Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Bargain Hunting Gardener's Life

Shady Bed, early spring
Every morning I head out, weeder in hand, to look at my garden and see what's happening out among the plants. I stare fondly at the plants I love and do battle with the endless armies of invaders. There is usually something interesting, especially since this year I have planted a lot of seed. I'm pretty comfortable with things I have grown from seed before, but less so with new things. Apparently during the years when I was off planting mature plants the seed sellers have decided you do not need a little picture of that the new seedling will look like. Things are germinating that I do not recognize than I am not sure they are welcome. I won't know until they get a bit bigger. I am also new to veggie gardening, so I do have a bit of anxiety about it.

Shady Bed mid spring, north end
After many years of grousing about my gardening methods Shana has finally decided that she understands the difference between my gardens and "normal people's" gardens. I like plants. Isn't this amazing? I'm not really a landscaper; I just see what kind of exposure/soil I have and put something there I think will grow. I also value leaves as a mulching material. Personally I like the combinations that result even if it's not normal. This does make my garden significantly more interesting in the close up than it might be from a distance, however. It rewards close inspection but does not give the dressy and finished appearance a more edited plan supplies. Probably some areas are suffering from too much variety, and I enjoy diminutive plants as much as the structural garden stalwarts. The volunteers, like the money plant and lamium that crawled under the neighbor's fence and the bleeding heart that arrived spontaneously from the forest are welcome to stay.  Wild violas are as welcome as their more cultivated cousins, although I keep a close eye on the wild violets and their pushy ways.

Shady Bed, south end
 I am trying to fill out some new garden spaces without any budget to do it, so I am moving a few things around and making the best of the extras I have around the yard, and around everyone else's yard. I've been lucky enough to have a mature garden to pillage and a few interesting volunteers around the yard. I am also blessed with the conviction that gardeners are playing a long game. I am resigned to waiting until plants mature in their own time. The corner bed  I have planted in hydrangeas and hostas will not really look like much for another three years. It will be gorgeous then, and in the meantime I have the comfort of knowing the only expense I have incurred is the price of two hostas I bought because I could not beg cuttings of those varieties. I just have to keep my hands off it because although it looks sparse now it is actually completely full. The mature size of the plants will fill it up and then some.
Classic Cape Cod combination of hydrangeas and hostas

My shrub border is fully planted but does not look like it. I do not have quite the varieties or sizes I would have chosen with a more generous budget, but I have some nice things. I have a forsythia, two high bush blueberries, a butterfly bush, rose of sharon, fairy rose, andromeda, viburnum and dogwood. There are lots of hydrangeas in various puny sizes.  I spaced the shrubs with their mature size in mind even though right now they are mostly little sticks. Next year I can start underplanting with smaller plants, like the hostas which will need to be divided, and the miniature hostas which will be crowded out and covered up where they are.

Just a reminder: for a close up inspection of any of my photos just click on them to embiggen.

And for your entertainment, a wonderful example of stop motion filming:

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