Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Long and Short of It

I don't know about you, but for me the new gardening year starts in spring when everything begins to bloom and ends when my garden goes dormant in late fall. This year I've decided to show more of the entire garden and various beds in my posts to help balance out the occasional macro shot. This allows the reader to appreciate the details of the plant while also seeing how it's used in the garden. This also means I can't hide any mistakes or crop out plants that are less than fabulous to preserve my dignity. But that's ok. Considering I once got up at a drag queen brunch and danced with one of the queens, I'm not that dignified to begin with.

Here are a few things you should know about me before I begin this new theme:

1. I'm not a landscape designer, landscape architect, horticulturalist, or botanist. I'm a slightly crazy science teacher who spends all day with 12 year olds.

2. I'm not independently wealthy, a fact I find highly irritating. My gardening decisions are often made based on cost and practicality. I view compost, mulch, and organic soil amendments as investments since healthy soil creates healthy plants. But it means I have to cut corners in other areas. I often use seedlings and bare root plants to populate my beds.

3. I have a very basic, cheap camera and virtually no photography skills. However, I make incredible cookies and can run in heels. Whenever I take a great picture, I'm shocked and thrilled. The best part about my camera is the anti-jiggle setting. It's always on.

4. My photography goals are: don't take a picture of your finger or a pooping dog. I have recently stopped taking videos of the interior of my purse and pockets. I'm very proud.

5.  I have a doctorate from the University of Trial and Error.

6. When I talk to myself in my head, I sometimes talk like a pirate.


'Susanna Mitchell' marguerites (Anthemis) are one of my favorite flowers. I love how simple they are.


They need sharp drainage, full sun, and very little fertilizer. They thrive in my container garden. 


I've spent the last 15 years using cheap plastic containers which always overheat and fry the roots of my plants. This year I splurged and bought glazed clay containers. The last empty pot is the future home of an Abraham Darby rose. I doubt it will live in the pot forever since they get so big. The back garden and the entrances to the dog run are in the background.


This view shows the newest perennial bed and the dry stream bed I dug through the middle. I'm still in the process of planting and mulching that bed. The beginnings of my NanoFarm, along with plants set aside for friends, are at the end of the patio. I'll be growing tomatoes, ground cherries, carrots, and sweet potatoes. The blue and yellow balls are bird houses.


Silene 'Rolly's Favorite' is one of my earliest spring bloomers. It thrives in dry soil with sharp drainage.


The silene grows next to a dwarf white catmint that blooms with the daffodils. A native white penstemon, agastache, knautia, alliums, and sedum grow nearby. Orange milkweed and blue mist flower are just beginning to push up.


 This bed is near one of the entrances to the dog run. A huge Westerland climbing rose grows along the fence.


  Geums


Geums thrive in one of the few moist spots in my garden. 


They clash shamelessly with the 'Pink Champagne' clematis but so what? I love how exuberantly each plant grows in its spot and see no point in moving them. Monarda, yellow geums, and caryopteris (blue mist shrub) grow nearby.


Pink bigroot geranium 


Bigroot geraniums make an excellent ground cover for partial shade. They're putting the squeeze on my purple euphorbia and have plans to invade the campanula and phlox in the neighboring bed. Fortunately for the other plants, they're easy to control.


This bed is full of campanula, phlox, black eyed susans (rudbeckia), staychys 'Hummelo', native mountain mint, 'Etoille Violet clematis' and a 'River Mist' sea oats.


'River Mist' sea oats























A stand of Japanese anemones grows near the variegated sea oats but thanks to a dry spring, they've been slow to emerge. Thornless blackberries grow along the back fence near the crepe myrtle.  


Another pink clematis I can't remember the name of!


Clematis and False Solomon's Seal


Two different pink clematis grow along the fence I share with my neighbor. The second clematis begins blooming when the dark pink one finishes. I didn't plan it that way. I just got lucky. False Solomon's Seal, daylilies, amsonia, blue asters, and tall veronica grow nearby. It's hard to see in this picture but two dwarf lespedeza plants are just leafing out. The cheddar pinks (dianthus) at the bottom are headed for a spot near the knautia (growing along the iron fence) since they're too close to the grass. A big red brick holds down the daffodil foliage so it doesn't suffocate the veronica. 

29 comments:

  1. One (except for the science teacher part), two and five for sure...six, I'll need to start using a more interesting accent when having dialogue with myself! Great idea - I like your new theme.

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  2. You can run in heels? I AM impressed. I can't even wear heels any more since I retired six years ago and only wear garden clogs.

    I absolutely love the idea of a macro shot of plants followed immediately by a shot of how that plant looks in the garden. That is the one thing I really look for in most blogs --- how are the plants used? How do they fit in with the design and what is their overall form? Note to self: I want to try doing much more of this approach in my blog too. I like before and after pictures of any garden, and I love this idea of macro and long shots.

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  3. # 6 lol.. you know they have an official day for the likes of you? www.talklikeapirate.com
    Love knowing more about you, and think its a great idea to let it all hang out. It really helps us other gardeners understand what the full picture is.

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  4. YES!!!! You and I are in the same boat! Most of your main points play out over here in Tucson as well. Gardening is a hobby and love....although you wouldn't know it right now with my posts on birds:) The macro shots are....challenging:) Because we have to show off our imperfections....and there are quite a few:) But your place looks great.

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  5. what a great idea, to follow up the macro with a long shot. I prefer to see the less glamourous shot because it is more realistic and aspirable-to. (good thing you're science teacher not a grammar teacher!) What you said about your camera skills was very funny - my learning curve with cameras has been equally steep and rocky. In fact, basically I can relate to your comments 1. to 5., and possibly 6. except that I have never met a pirate.

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  6. Your photos are lovely! Oh, I just love your garden and the flowers!! There is no such thing as plants or flowers in my book because, everything is just too pretty to care : ) Keep enjoying your lovely place and thank you for sharing it with us!

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  7. Everything looks wonderful. Much better camera than what I have. I think you do a great job.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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  8. I loved this tour of your garden! It is wonderful to see what you have blooming at the moment. Great Post! You made me laugh more than once, with all your camera qualifications. I think we can all relate to your statements. I’m looking forward to you posting a tour again, so we can see your garden develop through the season.

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  9. I really enjoyed your humor and whole post. Your photos are pretty nice despite all the caveats you listed. Your macros are wonderful and the longer views in context, quite refreshing. I like your theme and plan.

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  10. I love being able to see more of the garden. It is all very nice. And seeing the entire plant is a real help. So many times I've ordered a plant online after seeing a close up picture, only to realize later (poor research) that it's tiny, or very big, or something unexpected! Love the marguerite in the pot. Your pots are beautiful. And I really like your plantings under the crepe myrtle tree.

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  11. Big smile and a few giggles...I love your humor! Reading your post this morning really kick started my day. I enjoyed seeing the long shots of your garden. I should do that more often but I there are always so many unfinished spots that seem to take away from the beauty of my plants. You are so sweet to have so many passalong plants for friends! Your clematis are so pretty. I only just put two in this year and am anxiously awaiting their blooms.

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  12. If I had half a brain, I would be dangerous. This is why I don't have the left or (is the right side?) of my brain function and I will never teach science or math! I hit the wrong button and I had to start all over again with my comment! UGH! You have photo skills, CM. Love the macro photo and I love daisies as well. Every time I go around and read other blogs I see so many flowers and designs that I would love to do. Only so much time. Love the containers with the perennials. Because you have gardened in many different climates, you have many tricks up your sleeves and you are using them all with great effectiveness. I will try and come around more often when it is rainy and gloomy in the 'Burgh.

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  13. Hi Tammy, I always enjoy your humour. I think that a doctorate from the University of Trial and Error is standard issue for all gardeners. Though you poke fun at your photography, I don't think that it is that bad.
    With the post on my Double Flowering Almond I struggled with not having shown the whole shrub. It has a chunk missing from the animal damage that I mentioned in my post. It has made one side of the shrub ugly and does not give the viewer a true impression of what it should look like. And it detracted from the flowers. Still, I agree that it helps to see the overall plant and not just the glossy macro. I have also made it a goal to show more overall shots. We will see how that resolve holds up. I am not as courageous as you are. I like a pretty picture! LOL

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  14. CM - you have an incredible sense of humor (your students must LOVE you!), and quite the spin doctor of words (must be that advanced degree you carry). Finding your blog has been a real treasure.

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    1. Hooray for the love! Thanks!! A silly, twisted sense of humor is required to teach middle school. When I taught 4th grade I had a kid try to glue me to my chair. I still think it's hysterical.

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  15. I think your photography skills are pretty darn good! I'm also slightly in love with your Welcome Frog. What a find!

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    1. Thanks!! It was $10 at Ross Dress for Less. Yay!

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  16. Inquiringly minds want to know, what is the backstory behind the drag queen brunch? You're a much more refined person than I am if you talk like a pirate only in your head.

    Your photos and your garden look great. You of course have a great sense of humor too, which must be part of the job requirement for teaching 12 year olds all day!

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    1. I sent you a comment about the brunch. It's at a place called Perry's in DC. Naughty but so fun!! I've found that spending all day with real 12 year olds is much easier than spending it with adults who act like 12 year olds. At least my students have an excuse for acting like ding dongs - they're only kids!

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  17. pink and orange clash? that can't be. I refuse to believe these two colours do anything but complement each other. Thanks again for the wide shots, I love seeing how people arrange their gardens as well as what's in them.

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  18. Love your new theme! I like seeing your garden from all angles. It makes it easier to imagine the garden as a whole. Your glazed containers are gorgeous! I have to admit, they are a weakness of mine too. As always, your sense of humor comes through loud and clear in your posts! And I would have loved to have seen you dance with the drag queen! Too funny :)

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  19. Really like those containers. Love your idea of showing macros and long shots. I'm not as brave yet, still on the cropped macros I'm afraid.

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  20. Your garden beds look great and I love the clematis! Jeannine

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  21. So where are your weeds? :) You must have been very busy because everything looks impeccable. I just posted a photo of the same Silene but I couldn't remember the cultivar name. Does yours seed around? Mine do but I don't mind. My 'River Mist' Sea Oats NEVER looked as good as yours do. Mine finally bit the dust and now I only grow the green variety. Poor me. That second Clemmy looks like 'Ville de Lyon' to me. I love both of yours. Pink rules!

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  22. Wow, you and I received our doctorates from the same university! I always enjoy the long view, as well as the close-ups. Your garden looks great. I really like the bigroot geraniums and am wondering how well they might do in my woodland setting.

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  23. Bardzo lubię czytać Twoja pełną humoru treść i podziwiam Cię za to.W Twoim ogrodzie bardzo mi się podoba i nie mam mu nic do zarzucenia. Dobrze, ze zmieniłeś doniczki. Pozdrawiam.
    I really enjoy reading your content full of humor and I admire you for your garden to.W I really like and I have nothing to reproach him. Well, they changed the pot. Yours.

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  24. It is so nice to get to know more about you including how funny you are.

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  25. What do you mean no pictures of dogs pooping? Seriously. hahahaaa Love it. I really like the black metal fencing that is perpendicular to the neighbor-sharing fence. I love vines, Jasmine, Clematis, Hyacinth bean and others....but have no fence...this might be a good solution.

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  26. Your clematis is just beautiful :-)

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