09 May 2012

Gardens in Early May: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Although I've made a lot of gardening mistakes over the years, I somehow still manage to start each spring with a sense of optimism. This is the year, I boldly say to myself, setting aside all the troubles of past gardening seasons. With that goal in mind, I recently surveyed the progress of my flower gardens to assess what's working...and mostly what's NOT! Here's my quick assessment of the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY things happening in my flower gardens.

GOOD: I'm very pleased with how my front flower bed is filling in. I think what I like best about this bed is the variety of textures and colors. Unfortunately, the ground cover situation may get out of hand this year as I seem to have two types of plants competing for territory. (Here's one of my many mistakes: I thought one ground cover had died, so I planted a second...then the first one came back to life!) Other than a few weeds and that unsightly black plastic edging, I'm fairly happy with this area.

BAD: What's the deal with these yellow iris? You'd think I could get more than two flowers from this large patch! The truth is that they needed to be divided years ago. A good thinning would improve the bloom situation. But at least I have something green and growing in this spot!

UGLY: I have a large gap in front of the birdbath. After tearing out some unruly spiderwort a few years back, I've generally reserved this space for annuals. But I'm tired of tending to annuals, so I I think I'll be filling in this shady spot with transplanted hostas.

BAD: I have a few plants coming up in this corner area, but the gaps are making me crazy. I'm tempted to add more hostas to fill in the space. In addition, I've got a couple of plants here that need to be moved, as they're barely limping along.

UGLY: At the other end of the same bed, I've got a crowding situation. The catmint requires aggressive pruning to keep it in check, and the two sedum plants will get so large by mid-summer that they'll crowd their neighbors and split down the center. These plants need to be divided or moved.
UGLY: I have several ongoing spacing issues in this garden, including this large gap next to the birdbath. This year, I vow to plug the holes once and for all! On the GOOD side, I am pleased with the plants I added last year which slightly alleviated the gaps. The purple iris (moved from another area of the yard) are doing well and add some much needed variation in texture. The wild rose is doing so well that I'm going to have to move the plants on either side of it to give it more room. With all of those thorns, I won't be touching it anytime soon!

So here's to maintaining the GOOD areas -- and fixing the BAD and UGLY ones. This is the year! Maybe this season I'll be right.


Benita said...

I just love looking at pictures of your garden, Janet....it's so pretty! Can I ask, in reference to your Japanese Maple, what way does your house face? West, East? I just planted one next to our garage as I was told it wouldn't do good in the front yard due to it having western wind exposure there :( But our neighbors have one in their front yard. I need to take some updated pics of my garden & post them....it's doing really good, so far, this year :)

Janet said...

Hi, Benita! Thanks for your nice comment. It's definitely a work in progress. Our house faces northeast. This is actually our second try with a Japanese Maple, but I don't think it has to do with the exposure. This one is finally taking off but it is very slow growing. I love the color and hope it picks up the pace one of these days! We have kept it staked because it's still pretty small. Hope yours does well for you!

Benita said...

Hi Janet :) I guess I better leave mine where it is then....we do get a lot of westward winds & in the winter, it can be really tough :( Yours looks wonderful! I really like the color of them, too....they are very slow growers, though, unfortunately. Thanks for your help :)