The Sun Garden is Leaning

The sun garden that came into my care this year is not as sunny as I had hoped. The coneflowers, sage, daisy and zinnias are leaning to the light. I am debating staking or simply swapping out with different plants next year. Staked plants can snap in a high winds. This is a down side or rather a handicap of working as a landless gardener, it is more difficult to have a clear understanding how much, or how little in this case, sun a garden receives. There is a tad more trial and error involved, but since the gardens are far more modest in size than my previous back-yard gardens, remaking a garden the next year is not too terribly difficult or expensive.

Rudbeckia s. ‘Henry Eilers’ is in full bloom in the sun garden. It is leaning a bit but I think that may also be in part to its wonderful height.


Seeing signs of progress in the new garden

It may not look like much but there has been much progress in the new garden. A few shrubs bordering the lawn was all this garden had to offer when I took it over; that and a lot of great new space. This garden sits just outside the adopt–a-plot area. It is deep and wide at one end and following the length of a retaining wall tapers to a thin strip then opens up a bit more at the far end.

I honesty do not know if it is more sun than shade. That is one downside of being a landless gardener- it is hard at times to get a good read on how much sun a garden receives. It doesn’t look like much now but this freshman garden shows promise.

The next step is deciding what to plant in front of the grasses and beyond the weeping cherry tree. I am thinking of simply adding only grasses in front of the already established ones. There is a great deal of wonderful textures, colors and movement offered by grasses and a garden showcasing their design features may be interesting.


Back at Last

The last few weeks my visits to the park have been few. Traveling took me a way for a while and then the heat settled in and I was as absent as the rain we have been craving. Not being at the gardens greatly influenced my mood as of late. The gardens provide me with balance. Not spending time in the gardens, coupled with the heat and a new running schedule that has me up at 5 a.m. has turned me a bit sideways. I was, needless to say, a bit apprehensive about what I would find at the gardens yesterday.

The gardens were far more forgiving than I deserved. Three hours, four gardens and three large yard waste bags did the trick. It was exciting to see the dramatic change in the gardens. My time in the gardens was also a nice reprieve from the horror of the recent movie theater shooting I have been seeing and reading so much about. The loss of life is sad, frightening and impossible to understand.

The gardens show me that beautiful life carries on; we just need to take the time and enjoy it!


The Summer Garden has Arrived

There is a day when the garden changes so dramatically that it feels like you have been away for weeks. Its appearance can be shocking. For me, that day was Sunday. As I approached the garden I was prepared to find that the days’ storms had deposited a few twigs perhaps a limb in the bed and the plants may look a bit beaten down but what I saw was, simply put, a hot mess. How a garden can explode and look so messy and crazy overnight is amazing to me.

I was hoping to spend a few minutes on the sun garden and the remainder of my time working on rejuvenating part of the rock garden. The heat was kicking my arse and I was still feeling a bit off from my four mile run/walk the day before. No such luck, the sun garden demanded my attention and it simply could not wait another day. There is also the looming Fourth of July celebration this week at the park. The park will be packed to the gills with families and friends picnicking, playing and waiting for the annual firework show. I know the adopt-a-plots will have many visitors and I want all my gardens to look their best!

I filled two large garden waste bags and gave many of the plants a much needed heavy grooming. Mint was wrangled back to its place, Russian sage sprouts were pulled, spent daylily stems and dying leaves pulled and yarrow and tansy deadheaded. It was a lot of work, but well worth it for a bit of order is back in the garden again… but not for long I am sure.


Rejuvenating the Rock Garden

There are some surprising finds in the rock garden at Ault Parks such as hostas, chrysanthemums and Russian Sage. I certainly cannot claim to be a rock garden expert- this is my first year working with such a garden- but I have a hunch that some of the plants are not quite right. Since I adopted this garden I have been working on a massive weeding campaign, trimming back herbs that have become garden thugs, unearthing rocks that had been buried in years of mulch and top soil and trying to add a bit of order to this very wild looking garden.

 I was at the park early this morning, in the hope of beating the heat that has descended upon our city, and much of the country for that matter, to rejuvenate a bit of the rock garden. My goal was to replace some of the hostas and chrysanthemums with annual succulents. The result is a section of the garden that does not look as lush, but I can now see more of the rocks and the plants seem more in scale with the garden. I definitely need to get some pea gravel to fill in between the plants and a healthy planting of moss roses would do well to add color and keep this area from looking so dry.
As I study this garden I see many areas that could use rejuvenation but this is truly not my garden. When you garden in the park, or any public place for that matter, you have to keep in mind that the garden is for all to enjoy. About half the people who stop to chat when I am working on this garden say they like what I am doing with the space, the other half say that it has always been their favorite garden in the park.  
I will talk more on balancing personal taste and aspirations with gardening for the community later.