Friday, June 09, 2006

Recap volume 3

I think I shall post about my burgeoning garden, because it's the only thing I have pictures of, and I can't find any AA batteries in the house for our ancient and perpetually-low-on-batteries digital camera. Plus, it's my very favorite thing right now. I love flowers, I'm absolutely obsessed with them. I have aspired to be a successful flower & plant grower for years, but never had much luck. My first plant purchase was in college. Something palm-like and tropical. (Always the escapist - I lived in Ohio). I loved it so much that I watered it profusely every day, until it succumbed to root rot and I dropped it off at my Grandma's begging her to save it. No go. Chuck has always attributed my lack of plant skillz to the plague of a brown thumb, but truth be told, I'm all about the planning and the prepping and the planting, and pretty lax with the maintenance. This seems to be a common theme in my life...

Living in the desert for 8 years didn't really help my gardening aptitude, combined with the fact that no matter how many books you read, or how many sources you consult, there is no hard and fast rule for any flower or plant. There are so many variables, soil, climate, species of the type of plant, etc. It is largely trial and error, and more than a bit of luck. Since we moved back to Atlanta from Los Angeles, Lady Luck has been prevalent all around, but I am most pleased with my newfound success in the gardening department. I've turned over a new leaf. I think I might actually be the plant whisperer.

The only fortunate part of planning a wedding while renovating a house, is that I was able to incorporate decorations for the wedding that we could actually use at our house. In lieu of the gazillions of fresh flowers that I originally envisioned, the majority of our wedding decoration budget consisted of plants that were meant to end up in our yard.

Here's what we started with:

When we moved in at the beginning of April, we lucked upon an annual plant sale at the fantastic Oakhurst Community Garden, which is about 2 miles from our house. For less than $50, we picked up:

3 mature irises

a crinium lily

4 calendula plants

2 asters

and 3 mature day lilies

These were all plants that had been donated to benefit the garden, and came from people's yards who actually knew what they were doing. I was told they would be much hardier than the usual overpriced crop I bought at Home D or Lowes. And they were a bargain - between $3 & $5 a piece for mature plants. I'm loading up at next year's sale!

Due to the abundance of Georgia red clay, prepping the bed proved to be a little more work than anticipated. I did most of the planting with a spade, rather than a trowel. While chipping away, I encountered a mound of fire ants, a black widow, and this lovely relic:

That would be a crack pipe.

The irises bloomed almost right away. I thought I took pictures, but hell if I can find them. We added a border and some decorative red mulch, and that's how it stayed until last week, when I finally planted all of the plants and flowers from the wedding. I'm so excited because our front beds are an abundance of blooms!!!

However, it is late and I am turning into a pumpkin, so I'm going to have to continue this later...


At 10:23 AM, Blogger freakgirl said...

Lovely! I, too, adore flowers and plants. Can't wait to move and start up my container gardening again. There are already big giant day lilies near the front door of the new place, though.

At 7:33 AM, Blogger Maggie said...

I too have always wanted to be a gardening type, because I love flowers and plants. I think they're what make a home really look like a home. I'm not good at it, though. I also have a maintenance/follow-through problem. My first experience was with an unfortunate african violet, definitely not a beginner level potted plant. I rotted it out. I did not know you don't water plants every day.

My next attempt was years later. Jeremy and I broke our backs pulling out the ugly and half-brown juniper bushes in my mom's front garden because I was going to choose the plants and make it my own (we lived there at the time). I got halfway through the planting (we re-edged it and everything) when my mom, who promised not to interfere, started digging up plants, switching them with plants from the backyard, moving things around. I just got so mad I quit right then and left it to her.

The following year my parents went to Australia over winter holidays to visit family, they were gone for 5 weeks. My biggest responsiblity while they were gone was to water the houseplants. My mom has so many. I forgot. One week before they came home I noticed they were all dying, and I rushed around with water and lucky for me, they perked up in two days and when my mom came home, she thanked me for taking such good care of them.

This year we made a real garden in the front of the house. I don't know what the hell I'm doing, but we got some euonymus bushes, petunias, lobelia and daisies. I arranged them in a way that I think now doesn't look so great, but hey, it's my first garden! So far, nothing's dying. They're actually growing! For next year I'll have a better eye and idea of how I want it to look, but right now I'm happy. I also made a hanging basket with our leftovers, and that's thriving too. Yay! However, the fuschia baskets I bought for the back are dying. The blooms look awful. Can't win them all. At least I'm winning ONE. :D

Your front garden is just gorgeous. I like how you've got that corner bit at one side of your stoop to fill up, plus the strip under the windows. And your containers are lovely...just the perfect place for them on the stoop!

Hard work, gardening. But so worth it!

At 8:04 AM, Blogger Emilie said...

Freakgirl, I love day lilies! I have been fawning over mine b/c I'm so excited they're blooming. I have become the person who talks to my plants. I bought them at the plant sale, so it was a surprise as to what kind and color of bloom they would have. You can separate them and make new plants too, which is terribly exciting to me. And I LOVE that flower that you posted on your site. That's right outside your door?

Maggie, I saw the pics of your garden and it looks great! I kind of did the same thing. I got stuff and planted it and figured this is my year to experiment and figure out what grows and what dies, so I'm not going to worry about how it looks for the time being. The bed on the left is kind of all over the place, it doesn't really have a good flow. But if I keep them all alive through the summer, my mission will have been accomplished.

It is a lot of work but incredibly rewarding. I'm out of money to spend on plants for the yard, so I'm thinking about trying to grow some herbs from seeds. I had an herb garden in LA that started as half plants and half seeds I grew, and the seeds sprouting into plants was thrilling. Then I lost interest, forgot to water it and it died.

At 8:28 PM, Blogger freakgirl said...

The lilies are a few steps away from the front porch. It's really hard to do any sort of nice gardening when you live in a condo, but I try to make do.

The new place will have some different opportunities, I hope. There is already one planter box installed on the patio, and a little bit of room by the front door. The current owner has some huge lilies and other things planted there right now. Yay.

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