE a year & could just kick myself for ever planting it.

    BTW, a belated happy Victoria Day! You table was very pretty & I enjoyed learning about it.


  14. It's looking lovely over there...in your garden. We plant and then wait impatiently. And a few years down the road we prune with a vengeance and pull out shrubs that are just too large. That's where I am at now...nine years after planting.

  15. Lorrie, to me you seem an intentional gardener. Gardening is not one of my strong suits. Your garden is loved and nurtured, and it is beautiful because of it.

  16. Beautiful garden...
    I am wanting to fill my north facing window box with something bright and pretty but it only has a couple hours of sunshine in the afternoon...must plant shade lovers.
    Wish I knew as much about gardening as you. :(

  17. Your garden is looking wonderful, Lorrie. I've been a bit impatient with a mock orange I planted a few years ago that appears to be slow growing. I'd had visions of it filling one particular corner and smelling heavenly each spring. Patience.

  18. Your garden is lovely. I find it gets to a nice place and then suddenly everything is overgorwn. Sometimes I wish one could just stop the growth after a time. =) gardening and caring for grands... there are some comparisons, I guess...


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