Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Maintaining Balance in the Garden

Whenever someone hears for the first time that I'm a gardener, I almost invariably get asked, "Do you grow vegetables or flowers?" My answer is "yes." Why must it be an either/or proposition? Sometimes, though, the demands of one type of gardening begin to push the other type to the margins.

Nearly everything is putting on dramatic growth in the vegetable garden, which feels a bit like a child demanding attention. "Look at me!" it shouts. The beans are racing over the arches I built for them. The corn is now over my head. When something isn't growing like one of Jack's magical beans, then it's signaling me to lift it. I harvested 64 heads of garlic the other day. I've been communing with vegetables quite a lot lately.

The first substantial harvest

Even though the veg patch is being so rowdy and making me feel like it's patting me on the back a bit, much work still needs to be done in the ornamental areas. They are putting on a little show of their own, but it's a more subdued show, so sometimes they don't get as much attention. Someday I hope that "exuberant" will be an appropriate means of describing my flower beds, but right now, I do love the relative peace they represent. 

'Becky' has arrived!

The much-anticipated first blooms from the Leucanthemum superbum 'Becky' (yep, a daisy with my name) have finally arrived, and now I'm greedy for more. I hope they spread like weeds all over the large border. The Crocosmia 'Lucifer' bulbs that I lifted and brought with me from Orlando are multiplying and filling another bed with their scintillating blooms.

Fiery Crocosmia 'Lucifer'

In the front borders another Orlando transplant, the Canna, is stretching out and getting comfortable in a mix of Rudbeckia and Echinacea. When I compare my borders with photos of my favorite English garden (Great Dixter), I feel mine are so sparse. I think the word they would use is "mingy." I'm tempted to run out and buy a whole bunch of plants to fill in all the gaps, but I must stay my hand (and my wallet) and remind myself that things will look a lot different in a few years. It just requires a little patience and maybe a little balance.

The front beds are slowly filling in

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