Out Planting the Planter

The more unruly the better.

Last summer I had no idea what I was doing.  Let’s start there.  I planted what looked pretty, straight out of the pot.  I didn’t pay attention to the notes on the tags about growth patterns, and even if I did, I lacked the wisdom and foresight to take all the information into account.  With that said, I must admit, despite my ignorance, my plantings look awesome!

Going into Spring, I was so focused on getting my veggies sprouting that I hardly prepped for the emerging flowers. Some of the perennials are a bit tight or growing askew but it all looks cool nonetheless.  Last spring I planted Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina) in two spots hoping to add a little texture to the bed in front of the garage.  The clumps stayed small and a bit brown because last summer was very rainy, not the ideal condition for Lamb’s Ear. Little did I know, the stuff would go from about 10 inches tall to about 24 inches this spring, curving out over the lawn and above the bushes behind. It spread so wide I had to divide and transfer some to other parts of the bed.  It looks so cool up against the bushes that I think I’ll let it take over the front of the bed in coming years.

If I knew Lamb's Ear grows like a weed I might not have planted it. Glad I didn't know.

In the early spring I discovered bulbs I forgot I planted back in the fall, like Allium(Allium hollandicum) and Crocosmia (Crocosmia masoniorum). Thankfully I took the size of the neighboring Salvia (Salvia nemorosa) into account when I planted the bulbs, but they’re all kind of on top of each other and blooming at different times. As one flower dies down another shoots up. I know this is the way a garden should grow, but I just didn’t know this last year, I simply planted what looked cool for the moment.

The Allium is on its way out and the Salvia is on its way up. Beautiful timing.

I think I’ll use the same tactics for any future flower gardens.  Plant bit by bit, plant for the right conditions (sun/shade dry/wet) but don’t over plan it, because mother nature is bound to throw you for a loop.

This Torch Lily is twice the size of last year's so I had to trim the hedges around. But it makes a great garden accent.

Growing Where I’m Planted:

Check out some of the recent episodes of “Growing a Greener World,” The PBS show I’ve been working on.  In particular, check out episodes 2 and 3 on eco-friendly landscaping at home.  The more we decrease our turf the better.

Also, if you have an interest in arbor care or just want to be more involved in your community, check out my notes on PHS Tree Tending.  The classes are free, enlightening and a great way to get to know your fellow “tree huggers.”

Diary of a Tree Tender Part One

Diary of a Tree Tender Part Two

Diary of a Tree Tender Part Three

Diary of a Tree Tender: The Big Finish

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