Monday, March 26, 2007

My Garden , survival of the fittest

Spring is here and my garden is coming to life. Someone flipped a switch somewhere and the plants all said 'It's time to grow'. I love my garden and spend a lot of time out there, but probably not in the way many gardeners do. I don't actually consider myself a gardener, I'm just the person who sticks the plants in the ground. After that, it's pretty much up to the plants themselves. I'll water them, and pull any weeds over 6 inches (city will write me up if they get longer than that), but I'm a hands off garden manager for the most part.

My attitude gives certain plants a real advantage over their needier cousins. For example, Mint does well in my herb bed. I have LOTS of mint, several varieties and they are all thriving. Mint doesn't ask you to prune, mulch or in any way baby it. You stick it in the ground and it grows. Same with the lemon balm, oregano and vinca. The chives are holding their own, but have never spread out as much as the mints, as have the lavenders. I did notice that one of the lavender plants has spread out and now I will have two of that variety this year.

My biggest, most aggressively happy plant? The blackberry bush. It's a thornless blackberry that I picked up for 2 bucks at some hardware store a couple of years ago. I planted it by the pond and that first year it was just a stick. The second year it game a few berries. Last year I got a lot of berries and this year looks to be a bumper crop. It has gone from stick to large bush with several small outcroppings in the wildflower bed. The birds love it and so do I. I can't wait to see how big it gets this year.

On the other end of the spectrum are the roses. Why I was possessed to plant roses I will never know. Something so tempting about them at the garden center. Over the years I have randomly purchased lots of small cheap roses and stuck them in various places around the yard. Mostly I put them in places I don't want the kids and pets to walk - works pretty well. Some have turned out to be climbing roses, despite their labels, so this year I will be forced to add trellises to my yard. I don't prune them, I don't add special vitamins and so forth. They do ok. Some of the pickier varieties gave it up and went to that great compost heap in the sky, but 6 of the plants have hung in there, even through this year's crazy hot/cold/warm/freezing weather. My neglect has turned them into hardy plants and it looks to be a bumper year for roses this year too.

For a long time honeysuckle was among the plants I could never get to grow. It's wild EVERYWHERE, but wouldn't grow in my yard. I bought plant after plant and they just didn't go anywhere. Then I got smart and went to the woods, dug up a plant and brought it home. First year was touch and go, but it took root and this year has already grown quite a bit. Last year it didn't flower, but I think it will this year.

Bulbs are another of those picky plants that doesn't always do too well in my yard. I plant them, the squirrels dig them up and eat half of them, and a few grow. Last fall I gave my youngest a little shovel and a bag of Hyacinth bulbs. I'm just now discovering all the places she planted them. None of those places appear to be anywhere near an established flower bed. We have hyacinth in the middle of the yard, by the tree, with the mint, by the honeysuckle there are even a few near the driveway. My husband wants me to dig them up and move them to an organized flower bed. Sweet man, but he really married the wrong woman for organized. I'm content to discover the surprises as they bloom. Besides, they only probably lived because they were hidden from the squirrels.

The blackberry bush starts its springtime return.The Blackberry Returns

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