Gardening, Take Two

When we moved into our house over six months ago, I had grand dreams of outdoor gardens and flowering nooks and crannies everywhere. I fantasized about a back garden that would make all who saw it envious of my mad gardening skillz. Back in early May, when I first began this undertaking, I had said:

I have planned: lavender, hydrangea, coral roses, yellow roses, ground cover in front of said roses, a rose of sharon, forsythia, catmint, more lavender, and butterfly bush. In front there, on the curve where there’s still a bit of dirt with no plants, that’s where the herbs go. Three varieties of basil, parsley, catnip, creeping thyme, coriander/cilantro, and whatever else tickles my fancy.

Alas, the only plants still thriving from my $100 Gardenland shopping spree (which did not include all of the above) are an out-of-control basil plant that’s nearly knee-high, three double impatiens, and my rosebush. The lavender’s trying to die on me, the cilantro and sage are long gone, as are the dwarf hydrangeas, and the pearlwort has shriveled into little brown flowerless carpets. No, this is not the onset of Autumn—this is my utter neglect and my poor landscape planning.

I feel like our back yard is some bizarre cross between a blank canvas and a complex logic problem. Now that I know where things grow and where they don’t, I have a better idea of what could go where. Instead of planting a giant flower garden by the house, under the heavy shade of the maple tree, perhaps some packed gravel and a picnic table would go better. Maybe some small flowering ground cover would go well by the back door, where that almost-back-step courtesy slab sits. You know, the I-don’t-have-a-back-porch square of concrete? Next to that thing, on either side. And perhaps a good place for a flower garden would be in the corner where we just planted grass—but just around the corner there, in a little curve, instead of a giant block of flowery insanity.

As for the front, under the overhang of our tri-level house, God only knows what will finally live there. Something that can stand drought and shade (since I frequently forget to water my outdoor plants). The impatiens did fairly well; but they’re only annuals, and I have a problem with buying the same damn plants every year.

First, though, maybe we ought to think about de-thatching and fertilizing and weeding and overseeding our lawn. It needs some serious work. Then we can build from there.