Sunday, April 19, 2009

Flower Power

Our new house has some very nice existing landscaping. However, it is boring, all green shrubs and tan rocks. There is no color. Well, not yet. There are some sedum plants that haven't bloomed yet, and there might be some phlox that's starting to return. But for the most part, it's lots of bushes and not a lot of flowers.

In the meantime, I decided to jazz it up a bit and planted some ranunculus, gerbera daisies, osterospermum, phlox, columbine, and geraniums. Lest you think I just walked into the gardening section of Home Depot and made my decisions on the spot, let me assure you that many hours of planning and researching went into my selections.

I have to plan, because I am easily distracted by all the pretty colors and varieties and lushness when they're all packed together on the shelf. I start to grab one of these, and two of those, and oh those are nice, and wow, that's gorgeous, and the next thing I know I have two carts full of flowers, and nowhere to plant them.

For example, years ago we lived in a house that had a garden area in the yard. I had big plans for that - Jessica and I would plant lettuce and carrots and watermelon and broccoli and tomatoes. We went to WalMart and bought packets of seeds and a flat of cherry tomato plants. That's 24 tomato plants, for those of you keeping score at home.

The garden area was probably 20x30 feet. Do you know you have to space out tomato plants? Yeah, neither did I. Almost half of the garden was taken over by tomatoes. I planted tomatoes in pots on the deck, and tried to give some away to our neighbor, but he had already started his plants from seeds. Show off.

Jessica ate cherry tomatoes every day, she took some to her babysitter, Brian and I took them to work, and I did consider setting up a roadside stand. It was ridiculous. And I don't even like tomatoes!

I called my friend Julie, who was my go-to gal for all things horticultural. Once she stopped laughing at my tomato overkill, she reminded me to look at the plastic card stuck in the plant pot - it contained all kinds of helpful information, like spacing, lighting, and growth potential. A few years later I called her when I had bought some pots of marigolds, and wanted to know if I could break apart this huge clump of flowers. She asked me how many stems it had, I said three, and again, when she stopped laughing, told me that usually there were 2-3 plants in the quart size pots, so it was safe to divide. Recently she came over to see my new house, and she was quite helpful in identifying the various plants and shrubs I now have in my yard.

I'm not totally inept - I know annuals only grow one year, perennials come back each year, and I know to look at the shade/sun requirements. It's the spacing apart that gets me.

So, knowing my gardening limits, I made a list of the areas I had to plant, the size of the pots I wanted to use, and evaluated the sun and shade each area received, and then I looked at gardening catalogs for ideas.

On Friday I went to Home Depot and, feeling fully informed with my lists, I began my shopping. I did have a brief panic attack when I tried to decide if I should trade in three small pots of osteoporemums for the bigger plant, so I went and found a 16" pot and tried it out for size. It was a perfect fit. Yay me!

I got everything planted and when I was finished, I had one small geranium plant left over. Luckily I found a pot I'd forgotten about, so I bought two more geraniums to keep it company.

All in all, I think it was a succesful planting year. I will keep you updated throughout the season, and we'll see if they survive.

Pics are on Flicker here.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I like all the work you've done! I'm the easily distracted by the pretty colors type too. That's why we planted our stuff too early and a frost got half of it. We're waiting for much warmer weather before we do anything else. Your yard looks great! I personally like the "boring" rock garden. You don't seem to have any clutter around the outside of your house and I love a clutter free yard! You can be our neighbor if you want to! MaLeah :)

My Life My Life My Life said...

I am so ready! This week we will NOT have rain so I'm ready to start clearing out flower beds, mulching all that jazz..

Tattooed Dorothy said...

Matt and I gutted our backyard landscaping in the fall and were left dealing with muddy paw prints all winter. We finally got some new things planted...and are waiting for hydrangeas at the nursery!

Your new house is GORGEOUS!

Marrdy said...

I wish I had been your next door neighbor during your tomato crazy days. I love them! You'll have to put up more pictures when the flowers are in full bloom.