Sunday, January 27, 2008

Garden Dreams

I got a garden catalogue the other day, and now I am dreaming. I look at all the gorgeous flowers and think how wonderful they would be in our yard. Never mind that I am not particularly a good gardener, nor do I really love doing the work it takes! I love the idea of it...and maybe that's enough.

I am going to rework the perennial garden this year. The former owner of our house had far too huge a relationship with lilies, in my opinion. Tiger lilies are beautiful, but they are rather boring and common--and they are not good cut flowers, which is my heart's desire. I also don't enjoy their foliage much. My big plan for last fall had been to pull up about 1/3 of the garden--grub those bulbs right out so that when we layer on the compost in the spring I will have the perfect place for tons of different perennials in many colors....that is the other problem with the garden in my mind--Mrs. Carey loved orange and yellow with a few purple accents. I love those colors too, but I want a riot of colors--pinks, reds, white and blue added in.

My big plan went awry due to laziness and painting the house, however. We were very busy with all the painting (as I'm sure you remember! And we still have more to do in the spring, tra-la!) and when we weren't painting I wanted to be inside. I did try to dig up some bulbs at one point, which was really quite back breaking. I am thinking these lily bulbs may have been growing right there for twenty years or even more. Getting even one out took a lot of work..not my idea of fun. So now they have spent another winter in my garden and I will have to spend all kinds of time in the spring getting rid of them...also due to painting we never raked the leaves in the back yard. We did do the front yard for cosmetic reasons, but the back is quite a mess, and we'll have to rake out the garden, the bushes and a few big piles the kids have raked and jumped in over the past months.

Here are my dreams. Climbing roses! I found an assortment of these and they are so beautiful I can hardly take it. I envision these growing over the ugly chicken wire fencing we put up to close the sides of the yard. If anyone can comment about climbing roses--PLEASE DO! I would love to hear if they are difficult, if they need full sun, etc. One side of the yard would have full sun, the other is quite shaded by the maple tree. The catalogue insists they are a variety that's care free, pest and fungus resistant, etc.--but of course they want me to believe that....

Sweet peas! I want these growing over the arbor at the front door. However, if the roses won't grow in shade, I can put the sweet peas in the shady part of the backyard and put roses on the arbor, which has full sun. We currently have clematis there, but it was a problematic plant because we left it potted too long while we waited to close on this house. It did flower and grow last year, but it doesn't look like it will be enough to cover the arbor...unless I have to wait 20 years? I am way too impatient for that!

Strawberries! I am looking at the Ozark Beauties. I would love to plant strawberries, and again, if you have comments about that I would love to hear any tips. I am up in the air because basically they can't go in the back yard at all--the chickens will devour them instantly. In fact, if we are planting vegetables at all (which I want to) I have to find a way to keep the chickens out of the garden completely. Last year they decimated almost everything--peppers, cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers, herbs, zucchini...basically they left the tomatoes alone, and the peas and beans grew a bit but not the way I thought they the way, they also have thornless blackberries, raspberries and dewberries--yum! How great would this be to add to our blueberry bushes?

Gaillardia dazzler variety! These are basically large daisy-like perennials--"hardy, carefree, need no pampering" EXACTLY my kind of plant!!--that are red in the center and then as the petals head away they turn into bright yellow. Just shockingly pretty.

Rainbow dahlias---anyone have any advice? These are so pretty, mixed colors from pink to red to yellow to orange. But it doesn't say if they need sun or not...It says they make beautiful bouquets and can be planted along hedges, driveways or borders...comments welcome again!

English Primroses! Free flowering in early summer and again in late summer, thrive even in shady spots, hardy and beautiful. Anyone have experience with these beauties?

Peonies! I love, love, love peonies---but again, I need advice. I think I remember reading about them being difficult to grow or maintain or something...I am not good with needy plants. They are so pretty and the catalogue has a collection of giant double peonies in rose, red, white, salmon and still my heart. However, again it doesn't specify sun or shade!

Just for kicks, this catalogue (Burgess Seed & Plant Co.) gives freebies with if I end up buying all these I will also receive 3 Peacock Orchid bulbs (looks like an orchid, smells like roses, white with crimson center), 4 flowering Shamrock bulbs (rosy flowers from June-Sept also called Good Luck Plant), 1 pack of Trip-L-Crop climbing tomato seeds (allegedly produces 2 bushels of tomatoes from one plant! can climb to 25' with a trellis), and a packet of Vine Peach seeds (easy to grow, fast spreading vine, fruit is like a peach and a mango combined--yum!)

Anyway, these are my dreams. I would love to hear from any gardeners out there if you're familiar with these plants...I need perennials that are beautiful and impossible to kill, basically! (Don't we all...)


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