10 June 2012

Gardens in early June

Gardening is one of those activities which doesn't yield immediate results. I'll admit that I find that fact simultaneously interesting and frustrating. I would really like to see the results of my hard work right away, but it's also fun to see it come to fruition the following season. Of course by that time, I've forgotten half of what I did the previous summer, so there's always an element of surprise! 

Actually, that's the main reason I take so many pictures of my flowers...so I'll remember what I've got in the works. This post provides an update of how a few of my flower beds look right now -- because of the work I did last summer!

 Last year, I decided I would no longer put up with awkward gaps in this first garden pictured below. So I stuffed it full! Probably too full, in fact, but I figured that by doing so, I'd allow for any perennials that didn't thrive over the winter. Turns out most everything I put in lived...so now I have a bit of a crowding issue in a few places, but overall I'm happy with how this bed is looking right now.

When you have perennials, it's easy to fill in the gaps by dividing mature plants. I've divided my original sedum plant (can you see it in 3 places below?) several times and each new plant grows to full size very quickly. I'm definitely getting my money's worth out of that one!

 One of the most interesting perennials I added last year was a leadplant, a native prairie plant. Most prairie plants are easy to grow in these parts (Iowa used to be covered in prairie, you know), but when I read that the leadplant thrives in full sun and dry soil, I knew it was the plant for me. Its main root can extend 15 feet into the ground! The leaves remind me of "sensitive plants" which Bailey and I grew when she was little.

The garden pictured below is on the other side of our patio and extends around the back of our house. Last year, I added several plants to this area, then this summer I filled in some gaps with hostas. Now I'm really pleased with how this large area is shaping up. The iris in the foreground came from our other house (making them more than 20 years old!) and desperately need to be divided again. Unfortunately spring came so early this year that I didn't get that done.

We also have garden areas in front of the house. They are filled mainly with spirea bushes (not my favorite, but they are colorful) and some large hostas, also from our old house. We did have an awkward, weedy gap under a tree in front, so last year I planted three smaller variety hostas which the bunnies found particularly tasty. This year, they're off to a good start...and the garden fairy appears to be keeping the bunnies at bay!

In the photo below you can see the HUGE oak leaf hydrangea. It's a very slow-growing bush but once it got going, it REALLY grew. Some of the leaves are as big as dinner plates! This year, it's getting a nice crop of flowers, too. As you can see, we need to do some pruning in this area. The bushes are really out of control. And the tree in the foreground is 98% dead, so it will be removed soon.

Here's another garden area which I've worked really hard on over the past few seasons. This year, I'm happy with the colors and the varied textures. The Japanese maple is finally looking like it's going to live, so maybe one of these days we can remove the metal stake. Also on my to-do list: Remove and replace the unsightly black edging with some type of brick. 

I'm such a novice gardener that it's rare when I feel successful, but I have to say that right now I'm pretty happy with how last year's work is paying off. Now mark my words: All of this could change when July rolls around and we're in the midst of a miserably hot Iowa summer. But for now, I'm enjoying making my corner of the world just a little more beautiful!


1 comment:

Sharon said...

The gardens are beautiful this year. I only wish that mine would grow faster and fill in. Time to add some more plants to this clay soil that we have.