Saturday, May 12, 2012

The "I Don't Care If This Lives Or Dies" Approach To Gardening - Part II

Today's post is a treat (or horror story) for all you gardeners out there   : )

I didn't sleep well at all last night & felt rather peculiar this morning so alas, continuing my work in the garage had to be taken off the agenda.  I did make good progress yesterday, however, even though I had to switch directions on how I was reorganizing everything.  I think (hope) this latest reorganization will  be something John & I can live with until I can devote half the rest of my life literally going through all the boxes out there & getting rid of things we haven't used in ages & never will again.

Before realizing garage work was out of the question for today I did go outside with my camera to take a few photos to share with you ... specifically photos of my irises which will demonstrate yet another example of what has become my unique approach to gardening.  Somewhere I have a list with the names of all the irises I invested in when we moved here but I have no idea where to put my hands on it right now.  Therefore I can't share with you the name of this particular iris but isn't it pretty!

I love irises!  I would have a whole slew of them if I could ... & technically with the size of our property I guess nothing is stopping me from doing that.  The only thing I don't like about them, which is the same thing I don't like about other spring bulbs (although I love them when they're blooming) is that once the flowering is done the plant looks dead & has to stay looking that way till fall.  It's my understanding that you are supposed to leave the plants looking this way because the green parts feed the bulbs for next year.  I'm not sure where I read that or even if it's true so if any of your gardeners know differently, do let me know   : )   Continuing along ... last year prior to our landscaper's work which ended up showing off his total lack of plant knowledge & landscaping skill I had to remove my strip of iris plants from against the house.  I had no idea where I wanted to replant them so I just tossed them willy-nilly into large plastic pots & stuck them on the ledge along the side of the driveway.  This was intended to be a temporary location.  Well, here it is a year later & they are still there.  They were never watered unless it rained, they were not protected from the temperatures, but here they are, blooming away.    
Since I wanted to look at a few of the other plants in what was my last year's attempt at cottage style gardens I decided to bring my trusty camera with me & unashamedly show you a few.  I'll tell you the names of the plants I remember.  In the photo below, from left to right, you will first see what is a French lavender.  I love lavender!  Next are 2 cone flowers.  I love cone flowers as well   : )   If I remember correctly, one of these cone flowers is called Tomato & the other is called Pumpkin.  Next is a red yarrow.  Look at all those blooms!  They are nothing, though, compared to what you will see in the next photo!
Another yarrow with even more blooms!  What that big empty hole is in the center of the plant is anyone's guess.  It's as though the plant is growing like a wreath.  I don't remember the color of this yarrow.
Next you see what I think is called a poker flower?  Then there is a pretty bush at the far right of the garden.  You can see this bush in this photo & also in the next one.  It has dark purplish leaves & pink flowers.  I have no idea what it is either although I do remember reading on the tag that it grows up to 6' high & just as wide.  I think I'm going to have to find another place to plant this one if we end up staying here   : )

And here, behind the yarrows, is my black-eyed Susan.  I moved it in the middle of the growing season last year & it looked as though I had killed it but I see it's gotten over its transplanting shock & should be quite a specimen this year   : )
There are a few other plants in this garden but some of them I'm not sure if they are good plants or weeds!  I guess I'll find out soon enough   : )

Here is a photo of another garden ... the one on the other side of the driveway where you start to follow the sidewalk around to the back door.  You really can't see much here except for neglect but everything looks healthy & buds (& even yellow flowers ... a coreopsis variety I think?) abound.  
Although this next photo isn't showing a plant in an actual garden bed like those above I thought I'd take it anyway to show you how beautifully one of my astilbes is growing.  We have this small strip of dirt at the back of the house between the house & that sidewalk I mentioned.  It gets shade 24/7.  When we bought the house that area was basically a trash dump for candy papers, potato chip bags, weeds, & a few hostas.  Hostas can be quite nice but only in other peoples yards.  These hostas were humongous.  We got rid of them & instead planted some ferns, a few lilies of the valley, a couple bleeding hearts, & a couple astilbes in this one particular strip.  This one astilbe in particular promises to be quite lovely   : )
I am actually surprised we have any plants growing at all.  A couple weeks ago we had hard frosts which attacked our area consecutively for a few days.  John & I never pay any attention to frost warnings.  Even if we did, there aren't enough sheets outside of a Holiday Inn for us to cover all the flowers, bushes, & small trees we have planted.  We have gotten a lot of frost warnings since moving here but they have never materialized ... at least not in our yard.  We told ourselves that we are maybe in a "safe zone."  Apparently not.  Almost everything looks like it has survived these frosts although the myrtles are questionable.  If we end up staying here perhaps we should invest in some smudge pots   : )        


Anonymous said...


Thank you for showing us around your garden, all your plants look great.
That iris is just lovely, We have poker flowers in our garden too.

I think you have greenfingers!

Anonymous said...

The photos are really good and for someone that looking out the window sees buildings and streets all around, is a pleasure to look at such a lovely garden!

TheCrankyCrow said...

Now you went and made me jealous....I actually got out and about and surveyed what might be poking through the sod in Nod today....Unfortunately, the weird winter we had and equally weird spring took its toll. I lost all my cone flowers, yarrow, balloon plants and everything. And these were well-established (5-6 years at least) plants. Even my lilacs froze....But at least I have hope that they will be back next year. Not so with the perennials....My whole garden looks like your "wreath yarrow" - a sedum and some bachelor buttons on the ends, and a huge gaping hole in the center. Boo Hoo. Robin

marly said...

I enjoyed the flower garden tour. Very nice stuff - lots of work - and well worth it.

Prims By The Water said...

At my last home, I had every color iris in the rainbow. My mom was an iris fanatic and she made me into one by giving me a baby of each of hers...then I had to buy th colors she did not have and shared back with her. I would cut mine down on an angle about 6 inches to the ground and they always came back year after year. Loved peeking ino your gardens. Take care, Janice

Kendra said...


You are so funny!

The gardens look great. It seems your approach to gardening is working well for you!

Iris' are my favorite flower. I love the varigated variety that I am starting to see around now.


Vickie said...

That iris is a beauty. As the leaves start turning brownish I just yank them off. Happy Mother's Day. :)

butterfly said...

You have some wonderful plants Shirlee, your garden looks so pretty.
Whith your Iris After flowering I would leave your leaves for a good month and then cut them back or just take the brown leaves off, or better still grow them in pots then move them after flowering and put out some summer flowering ones or if you don't want to keep moving them mix a few flowering pots with them that way your part of the garden will always look pretty.