A Gardener's Return

By Mary St George (MaryNZ) on January 21, 2012

I always buy plants, but to be honest, I only sometimes garden. So when an upcoming family party necessitated a presentable yard, it was time to review and re-arrange things, in a fairly big way!

As we all know, significant family events mean parties. And when those parties happen in summer, indoor outdoor flow is a definite plus. Outdoors... yeah... a place far from the computer screen, a very untidy place that had been coming last on my list for far too long. I reasoned that some weeding would be necessary, and had a look.

Getting to the weeds proved to be something of a challenge, as it happened. The trees had grown rather dramatically, and savage pruning was needed in order to get underneath the trees and weed whatever had still managed to grow in the gloom. One maple tree had enveloped seven other shrubs, while other trees we used to walk under now drooped close to the ground. A few prunings became many prunings. A green waste skip was priced. Ye-ouch! While we figured out how to keep the money for plants and dump the prunings, the lawn beneath the pruning heap went to the great grassland in the sky. Oops!

Roses have long been the mainstay of my garden. If neglected, they get blackspot and scale, they get leggy and attack things on the washing line, they develop strange leans and need tying to the fence; but what they do not do is die, and I simply love them for it. Plants around here do well to be tough. So the roses will be flowering, or not, as they see fit by late summer. It seems I would need to have observed them closely for a season or two to deadhead at the perfect time to create a flush of bloom on the day. Plants that would flower reliably were needed, and it seemed that Dahlias would fit the bill. All except it was November, and September is Dahlia planting time around here. Dahlias for sale were hard to find, and there is nothing like a challenge to get me enthused. My off-again, on-again gardening style was definitely in on mode as I bought Dahlias online, joined the Dahlia society, visited growers, and even got discovered by one very resourceful grower while I was bewailing my lack of Dahlia-hunting success online. I'm so glad she found me, as I got about 16 plants from her, the most I got from any single source.

The party is three weeks away. The hole in the lawn has had its seeds eaten off by the sparrows more times than I can count, and is now covered in both seed and shade cloth. I can hardly type, because my fingers are firmly crossed for there to be more green than brown on the day. Only half the Dahlias look as though they will be flowering, but I have a new plant fascination, new Dahlia friends online and off, and a wishlist as long as your arm for more Dahlias after the party is over. The trees are looking good, with new hostas settling into the shade beneath them. The annuals to fill gaps have been very slow to start in a wet, wet season, so maybe they'll be nice by Easter. All in all, a limited success in terms of the way things will look on the day.

I'm not concerned though. I'm back in my garden. I'm putting fresh air and exercise higher up my list of priorities, and I'm having a ball. My place isn't big enough, so I've started on my best friend's garden as well. I've even got my eye on my neighbour's back lawn as my next canvas to create upon. She's bracing herself, and if you know me, here is your warning - so should you!

Wet Dahlia

Dahlia 'Gallery Leonardo', chewed by earwigs and weevils, but happy in the rain, while the mess of the yard behind waited for a brighter day. Photo my own.

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Garden, resilient plants

About Mary St George
I am a teacher, a parent, and an off-again on-again gardener. Right now, gardening is all on!

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Comments and discussion:
Subject Thread Starter Last Reply Replies
You made me smile Zanymuse Jan 22, 2012 6:21 PM 15
Dedicated Cubits for plants mentioned in the article MaryNZ Jan 21, 2012 3:32 AM 2

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