Gardening Update

Well, it’s been over a month since I planted my first batch of garden goodness from Michigan Bulb. I wouldn’t have bought any more this year, but Scott ended up getting the Fall catalog in the mail, replete (resplendent?) in its fantastic coupon-bearing glory.

So, before the new arrivals arrive, I thought this would be a good time to recap on this season’s gardening progress. Read on for photos and descriptions of my cute baby plants and not-so-cute weed gardens.

This fantastic patch of grass is all Aaron. Well, I water it sometimes, when I water my other plants, but I really can’t take any credit for its fantastic lush overgrowth. (It’s all laying down right now because of the insane deluge we got earlier today.) A month or two ago, some dudes with a trailer full of landscaping equipment came by and, for only $20, removed a stump that once lived where that patch of grass now lives. Immediately afterward, Aaron sprinkled a liberal dose of rye/fescue seed over the resultant pile of sawdust, and voila!

This time, though, we’re remembering to continue to water it, even after it looks healthy and full-grown. When we tried to seed the former home of the run-down greenhouse in the back corner of our backyard last year, we only watered it until the grass looked “done,” then we figured our job was complete. Au contraire—the grass died in the summer heat, and weeds grew there instead. *sigh*

As for the plants I either bought from Michigan Bulb or acquired for free from Melissa at work… they’re still alive. For the most part. From Michigan Bulb, I had purchased some Lilies of the Valley, Moonbeam Coreopsis, and mixed Delphiniums. The Coreopsis seems to be doing well, for the most part. The Delphiniums may have finally finished dying in the intense 90°+ heat, and half of the Lilies of the Valley aren’t dealing well with the fact that I forget to water them.

The free plants from work are all doing fairly well, if still a touch small. My two lavender plants are still quite alive, if only two inches tall, and certainly not blooming yet. The one calamint plant is hanging in there, smelling all minty, although the torrential rain today kind of flattened it to the ground a bit. I pinched its top off earlier this week, to encourage branching. My snapdragons are quite possibly doing the best of all, although they haven’t bloomed yet, either. They’re about three, maybe four, inches tall so far, and quite perky. Maybe someday they’ll give me pretty flowers, despite being in partial shade at the base of a maple tree. Oh, and I haven’t planted the morning glory yet, although it’s still growing strong in its little plastic pot. I really need to plant it soon, because its soil is starting to compact quite a bit, and it won’t have much room to grow before long.

Earlier this Spring, I bought some seed packets for cheap at Target, I think it was. They were on an endcap, and they were only a quarter or something, so I just couldn’t resist. Amongst other things, I got some parsley, which (unlike the other things) I actually planted. Despite Aaron managing to knock the planter over with the lawn mower, spilling seed on the lawn (but apparently rescuing most of it), the parsley is kicking much ass. I haven’t eaten much of it yet, but what I have eaten… well, it tastes like parsley. Which is good.

You may recall that I had quite the planting spree last year, with dwarf hydrangeas, herbs of all sorts, lavender, impatiens, and a hybrid tea rose. Of all the things that were supposed to come back, only the rose remains. (Of course, I managed to kill most of them myself before the Autumn or Winter ever did.) Somehow, though, even though I failed to cover my rose for the winter, it alone survived. The top of it died, sure, but the bud union under the ground lived and shot out a couple little shoots of greenery this spring. I don’t expect it to bloom this year, or maybe even next year, but at least it’s alive. I’ll be sure to cover it with autumn leaves this year like I’m supposed to.

You may also recall that, at Aaron’s and my last apartment/duplex, there was a Rose of Sharon bush that I positively fell in love with, and took cuttings of. That venture went surprisingly well, considering that it was my first attempt at real gardening. Of the dozen or so cuttings I took, I now have these three getting used to the outside, and I have three more still inside, along with the one cutting Scott gave me of his white Rose of Sharon (mine are purple). All of them, even the one I thought was a dead stick for sure, *all* of them have new live green leaves. I guess you’re supposed to plant Rose of Sharon in the fall, so that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to take one of the ones I’ve acclimated to the outside, and plant it right in the ground where I’d like a Rose of Sharon to live. (Hopefully to block the view of the neighbors’ deck.)

That’s about it for what I’ve got growing (or not growing) right now. In my next batch of plants from Michigan Bulb, I’m ordering some Jacob’s Ladder and Forget-Me-Nots for under the big maple tree in the backyard, and some Creeping Myrtle as yet another attempt to grow something under the overhang in the front of the house. Per Scott’s suggestion, I also plan to mulch the places I intend to put plants in the relatively near future. Under the overhang, and behind the house where the rosebush lives, and maybe whatever’s left over can go under the trees and around the mailbox, depending on how big the baby plants are. (Mulch is supposed to be a couple inches deep, according to Scott.)

Now, let me leave you with this parting shot of the northwest quarter of our back yard as it looks today. This is where the rosebush lives, and a bunch of weeds. Someday, this will be a kickass shade garden. Maybe. Or maybe it’ll be grass and a picnic table. At any rate, we’ll make something of it eventually.