Mima loved to garden. There were flowerbeds everywhere–at the road, next to the carport, around the tree, right in front of the front porch, by the back porch. She did all her own gardening right up until she had her first stroke.
As a child, I didn’t think much about gardening. Houseplants were my mother’s thing. But she knew the names of all the shrubs and flowers because Mima did, and so I grew up with an awareness of and appreciation for gardeners and growing things.
When we moved into our first house in 1995, I don’t remember what made me decide to start planting things, but I’ll bet Mima had something to do with it. She probably started me off with a flat of pansies or something. Her gardening was heavy on the annuals, with a nice side of irises and peonies. She and I would go to Wal-Mart together and she would pay for the flowers for me. She always had an extra bag of topsoil or mulch in the trunk of her car when I needed one. When I wanted to plant about 50 daffodil bulbs, she came over and sat with the babies. I am sure she was happy to find that I enjoyed gardening as much as she did.
But for some reason, I stopped. You would think that if I managed to plant almost 30 rosebushes and an equal number of azalea bushes, as well as huge amounts of bulbs of all sorts, all while I had at least two kids at home, that I would have been able to accomplish even more as they grew older, and I had only one baby around at a time! But that’s not what happened. We moved in 2001, and over the next eight years I naturalized some crocuses, tried to keep the existing roses weeded, fought with poison ivy, and that’s about it. Every now and then I would order some plants through the mail like I used to, and like as not they would end up dying before I could plant them. I did set out some Autumn Joy Sedum that Mima gave me early on, but at some point my efforts ground to a halt.
The burned down house never felt like home. It never felt permanent or safe, and I didn’t plant a thing there, or feel like doing it. So that was two more years of no gardening. I thought I had lost interest in it.
We moved into this house in September, too late to plant anything other than mums (which I did plant, although I’ve never had much luck). And as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I didn’t do much more than pull up weeds throughout the following year.
But this year around my birthday something woke up inside me. I took my birthday money and started buying plants. I was almost scared to START gardening for fear I wouldn’t be able to keep it up. But I made some changes based on my available time and energy that have enabled me to be successful.
- I only buy a few things to plant at a time
- I don’t spend more than about an hour at a time gardening. When I get tired, I stop.
- In the summer, I waited until twilight when it was cooler to even start working.
- I plant mostly perennials so theoretically I will have less and less to do every year!
So what did I plant? Well, I wish I could remember . . . I didn’t write it down! I didn’t draw a plan! I wish I had. I still plan to go out and make a diagram before it’s all gone so that I will know what’s where next Spring! One thing’s for sure, I am going to have a lot of dividing to do as I planted things so close together they are covering each other up!
Short list of what perennials I know I put in for sure: One peony bush, three azalea bushes, two kinds of creeping thyme, one dwarf nandina, one butterfly bush, Mexican heather, Autumn Joy sedum, purple salvia, dianthus, phlox, a couple of hostas, leftover church Easter lilies, and Black-eyed Susans.
So I will close with some of my favorite pictures. And as far as annuals go, let me make a plug for zinnias. Those things are freaking amazing! I only wish they were perennials! I will absolutely plant them again.
I, too, love to garden. I have been growing plants from the time we got a house when my boys were little. Now, that I am older, I rely on perennials with some annuals thrown in for more bloom. I also grew Castor bean plants so I could make hypertufa bird baths. If you have small children, you don’t want to grow these as the seeds are poisoness. Although, the plants are so tall, I don’t know how the children would get to them. 🙂