Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Novice Gardener Digs a Hole

 The rain stopped long enough for me to plant a flat of sage.
The pots were mercifully small, which meant tiny holes and minimal exertion;
but I had no idea where to plant the herbs.

My family keeps saying, "Less is more."
They know how I am. But I took their advice and planted a dinky
row in one bed and a messy clump (don't ask) in another.

I thought gardening would be a simple matter of digging a hole--okay, a bunch of holes--
and adding plants. They would "magic" themselves into a fetching arrangement by height and color. Images on Pinterest and Houzz reinforced this idea.
In my mind's eye, I imagined a garden like this:
 The perennials (dutifully purchased in "fives") are going on the path.

The verbena, ivy, and mums are earmarked for our neglected urns.

My plan was to begin with a few yellow mums and verbena for a summery but transitional look. Then, in September, I would buy burnt orange mums, pumpkins, gourds, and hay stacks.

Armed with potting soil and Gatoraid, I slogged into the steamy August afternoon.

I really tried to follow the "thrill, fill, and spill" formula, but honestly, I couldn't find a single thriller at Home Depot. The thrills were probably there, but my novice eyes could not see them. I opted for stumpy ivy and vine-like verbena.
  Anything would be an improvement, right?
Small mums went into the lone concrete urn (you can see my Christmas urn
disaster HERE.)

I was perspiring mightily by the time I attacked the little wire planter, which
has suffered. The weeds and old dirt came out, and fresh dirt went in,
along with a tiny mum and a few vines.

 My husband had played a joke the other day by sticking the camellia in the old
bee skep, and then shoving the arrangement into another Lone Urn. I
added a larger mum, a sprawling verbena, ivy, and spider plants.
 More is okay in my book.
A large verbena went into the broken concrete urn, spruced up with fillers and spillers.
I added hydrangeas to amuse myself, though my mother swears they'll last for weeks.
Four planters, and I'm wasted.
I'm about to faint. But first I must water my little darlings. Then the porch needs to be hosed down.

Now I've got to figure out how to plant my clumps of "five."
Nevermind that everything is the same height.
Nevermind that False Dragonwhatevers are invasive and prolific.
I'm worried about digging fifteen holes.
It's tricksy.
Will says that August is the wrong time to plant. He's right. But I am in the grip of a green fever and will not be deterred. In my mind's eye, I see tall clumps of purple-blue Russian Sage at the far end of the path. And over here, I see mounds of coneflowers. Everything will sort of flow like a colorful river.
Ain't gonna happen.
Every time my shovel hits the ground, I discover irrigation hoses and electrical wires. Who knew??
I absolutely don't want to nick anything. So the plants will go where they must go.
Wear boots, not ballerina flats

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  1. Your poor dear - having a garden is not for sissy's. My hat's off to you for trying to plant all those flowers. I would be passed out laying in the grass. Plant early before the sun is blazing.
    I would hire someone from Home Depot and place the flowers where you want them and have them plant. It's well worth the money. I always have something for the gardeners to plant. I pay for full service as when I get down on my knees I can't get up LOL.
    Your garden will be terrific, Ca hardly wait to see it. Stop by my blog and see my gardens and hummers.
    Have a great week.

    1. Well, it rained all night, and it's still pouring. No gardening today. (At least the goats didn't eat the coneflowers during the night.) I am hoping that Bandwidth will help after his hand heals. My DH has not felt well, and I won't let him dig 15 holes. HD might be a great option. Thanks!

  2. You are a better gardener then me....when it gets hot...I skip it! Yesterday was a scorcher but weirdly enough, today is supposed to be perfect for gardening here in the hopefully it will head your way! Your flowers look great. August is "sometimes", due to the heat the wrong time to plant but it is the right time to buy and you got some good ones!

    1. It's pouring rain today. If it stops, I'll go pull weeds, which I have in abundance. You're right--the bargains are plentiful this time of year!

  3. You just wrote my gardening life. In my mind it all looks like pic 4, in reality, well not so much. It maybe that I forgot the gatorade. You made me laugh today. Thanks.

    1. I can add another laugh: My husband's baby peacocks arrived today via the post office at 6 am, and he set up a nursery in our basement. Lots of oddbpeeping. DH is still at it. Back and forth.

  4. It will all come together in a beautiful way. That's the thing about gardens, they are very forgiving and as a wise old dirt dabber (my grandmother) once told me, "Gardening is all about moving stuff".

    Bee balm would be a beautiful addition to your garden, it grows about waist high on me, I am 5 feet 7 inches. The gorgeous flowers are red and attract lots of bees and butterflies, hummingbirds like it also. I planted bee balm seven years ago when we moved in our home and it comes back every year with little care. I water sometimes and enjoy the flowers for months and months during the summer. It makes a lovely backdrop against shorter plants and does well in our humid, hot Tennessee weather.

    Lemon balm is also a wonderful addition and it fills in spaces rapidly. It also requires little care and is tasty in recipes and teas. It can be a bit invasive so be careful where you place it, it does well in containers too. Wish you lived closer I would share some of my plants with you.

    That's it for my gardening expertise today, lol.

    Once again, blessing to you and Rattlebridge Farm.

    1. I love your suggestions! I'll remember your grandmother's wise words. Thank you.

  5. Oops, forgot to mention the wonderful aroma that bee balm has. The lemon balm also smells just like fresh lemons. Yummy!

    1. I'll look for both. I'd love to attract hummers.

  6. It has been so hot and humid here that I haven't spent as much time as I need to care for my garden -early hours or late evening hours are my favorite in the summer. The the plants that will thrive will become your friends, I enjoy spending time outdoors seeing who is showing me their best, showing how to take the heat - recently, Sarah at Hyacinths for the Soul shared her Texas garden - I am making note of some of her plants - theire gorgeous! I figure if they can survive Texas heat - they can survive here in Georgia - also, I am putting off my plans until October...

    1. love your description of the relationship you have with your garden. That's how I'm going to look at it! There will be ups, downs, betrayals, faithfulness, and absenses.
      I love Sarah's garden. I saw a type of Camilla at HD that claims to survive TN's take-no-prisoners policy in winter. Do you have luck with camillas? Would love one but need to wait for the rain to stop (flood warnings were just issued). Itching to plant my long-necked pretties before the goats eat them.

  7. I think you did a wonderful job on your pots and your yard looks devine...just let the pots get settled in and they will go crazy I am sure...I also love the beautiful pots, wow you have some beauties...thanks for sharing, stop over for a visit and see my jungle....

  8. I admire your perseverance! You did it - you got out there and dug those holes and filled those urns! Be proud - it's sweat well worth it!

  9. This is looking terrific. You could remove every
    other sage for another spot as they each get huge!
    Your on your way to wonderful!

    1. Thank you, Bernideen. My husband needs sage in his garden, so I have the perfect spot.

  10. ML, that is A LOT to do in one day!! No wonder you were beat. Of course, once you're dirty & getting into it, I want to just get 'er done.

    "Wear boots, not ballerina flats" LOL Great advice...also gloves ALWAYS! Jan from the blog, Bessie Mary was bitten by a snake while digging & I know a gal who almost lost her thumb from a vicious spider bite. Yuck!

    May I recommend giving the flowers some Peter's Plant food? You'll be rewarded with LOTS of blooms...better than Miracle Grow, IMHO.

    Your pots & urns look lovely already & once they fill out, they will be spectacular. You'll have to remember to show us.

    1. I had completely forgotten about Peter's Special! Thanks!

  11. You may need more room. My one sage plant is about two feet wide. It's five years old, but they get very big.

  12. You got a lot accomplished - You did good! Sorry - I am of no help when it comes to planting herbs. My planting is only in pots these days, and can't keep a rosemary plant alive even in a pot. The beds need reworking, and what little is left is barely hanging on, as they just don't get enough sun. Except for the vinca vine that seems to survive the worst conditions.
    Hope you have not had any flooding in your area. Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. The rain finally stopped late this afternoon--now bullfrogs are croaking. I'm ready for sun--aren't you?

  13. your garden will be gorgeous, its always survival of the fittest and they will push and grow and meld and blend and wow and enchant, ONEST! what kind of sage is that, personally less is best for that, if its like mine it grows 4'... there are 100s of varieties, but that does not look a small one~

    armed with gatorade, cracks me up, like a real team player! your steps look fabulous!

    i always plant in 3's or 5's, they will fill in wonderfully that way.
    try like this, not to close of you will stunt the perennials, annuals yes, you want a wow factor.

    x x
    x x x

    1. Thank you, Jain! Valuable info here. I'll try the XX method.