Among the things I’m enjoying the most about the new house are the unfolding garden surprises. The original owners of the house, from whose estate we purchased the property, were clearly very enthusiastic gardeners. Every time I think to myself, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have an X, Y, or Z around here?” I find, within a few days, it’s growing off to the side just waiting to be noticed. In this way I found Bleeding Hearts, a white lilac, six peonies, Lily of the Valley, and what I think might be a good number of irises. It’s a fun trick, this conjuring, one I wish I could use with, say, sacks of small bills.
|The troubled bed, dead stuff gone & pansies added by request|
We’re trying to go slowly with changes or improvements. Someone advised us to wait a year to see what’s around before investing much time or money. Generally, this is good advice but the septic and tree work we’ve had done have laid waste to an awful lot of the lawn so we’re jumping in, albeit cautiously, removing things that appear dead or in distress and making judicious additions (such as the annuals that one is obligated by law to purchase when one’s 9 year-old insists perennials are No Fun At All). One bed near the front of the house needs a good amount of attention and maybe a nice planting diagram. Baby steps. We’re here for the long haul so along with the garden I am trying to cultivate patience.
In her final illness, the original owner of the house jotted down care directions and I feel duty-bound to follow her instruction. From what we can tell she was a fastidious woman and very precise in her housekeeping. Reading her notes feels a bit like having a personal garden tutor, one who lived and worked at this very spot even before I was born. If she wants the lilac pruned a certain way, you can bet that’s exactly what I will do.
|Now with mulch!|
In the meantime, we've done that very grown-up thing and bought a tremendous amount of mulch. It makes a difference, no? Anchored by a peony on one end and an azalea (a plant about which I am conflicted, but for now we're going to go with it) in the middle I can see this bed with some Black-Eyed Susan toward the far end and maybe a climbing rose up the wall. I don't know. We'll see. For now, I've got the creeping phlox in there, a decidedly pedestrian choice that I love for its color and easy, good-natured spread.
I'm not a natural gardener and any green thumb I might posses is often diminished by my highly distractible nature. These gardens are nearly 50 years old. I couldn't possibly harm them all in the first summer, right?