Sunday, August 5, 2012

Garden Like a Beast

Like most of the world, I've been watching the Olympics this week. Badminton scandals, stressed out gymnasts, and superhuman swimmers have dominated daily conversation. If gardening were an Olympic sport, I wouldn't even make the preliminary cuts, but I'm okay with that. I'm comfortable in the PeeWee League. Friday's Washington Post  featured a front page article about gymnast Gabby Douglas, a tiny dynamo from Virginia whose gravity defying routines left me glued to the TV, my mouth agape in wonder. Described by the media as fearless, she's quoted as saying, "You just have to go out there and be a beast."


Cone flowers in the rain garden

One bed I redesigned last year is still a mess and will need to be redesigned again this fall. Several beds need to be tweaked and one section of my Founding Flowers garden needs a dozen cone flowers taken out, the soil raised by 6 inches, and all the cone flowers replanted. Half of the Yuck side needs to be completely relandscaped and my last dahlia blew over in a wind gust today, breaking the stem. My garden is thirsty, my water bills outrageous, and I have a weird spot on my first almost ripe tomato. It's easy by mid-summer to fixate on all our mistakes, curse Mother Nature, and blame ourselves for, yet again, putting the wrong plant in the wrong place. But I refuse to give up. My garden will never win a medal but I'm going to garden like a beast, anyway. I have nothing to lose by being fearless.



I added this rain garden over Spring Break in April. 


Several of the plants I used for this bed were seedlings from other parts of the garden. This fall, I'm replacing the sedum seedlings near the birdbath with 'Purple Emperor' sedum. I think the purple leaves will look sharp near the silvery yarrow foliage.


Pennisetum 'Piglet' has thrived and is starting to grow long fuzzy flowerheads. Dwarf gaura 'Crimson Butterflies' grows nearby.


Sedum 'Voodoo' grows near the pennisetum but needs to be moved to a sunnier spot. I didn't expect the fountain grass to grow so much this year!


This gaura is much smaller and less floppy than most.


Yellow and white lantana near a broken pot turned into a toad house.


Linum 'Appar' is commonly known as flax.

 

A trumpet creeper vine grows along the fence, constantly sending shoots up through the plants. Pulling these up is a weekly job. Prairie dropseed grass grows near the fence.


Dwarf agastache 'Acapulco Orange' is thriving in well drained, compost enriched soil.


It's growing next to a very happy patch of 'Pink Grapefruit' yarrow that has tripled in size in just a few months. The flowers are bright pink. These had been on the plant for a long time and were very faded.


A climbing 'Graham Thomas' rose grows along the fence.


This has also doubled in size since I planted it. I love the soft yellow roses.



I originally planted three 'Peter's Purple' monarda but one was eaten by bunnies. This monarda is much more xeric than older varieties and has done very well. I need to selectively prune away a few trumpet creeper branches to give it more sun.
 

46 comments:

  1. All your plants look so nice and happy...it's hard to imagine that some are not doing as well as they should.
    We gardeners of the world are like magicians...we "know" we can get it to grow well in our area that it's not suited for..."ALACAZAM!!" It's done.
    We are crazy determined folk, aren't we?
    You go girl and continue gardening like a beast..

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    1. I forget sometimes to add in all the variables such as heavy soil, shade, etc, but I'm always determined to figure out the problem. Live and learn. :o)

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  2. I have been staying up way too late watching the Olympics. Next week the kids go back to school and it will be time to get up early again. I am not ready for that! I am glad to read that someone else has to design, and redesign their beds. I never seem to get it right the first time. I have lots of plants to move to better spots in the fall. I think your rain garden looks great!

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    1. Thanks! School doesn't start here until after Labor Day but our Thanksgiving/Christmas breaks are painfully short and we don't get out until mid-June. I'm hoping for lots of snow days this year. We're overdue!!

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  3. Everything looks lovely. I really like how your rain garden turned out. For the first year it already looks great.

    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Thanks! That area is moist but well drained and the plants are pretty happy. :o)

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  4. I admire your renewed energy to fix and change and redesign and garden like a beast. The rock creek bed looks awesome, and your plans for some plant switch ups will enhance it. I really like how you put that space together with hardscape and plants.

    I'm napping and resting like a beast on the couch, and all my energy is going in to mental plans for what to do when it cools off. Not so much real gardening going on right now!

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    1. Actually, I should have titled it "Watering Like a Beast and Dreaming Big". Any major changes won't happen til around October. I can hear the hammock calling!!

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  5. What a great idea for a Toad house... you have so many pretty plants!

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    1. Thanks! I'm a klutz and hate getting rid of the pots I break so I try to find ways to turn them into toad houses around the garden. :o)

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  6. looks like piglet is being a pig..you can't call yourself a gardener if you don't move plants around(all the time).

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    1. I'm the Transplanting Queen!! I will move a plant until it either dies or I've finally found its happy place. :o)

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  7. Your beds are looking just WONDERFUL! I've got a few of the same plants, but you'd never know it to compare them. Yours - so lush. Mine - so so. LOL

    I LOVE the twisty branch up against the fence behind the birdbath. Where in the world did you find it? It's so very Hobbit-like. Your hard work really pays off. Hat's off to ya, gal.

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    1. Thanks!! It's a branch of the trumpet vine that grows overhead. The vine is about 8 yrs old and has been pruned to keep all the growth across the top instead of the lower branches. I love how gnarled and woody it is. In the winter the whole naked vine looks like medusa. :o)

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  8. Some, no all, of the garden tasks you have taken on have been amazing. You DO garden like a beast!! Will be interested in seeing how the Prairie Dropseed grass does for you. I like ornamental grasses, don't know much about how this one performs.

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  9. Thanks! Today I just watered, prayed for rain, moved a birdbath that had become a hot tub in the sun to a shady spot, and laid in the hammock. :o) I always avoided grasses because I thought they looked weedy but they've turned out to be great problem solvers. I've added northern sea oats, 2 types of pennisetum, and the dropseed grass.

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  10. I do like the Olympics. I watch them off and on....and then...tonight it's the NASA fun as the rover Curiosity lands on the planet. Too much cool stuff going on.

    Love the garden work going on. Everything is trial and error. I'm experimenting on yet another plant. It has the right background but will it actually perform? I guess that's the best part about gardening:)

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    1. Gardening is one big experiment after another. If everything behaved the way its supposed to, it might get boring.

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  11. Garden like a beast! Ha! That's what I need to do. And now with the cool weather it should be much more doable. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  12. Hi, Tammy! Your garden is nice, I love your rain garden with dry сreek. Also I love the yellow roses too, but I have no luck with them, after winter my yellow roses die.

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    1. Try David Austin's Graham Thomas or Westerland, which is more orange. Both are very tough.

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  13. You're gardening like a beast – a talented one – and it's paying off. In good looks and big fun. To victory! Huzzah!

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  14. I sometimes wonder if that's why we choose to garden, because it's this thing that will never actually be "done." It's this compromise between what we want and what Mother Nature wants. The older I get, I find it easier to let Mother Nature win :)

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    1. Gardens are never 'done'. I like how dynamic and challenging they are. :o)

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  15. I love those yellow roses. You've done a lot of work in your garden!

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    1. I've wanted to grow yellow roses for a long time. I was so happy when I was able to dig up more lawn to add a rain garden and make room for the roses.

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  16. For most people a "gardener" is a little old lady in a straw hat who putters around the yard planting flowers. You're really going to give the old stereotype a shakedown with the whole "garden like a beast" idea. I like the notion of fearless gardening!

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    1. I think all gardening requires being a bit fearless. You just have to go for it! :o)

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  17. I have not been watching the Olympics this time. Not sure why, so I did not here that phrase. Don't think it really goes too well with gardening though, but neither with dainty gymnasts either. But you really are doing a lot of work this year and you are doing some nice plantings.

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    1. 'Beast' is teenage slang for having a fearless attitude towards something. I suppose it resonated with me because I hear it so much. :o)

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  18. "Garden like a beast" - I like it! And you have so much to be proud of, your rain garden is really taking shape. That rose is beautiful, I am going to have to learn about roses, I seem to have inherited lots...

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    1. Your inheritance is more like a winning lottery ticket!

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  19. Thanks for the motivational speech! I need to be gardening like a beast! Thanks for the reminder that each of us needs to be going after our own personal gardening gold! :)

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    1. I like the idea of each person having their own gardening goal to work towards - our own 'gold'! Fabulous! :o)

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  20. welcome you very warmly.
    I came to you from Nadezhda.
    Your blog is very beautiful.
    Pictures and flowers lovely.
    Lucia

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  21. Hi Tammy, the thing about the Olympics that gets me, is that they don't get any medals for trying. If I were head of the World Gardening Olympic Federation (WGOF) I would hand out gold medals for energy, enthusiasm, perseverance and courage. You would get one for sure. I'm the Transplanting Queen too, but I guess we are Queens of different territories!

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    1. I almost couldn't watch the gymnasts on the event where they kept falling. I didn't care what country they were from. I just wanted them to be able to walk away with a feeling that they had done their best. But it's the ones who want a gold but earn a silver or bronze and pout about it that are the most irritating. I do a ton of transplanting, too!! I've moved plants 3 and 4 times before! We might need to share that title. :o)

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    2. This is our chance to model sharing gold for the next Olympics at Rio!

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  22. Tammy, your phlox is frisky! In my garden of many varieties of phlox, they are a bit bigoted. They never commingle. David is especially a snob.

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    1. We're very communal here at the Casa. :o)

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