Friday, September 20, 2013

Haters Gonna Hate

I stare at my garden sometimes and wonder how much time and money I've thrown at it. Every fall I redesign the previous years redesign only to have to do it again the next year. I'm tired of it. Each summer the trees grow larger and the shadows sneak quietly across the yard, engulfing sunny beds into the ever expanding desert of dry shade. Perennials that were happy for a few years lie prostrate on the soil, desperate for sun while the sunniest bed bulges with too many plants.

Doubt begins to replace my sassy self confidence and I wonder how long it will take me to finally create a garden that doesn't need to be recreated every fall. But doubt is no match for stubborn optimism so I take a deep breath and give myself a pep talk.

Damn, girl, why are you so hard on your self?


Oh, please, don't even give me the "my garden isn't as fabulous as so and so's garden."


This garden isn't done! Instead of seeing mistakes or disasters, just think of it as editing a story. It's done when it feels right, not when it looks like someone else's garden. And as for all that shade, so what? Just go with it. At least you've always got a cool spot to park your butt in that hammock. It could be worse. Seriously. Just get over it.


Oh, and as for having to redesign your redesign, who ran all over northern Virginia buying plants last Sunday? Damn straight, girlie! You know it was you. You loved every minute of it.


So quit all that blubbering about 'not getting it right'. You know you love a challenge. You could have just stuck with a few pots of petunias, but noooo..... You had to go full bore batshitcrazy into gardening and this is what it's all about.


So quit being a hater and feel the love, darlin'. You've chosen a challenge over complacency so get your butt out there and make it happen.


Haters gonna hate but cheerleaders gotta cheer, even if we are occasionally the same person.


I've started my shade garden resign but still have a ton of work ahead of me. It's been too dry for me to make much progress but I've started extending the beds by several feet to create a deep curve. Many of the plants are cramped or need to be moved to moister, sunnier spots in the garden. Ordering a truck load of compost isn't practical for me so I use a locally produced leaf mold sold in bags instead.


The 'Ava' agastache and zinnias are still blooming.

89 comments:

  1. You said it!!! I'm itching to get out there. I'm sick of redesigning the mess I've created! But it's a wonderful green mess. It's just that the shadows are taking over areas that have cacti....they needed the sun and now.....I'm got some moving to do.....and cacti ain't easy. I'm glad I'm not the only one that experiences this. Have a good weekend!

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    1. I feel like I ought to just install revolving doors as garden art since so many plants only stay in each bed for a year or two. But one of the shade beds that's being redesigned has been the same for 8 years so it's way overdue for a makeover. :o)

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  2. Every now and then I pass a house with a perfect lawn, a few meticulously trimmed foundation shrubs and a single large potted Alberta Spruce. It's lovely and low maintenance and makes me wonder the same things that you do. Couldn't we have just taken the easier road? But as Bob said,
    "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.”

    You go gardener!

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    1. Landscapes like that are too low maintenance. They just put me to sleep. I need more zing, even if it does make me crazy sometimes. :o) I have never found Robert Frost to be wrong. His words are so wise. The road less traveled is so much more fun!

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  3. oh but how we'd HATE to live with a lawn and cupcake shrubs with a token tree! That's not a garden, that's a sadly missed opportunity to stop and smell the roses by the way.

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    1. What an excellent response! It is a missed opportunity. I'd never thought of it like that. :o)

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  4. That is how it works, sun turns to shade and some plants far exceed the published mature size. I found a lot of plants turned out to be slackers in our record heat and drought this summer. Out they go and in with the more heat-tolerant replacements.

    In response to your question on my blog, I found it on ebay and this one is even less than I paid.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Plant-Driven-Design-Creating-Gardens-That-Honor-Plants-/261288993015?pt=US_Nonfiction_Book&hash=item3cd609a0f7

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    1. Thanks for the link! As much as I moan about the shade, it gives my garden a feeling of coolness that I need on hot days. I just wish the shade weren't so dry. But I suppose perfectly moist shade wouldn't be as satisfying of a challenge. :o)

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  5. Here, in the coastal tropics(an easy 10 minutes stroll to the ocean) I battle a very small yard with waaaay too many palms and dreadful soil.
    On Monday, I'm getting a second quote to remove some giants. I'm already making room for bigger containers...
    There is a certain masochism in this gardeniing lark, I think.

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    1. I totally agree that gardening can be a bit masochistic! I have a bad shoulder and I was just wondering today how many bags of compost I could haul before it really started to hurt. That is just so twisted... :o)

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  6. This is a very good post with good comments. You are quite right girl - you are too hard on yourself.
    Here this mood takes the shape of "Why on earth do we do all this? Why can't we be like normal, ordinary people who just have a lawn and enjoy life?" The only answer is that this is the way we are. No need to fight it. Just keep going and remember that there are lovely moments as well.

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    1. As Popeye said, "I yam what I yam." Ok, he wasn't much of a wordsmith and had poor diction but I have a very strong internal drive that propels me towards trying to create a garden that matches my own vision of what I'd like my garden to look like. When a plant doesn't do what I want it to, I'm very curious to find out why and to see if I can solve the problem. I torture myself!

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  7. Oh how I wish I had more shade....

    We all got different garden issues! ;-)

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    1. Plant three crape myrtles, a river birch, dogwood, cherry tree, a massive laurel oak, a cedar, a hornbeam, a mystery viburnum, and several giant ash trees and you'll have tons of shade. :o) It's time for me to quit moaning and start appreciating all that green!

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  8. I feel the same way! As I have been planning a redesign of my own garden, I realized that I redesigned it last year! And probably the year before that, too. :O You would think that eventually I would get it "right"! Anyway, part of the fun is in the doing, and the anticipation of whether it will look like what we have in our mind's eye. Eventually, I hope the real thing and the idea mesh together!

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    1. I hope it finally meshes together, too. Every year I learn more so I think that's part of my compulsion to redesign my beds. I see mistakes that I didn't see last year.

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  9. Man, I needed that! Thanks for the pep talk. Have an awesome weekend, sweet friend.

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  10. Perfect timing! Before it got dark (at 7:15 Boo Hoo), I went for a quick WALAT (Walking Around Looking At Things)in the garden with a well deserved glass of wine. To say I hate parts of my garden right now would be an understatement. And the parts I hate the most are the ones I just redesigned in the spring. Pass that wine bottle, would you please?

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    1. I've got a glass of Norton next to my computer mouse right now. :o) It makes all the crazy mistakes seem more like purposeful experiments and less like disasters, as if I could be nonchalantly waving a glass of brandy in my hand and muttering, "Yes, yes, I planned it like that. It's a bit of an experiment, my dear. I fancy a bit chaos now and then."

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  11. I've admired how you get out there and "just do it" as the saying goes. It's the process we love as much as the finished product, I think. That was a good pep talk!

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    1. You are so right. I do love the process of it all. I love that I'll never be done learning what my garden has to teach. That's exhilarating. :o)

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  12. It's so easy for us to see and dwell on the problem spots in our own gardens. We're always our own worse critics. I look at my rock garden and see a mixed up, weedy jumble. Visitors come and just see the beautiful, colorful flowers.

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    1. I have a friend who loves the part of my garden that I think is a train wreck. Maybe I don't need a new garden but a new perspective. :o)

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  13. I hear you. The garden around the back side of the patio got a new look this summer, but it still doesn't work. I cannot seem to get it right. And I wish we had shade. With all of the trees we have here, you'd think I could have a shade garden--but I don't yet. You look like you have a good start. That's what gardening is all about--a continual process of change. Good luck.

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    1. I think if gardening were static, I'd like it less. I love how dynamic it is. Plus, all the trees give us much needed privacy since the houses are so close in my development.

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  14. You are awesome! Seriously awesome! It is a challenge and it is never ending..and every time I come home with a new plant my husband just looks at me cause lord only knows how much I have thrown at my garden! And it still has holes...and big trees with white flies who live in these wet dark areas who attack my plants! But yeah we could have just stuck with a couple of pots of petunias! You inspire through your garden and your humor! Thanks for the boost...I needed it for the load of dirt waiting for me in the side yard tomorrow morning! Cheers friend!

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    1. Ooohh!! A load of dirt! Fun times! I really love the physical tasks of gardening such as removing grass to create a new bed or even hauling bags of compost, etc. I'm just a bit bent like that, especially if there's a warm shower, hot pizza, and cold bottle of wine waiting for me. I love the satisfied feeling you get after spending several hours in the garden. But I could live without the white flies, too! Ick!

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  15. Yep. I hear you, too. My garden is nearly entirely dry shade lately--especially with drought the past couple of years. But as you say, it could be worse. A shady garden means a cooler house and a lower A/C bill. Thanks, always, for your humor and honesty, Tammy!

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    1. You're so very welcome! Our giant Rose of Sharon shrubs help keep our living room cool. No complaints here! :o)

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    2. By the way, the "lessons learned" post including your lessons went live today. Thanks, again, for joining in!

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  16. I love your posts - they always make me feel so much better ! I thought I was the only one redesigning the redesign ! And where do all those plants that I buy GO ? Every year I buy enough to stock a brand new garden, and the garden is never FULL ! All my gardening friends are walking round nurseries bemoaning the fact that they can't fit another plant in, while I fill trolleys with plants to fill my yawning gaps. Again !

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    1. Thanks! I have to ask myself the same question, too! Where are they? I've bought enough plants over the years to stock a nursery. Of course, I keep expanding the garden by removing more grass, so of course I need more plants... :o)

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  17. I also think of the time and money that went into the garden but I see the plants growing comfortably and nicely in the garden I think they deserve it LOL... You a beautiful garden!!

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    1. A garden that makes the gardener happy is worth every minute and dollar spent. :o)

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  18. I love the "editing a story" metaphor, and living characters don't always do what their author wants them to do, either, but that's part of the fun. I enjoy it, though, and it's exciting to watch the edited version next year, to see last fall's vision grow and develop, even if there are both successes and failures. Most of the time the edited version is at least somewhat better than the previous version, sometimes much better than that, don't you think?

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    1. I think this years edits are going to be keepers that make it to the final version. I have a gut feeling about that. Of course, it could just be a virus.... ;o)

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  19. Well, as you suggested I got my butt over to your blog asap and I'm glad I did! You are my "ideal opposite," and I am going to try to learn from you. This was hilarious and very true all at the same time. PS - thanks for the pep talk!

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    1. All this post needed was the theme song to 'Rocky'. :o) I'm glad it pepped you up. Every cloud has a silver lining, except when it's mercury. But at least it's fun to play with when the doctor isn't looking. ;o)

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  20. Where on earth do you find all your crazy pictures?? I must admit I have saved some of them for my own pleasure. As for the pep talk, a gardener's gotta garden.

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    1. My secret source is Google Images! I troll it looking for just the right graphic. I made the word cloud on wordle.com. It features the names of several of the plants I bought to add to my shade garden/rain garden redesign. Gardener's gotta garden for sure!

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  21. I think your dog photo bombed your last photo. The pots are in such pretty light too. I like his curly tail. My dogs always had curly tails. It really is funny, in a post about hating the way a garden is created or is growing, there are still those that have to hate something that others might even love! Not everybody has the same aesthetics or care of maintenance. I just read a CRAZY post on garden morality and ethics and you should have seen all the people passing judgement. Maybe time to hop off the high horse for many and just go with the flow.

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    1. My dogs are constant photo bombers. :o) I get frustrated with myself for not being able to solve all the problems that pop up in my garden and for struggling with the design. But every year I learn more. I'm really excited about the changes this year.

      As for passing judgement, I see it all the time. Why do humans have such a need to feel superior to others? We love to criticize others but never want to be criticized ourselves. How hypocritical. What a boring world we would live in if every garden looked the same. I once wrote a note to myself that said "Shut Up'. A friend asked what it was and I told him it was the best advice I'd ever given myself. Just because I love my opinion doesn't mean everyone else does.

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  22. Whenever friends/visitors are visiting and we're walking about the garden, my dh generally comments that "an area is not complete until she redoes it at least 3 times"! I don't bother to say, it's still not done. ;) Now as our bodies get older, I'm putting in more evergreens and shrubs after pulling out 3 or 4 higher maintenance plants. PS: don't be too hard on yourself. ;)

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    1. I'm good at knowing what I want my garden to look like, but I have no depth perception and often end up with beds that are too crowded. Editing is important but it's hard to decide what stays and what goes. But I'm really excited about the latest redesign because I have so much more knowledge going into it.

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  23. Tammy, I love your last photo, the zinnias are still blooming like in summer!
    And I love your sense of humor as well!

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    1. Thanks! We shouldn't have a frost for several more weeks so the zinnias will just keep on blooming until we do. They just keep going until the absolute last minute. :o)

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  24. Thanks for your post that made me smile :) I must from time to time remind myself: garden is not a goal, it's journey. Isn't that comforting ! Have a nice autumn.

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    1. You're welcome! You're totally right. I just need to keep reminding myself. :o)

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  25. Still loving those AVA-staches!!

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  26. Oh boy can I relate. My beds are full to the brim and everything is overgrown and I haven't been in the garden all summer to even see what needs redesigning so that will all wait till next year....for now it is maintenance and putting her to bed soon. I love that Ava!!

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    1. I just realized as I'm sitting here that my garden keeps changing as I keep changing. Change is the only constant. If I had "gotten it right" 9 years ago and then never changed anything, it would mean that I hadn't grown as a person or gardener. Now it all makes sense. :o)

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  27. So funny... you sound like... heaven forbid, a "Gardener". Just imagine waking up and realizing your garden is perfectly planted. Now what will you do? Your garden has no need for you... no more nurturing. Gardens will always need gardeners. It's what we do... and don't we really love it! Ah but everyone loves a good rant. Well done my friend.

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    1. If my garden were perfectly perfect, I'd have nothing to do and might be bored. But I would love a good imitation! :o)

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  28. I don't know about your winters, but here in Pennsyltucky they're cold, GREY, snowy, GREY, cold, icy, and GREY. Redesigning the garden gives me something to do when it's morbidly depressing outside and I'm stuck indoors for months. It gives me hope for a new year! But I do feel your pain when things don't turn out the way I planned. It's hard to wait for another year to get everything "just right", though it never is. Gardening sure is an exercise in patience!

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    1. I mentally redesign my containers (I have 69!) over the winter but finish all my major transplanting during the fall so the plants can settle their roots and better survive summer. I wish I could run all my redesigns through a dress rehearsal so I'd know how it will all come together. :o)

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  29. Yes, it is good that we have 26 letters in the alphabet! I enjoyed this post and easily identified. As for shade gardening, all I can say is welcome to the dark side!

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    1. I realized this summer that I was avoiding photographing my 'dark side' so I knew it was high time for a major makeover. I like my shady areas and will like them more once I've spruced them up. :o) On to Plan M...

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  30. The interesting thing here is that you aren't just redoing things, but extending the gardens. :) Bet it will be beautiful when you are done.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Thanks! I've extended both sides of my garden to create an oval of grass in the middle of a big C. The gardens form the outside of the C, while the grass is in the middle. I really like it. Plus, it gave me a great excuse to buy more plants. :o)

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  31. Does anyone ever manage to create the perfect garden that never needs to be changed in some fashion or other? I don't think so. I agree with Pivi's comment: it is a journey, not a goal.

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    1. I need to keep reminding myself of that. I just feel like I keep getting off the train at the Giant Ball of String or the Ear Wax Museum instead of where I want to go.

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  32. Sometimes I think garden magazines and books do the same kind of harm as fashion magazines - they erode our self-confidence and make us think we should all be stick-thin gardeners with perfect hair and garden duds, carefully cutting perfect flowers for perfect arrangements in our perfect houses. Well, gardens are dirty but nonetheless beautiful, just like every gardener I've ever met. And they evolve just like we do. You keep plugging away, Tammy!

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    1. Ya know, I never thought of it that way, but I think you're right. We have perfection shoved at us by the media and while it's easy to look at a starving supermodel in ridiculous clothes and see the absurdity of the image, it's equally absurd to think our gardens will look perfect all the time or even resemble those in magazines. I've read that they're 'staged' to look perfect for the photo shoot and that the magazine has the right to make changes to the garden. Oy! They can kiss my asster! Thanks for the pep talk. I needed it. :o)

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  33. I'm so happy to find you Casa Mariposa--you have made my day! (As did your comment on my post btw.) Your description of creeping shade describes my Portland, Oregon garden to a T. I used to grow fabulous tomatoes. Now the leafy greens are running amok. We do evergreens here like nobody's business--we probably grew your Christmas tree last year, if you had one. So, yes, I totally get creeping shade and I'm none too happy about it. But hey, blueberries and kale...I'll be healthy for sure.

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    1. I think my Christmas tree was made in a factory in China. ;o) I'm so glad we met. Shade is sneaky and quiet, just like calories. Every year I have more, despite my attempts to have less, kind of like wrinkles.

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    2. Oh yeah....those Chinese evergreens....how could I forget-:) I don't have a clue why my old avatar insists on showing up on sites that are Blogger and Blogspot. Ah well. I subscribed to your site today, so maybe it will change to the new google profile. Since I love humor garden writing (and I have a feeling I'm going to be treated to a lot of good stuff here), may I invite you to visit my site and read the story "The Beet Goes On." It will crack you up. It is in the right sidebar under "Food Fight." Hint: A seriously chubby Sheltie--a Sumo Sheltie--figures into the plot.

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  34. Great post. The changes that growth make in a garden can be a real challenge. Redesign is an ongoing necessity. I've got a list of Plants I have to divide and move or remove this fall.

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    1. Thanks! I've given quite a few plants to friends, which I really love because it gives them a second life and my friends get plants for free. I'm excited about the new changes. They are long overdue and much anticipated. :o)

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  35. A gardener is never going to be satisfied with his/her garden and so deal with it :-P. Lovely pictures -- where do you get all these?

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    1. I get my pics from Google Images but I made the word cloud. Some parts of my garden I really like and I'm really happy with the changes I've made to the other parts.

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  36. Ooooh, I am not the only one who is redesigning the garden every year? Feels so good to know. When I started gardening I thought I design, plant, and maintain and that's it, but my garden reality has been quite different. Plants don't work out, plants work out too well, aka they grow way taller than they were supposed to do, I don't like a color combination anymore, there is shade now when it wasn't when I planted, you name it. My garden needs constant change. I just wish I had more time to garden in my live!
    Christina

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    1. I have some plants that have self seeded all over the garden and are too happy! I used to think that if I didn't get it right the first few times, that there was something wrong. It took me a long time to realize what a process it is.

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  37. I knew there was a reason I planted only a few, very small trees. I forget that's a virtue when there's no shade on a hot day. Balance, blalance in all things...

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    1. Most of the trees were left by the builder, which is ok because they are huge, native trees. We added the river birch, 3 crape myrtles and the dogwood. They help keep the garden/house cool in our humid, sweltering summers. But dry shade is such a pain in the butt to garden with.

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  38. Tammy, I know you can't keep your butt quiet, especially where the garden is concerned. You go girl!!
    Get all "batshitcrazy" on it and it will be the beautiful creation that your heart desires, until next year's redesign of course....You go girl!!!

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    1. I have a hard time with quiet. ;o) Ya know I love my opinions, even if no one else does! I'm excited about my redesign. I love the mental challenge as well as the physical work out. Buns of steel, baby!

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  39. Hello Tammy

    I just found your beautiful and fascinating blog, through Catherine at Foxglove. I know I am going to enjoy reading all your posts.
    As your new follower, I look forward to knowing you

    Helen

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    1. Hello Helen! Thanks for stopping by. i'm so glad you like my blog. That makes me feel good. :o)

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  40. Oooo I love a redesign! The 25 other letters thing is great, although if you keep redesigning, you might have to dip into some other alphabets... I can't wait to see plan Ǽ!

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  42. Ok, let me try this again and see if I get my fingers to cooperate with the keyboard. I think I'm on Plan Q but I really like the way it's coming together. :o)

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  43. It's so wonderful to discover other people also suffer the extreme emotions of Long Term Gardening Disorder. Much more desirable than its boring predictable opposite number.

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  44. It's so wonderful to discover other people also suffer the extreme emotions of Long Term Gardening Disorder. Much more desirable than its boring predictable opposite number.

    ReplyDelete
  45. It's so wonderful to discover other people also suffer the extreme emotions of Long Term Gardening Disorder. Much more desirable than its boring predictable opposite number.

    ReplyDelete

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