These days I don't have to worry about my stomach not being big enough, unfortunately, and I try to limit portion sizes somewhat so that I don't waste food. But this problem seems to have carried over into another area of my life--my garden, where my plant addiction has caused me to fill every available bare inch of soil with plants, so that my "plates" are overflowing.
Case in point: the roadside garden, which is a smorgasbord of color right now. These lilies are one of my favorites; passalong NOID's from my aunt, I named them 'Nettie's Coral' in her honor. They really are the prettiest shade of coral and might cause drivers passing by to slow down to admire them.
But when you look at the larger picture, you can see the problem. Most of them are planted behind the coneflowers, which have gotten taller every year and now hide many of the lilies' blooms. You know how much I love coneflowers, so removing them is not an option.
Maybe I should dig up the corals and move them to the front of the coneflowers. Right now there is a row of 'Stellas' in front, which are shorter in stature and work well as a border. Even this taller "rogue" daylily in the midst of the Stellas doesn't look too bad in front. But the corals are taller yet and might end up obscuring the coneflowers. I'm not sure what I'm going to do, but I need to do something before the garden police arrest me for lily abuse.
To the left of the center of this bed, the butterfly weed has nearly doubled in size, so that the Profusion zinnias and a few 'Arizona Sun' gaillardias can't be seen unless you get up close. To the right of the butterfly weed is a container with purple petunias and 'Diamond Frost' euphorbia. I thought it looked rather appealing sitting on its side as if the flowers were spilling out, but again it's hardly noticeable next to the butterfly weed.
The roadside garden was purposely crammed with plants to create more of an impact in a limited space and also to make it as low-maintenance as possible: I'm too
lazy busy to walk the 1/8 mile down the lane to check it for weeds everyday. But maybe it's time to do some thinning out.
Back up at the house, things aren't much better. This zinnia is actually part of a container planting in thefront sidewalk bed, but other than this bloom and a few glimpses of helichrysum and persian shield, you can't even see this pot because it is hidden by coneflowers once again. When we moved here in the fall of '04, I decided this area filled with gravel was the perfect place for a small flower garden. I dug out all the rock by hand and the following spring planted perennials and some annuals. At the time my knowledge of gardening, other than growing vegetables, might have filled one paragraph--if that. I ignored the recommended spacing on labels of perennials and packed plants closer together for instant gratification. It didn't take long for me to realize what a mistake that was! The next spring I dug up everything--one Knockout rose still hasn't forgiven me for tearing up her roots--and moved them all further apart.
That did help, but the narrow end of this triangular bed needed some oomph, so I decided to plant some coneflowers there, too, to hide part of the overgrown yews behind them. (My repetroire of plants in those days was pretty limited, too.) Fast forward five years, and the coneflowers have reseeded and expanded their original territory, flopping over the sidewalk and the aforementioned pot. This time I do know the solution--pull out most of the new seedlings next spring--but I'm thinking a re-working of this whole area is overdue anyway.
Another area that needs re-working is the shade garden. This is my favorite garden during the hot days of summer, and I really do like the look of hostas and ferns dancing cheek to cheek. But I think we may have passed that point some time ago, and it's time for some crowd control. The macrophylla hydrangeas aren't putting out many blooms this year, much to my disappointment, but those that are appearing have to fight for space between the bleeding heart and the large hostas. The cause of this problem area is quite obvious--my plant addiction again, always finding another heuchera or other shade-lover that I manage to shoehorn into a tiny space. It's time to divide and conquer!
Apparently, I'm a slow learner. When I created this new flower bed last year just for my growing collection of lilies, I wanted to make sure I had blooms or foliage interest when the lilies weren't blooming, so I kept adding more and more plants.
Again, many of these plants have exceeded my expectations of their growth. The amsonia that looks so lovely in the spring has gotten huge and is crowding out other plants in one corner of the bed. This poor little balloon flower has to peek out from underneath the branches of the amsonia.
I've already decided the amsonia needs to be moved to another area with more space, and I need to be more ruthless in getting rid of volunteer re-seeders. My parents were visiting the other day and my dad asked about a particular daylily and its unusual foliage. When I looked where he was pointing, I laughed--the daylily had the usual leaves, but it was growing in a stand of volunteer cleome. It can get confusing: 'Moonlit Masquerade,' above, sometimes likes to play with the switchgrass 'Shenandoah."
As for the butterfly garden, well, we won't even go there--you'd need a machete to get through that jungle of promiscuous natives and self-seeders.
The solution to all of this over-crowding is pretty obvious--time to divide and do some selective weeding out. My garden is very small compared to most people's I've seen on garden walks and here in Blogland, so I could probably double its size just by dividing and moving some plants. But that is a project for later this fall and next spring. It's definitely too hot right now to be moving perennials, and I have more pressing matters to attend to . . .
Unfortunately, it's Japanese Beetle season. My poor Knockout roses have been decimated, and the blooms on my two hibiscus plants are devoured before they can open. My father recommended spraying Sevin on the plants, saying that would knock these little villains right off. Yes, it probably would, but it would also knock a few bees and some other good guys off, too.
Ack! This means war! There will be no chemical warfare here, however; my preferred method is to pick them off by hand and dump them into a can of soapy water. Very early morning or late in the evening are the best times while they are sleeping off their gluttonous escapades. I've been faithful about doing this for the past two weeks, ever since they first showed up. In fact, if someone were to make a movie of my life right now (which would be pretty boring, to say the least) it would have to be a documentary entitled "The Making of 'Beetlejuice.' "
Amid the groans after that last comment, I bid you adieu for the day. It's a hot one here in the Midwest today; I hope you are all staying cool!