6.18.2010

I do have my favorites..



Putting Down Roots II at Ault Park is looking great! I adopted this plot last summer. By the time I stepped in, the heat of the summer coupled with ravenous deer had taken its toll. The previous owners had installed a nice variety of hostas and a neighboring gardener had taken pity on the neglected site- adding a few sedges.

I installed several new plants last year, treated for deer and just sat tight. The rewards of my labor came through this season. I was delighted to see that the area receives a generous amount of leaf litter. This, I worked into the soil by hand early this spring, so not to disturb emerging perennials. I added more plants and treated for deer again, and again and again. The plot is now exceptionally lush- a nice accomplishment for a 12 month cycle.

Next year will call for a few divisions of plants and inclusion of annuals. While the foliage of the plants I have now is desirable, the garden will benefit from the pop of white impatiens and begonias.

Tonight? It is up to the park, after it cools down a tad, to treat for deer!

6.11.2010

My Little Garden Coach

I have been gardening for about 15 years. I started out with a few modest annual gardens, tiny borders and basic potted plants. It wasn’t long before I was re-designing the entire yard, installing ponds and converting a half-acre into continuous perennial beds. Books, magazines and horticulture classes fed the fire.

I study garden design, plant placement, form, mixing colors and textures, continuous bloom and native gardening. I am always looking for ways to make my gardens better- partly because each year I learn more and want to apply my new knowledge. Also, I admit, sitting still and relaxing is not one of my strengths.

Then came Jack, my nephew. When he was a baby I would review plant names and my class notes with him. Perhaps he would catch the horticulture bug like his Aunt Jenny. Usually, it just lulled him to sleep. Now he is two-and-a-half, what a great age.

A few weeks ago I was helping his mom with a few gardens to spruce up their new house. Jack was in step, tiny garden trowel, shovel and bucket in-hand. While I was weighing a few design options for the side yard, an excited voice broke my concentration.

“Aunt Jenny look! Pointy,” Jack said as he studied a Holly leaf.

With a little encouragement from me, he was off, examining every detail of the yard- how the Magnolia leaf is shiny on top and soft on the bottom, how caterpillars like to climb the screen door, that the rocks are pretty and the leaves of
Impatiens are squishy.

I was impressed with his ability to describe things in such detail. But more so, for his ability to get me to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of the garden. Now when I visit we spend time exploring the yard and the neighborhood park. He gets outside and plays, and his Aunt Jenny learns to relax.