Cultivating My Garden

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.
 ~ Cicero
I can’t believe I’ve never come across this quotation before today, but I’m beginning to believe it.  Certainly few things give me as much pleasure as do reading and working in my garden.
I haven’t shared any pictures since the beginning of May.  I was waiting to be “finished” with the garden.  Not that I won’t plant anything else this summer–I expect I will–but I wanted to get more dirt, mulch the whole thing, and get the grass mowed before I photographed it.  That was last weekend’s project, and I should have taken pictures of myself as well as the garden, because I was a sight to behold.  I just can’t wear gloves when I garden, so my hands are always dirty, but this time I had dirt just all over me.  And I was so sore the next day!
Last year, I would only garden for an hour at a time.  I just didn’t have the energy.  That’s not true this year, but I’m still not as limber as I’d like to be.  Maybe that, too, will improve, as I lose more weight and exercise more.
Shall I show you some pictures of what I’ve accomplished this year?
I was so excited that my peony bloomed this year!  I planted peonies years ago and grew them for three years without a bloom, so I wasn’t expecting this to happen.  I love peonies so much.  They are old-fashioned and the smell just says “May” to me.  They were some of the flowers we used to take to school for the May Procession when I was a little girl.
Peony
Remember me griping about the trouble I was having with the climbing rosebush in my last garden post?  Here’s a picture after we fixed it–at least for now.  I wanted an arbor to go over the sidewalk, and I used some of my Mother’s Day money to buy one, but when we got it home we discovered it wouldn’t fit across the sidewalk.  So we took it back, having measured the sidewalk this time, and soon discovered that anything that would be wide enough was also prohibitively expensive.  So we got a taller trellis, but even it had to be tied to the porch post due to the heaviness of the roses.
hot garden
I’m not really a fan of cut carnations, but growing in the garden they are another story!  Most of the other plants you see here are annuals.  I plant a few to fill in, especially blue ones, because blue perennials seem to be rare.
purple garden 2
These lilies were planted before I came up with the color scheme for the garden.  They don’t really go here, but I hate to disturb them.
Garden 2
Here are the rest of them, on the side where they go!
Garden 4
These purple coneflowers–echinacea–are in full bloom right now.  I planted them last year and they are enormous.  Y’all, you really should pay attention to the tags that come with the plants that tell you how big they are going to get.  I’ve got things growing all on top of and in front of each other.  It’s a mess.
Garden 3
garden 12
garden
We need our little friend to pollinate our flowers!
garden 5
Garden 3
I planted two of these salvia plants last year.  I moved one because they were way too close together.  This is the one I left, and it is HUGE.  And it’s got little babies next to it, too.  I did not know it would do that.  Next year I will have several of them to spread around the garden.
salvia angel 2
Garden angels are nice to have.
IMG_1266
The plant in the center is Mexican heather.  It’s an annual in this climate, but it gets really big and if there is no polar vortex this winter it might come back.  And even if it doesn’t I may just plant it every year because I like it.
garden 2
In these pictures you are seeing gazania, zinnias, and daisies, and a bunch of other things that either already finished blooming or haven’t started yet.  I have to be honest–I must prefer the other side of the garden.  For one thing, I like the cool colors more.  But more important, this side is hemmed in by the sidewalk so there is only so much room, and there is a lot of shade, which limits what I can do.  Plus the cats use it as a litterbox, and I think that kills some things, frankly.
garden 13
garden
I saw this coreopsis just last weekend when I was at Lowe’s buying mulch and dirt. I wasn’t supposed to be buying any more flowers but I couldn’t resist this, and it bit just perfectly in that spot where something else had died.
garden 4
Here’s the mint side of the mailbox garden.
Mailbox Garden 4
And here’s the cooking herbs side.
Mailbox Garden 2
I really do cook with them, but isn’t it nice they are pretty too?  I have sage, oregano, several kinds of basil, oregano. rosemary, and lavender, among others.
Mailbox Garden 3
Here’s the back view, with this little friend:
Mailbox Garden 1
And here he is again, with daylilies all around him.
garden 6
I don’t know whose bright idea it was to plant just one of these lilies here, but it’s so tall and majestic it makes a statement of its own.
garden 7
Here’s the whole “hot” garden as it looks today.
garden 9
Here’s the “cool” one, and you can see all the mulching I did!
garden 10
And here’s the whole thing, with the grass super-short, to make John happy.
garden 11
If you want to read more of my gardening posts, visit these links:
In the Garden
In the Garden II
A Work in Progress
And if you have any easy perennials to recommend to me as I continue my quest to go lawn-free, tell me in the comments!

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