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Everlasting Flowers

My struggles with gardening continue.

The marigolds in my window flower boxes are not doing well. This is entirely my fault because I forget to water them. I also don’t remember to snip and remove the old blossoms. Flowers are too quiet.

When my cats want something, they meow at me. Babies cry and dogs bark. Flowers are quiet. They don’t tell you that there isn’t enough rain or that there is too much sun. They may change colors or try to let you know in subtle ways. But, I completely miss those signs and then it’s too late.

When I first started planting flowers in the window boxes, my mom suggested using artificial plants. She meant the type that you can buy at the craft store. I thought her idea was ridiculous. I wanted beautiful and real flowers. Year after year, I’ve tried and tried. I can’t remember to water them often enough.

Now, I think my mom might be right. I even told her she was right. I figured that moms like to hear that type of thing. Next year, I might use artificial flowers in the window boxes. I’m already excited about the possibilities. Buying craft flowers will let me use plants that could never grow in my climate. I could also have seasonal plants. At first, I thought using craft flowers would be too expensive. My husband was actually the one who mentioned the costs associated with real flowers. When I really thought about it, I realized it wouldn’t be too different. I plan to keep and wash and reuse the craft flowers and I won’t have to replace them in July because some of them died.

I haven’t really decided yet. Some of my marigolds are dying, even the ones I’ve replaced. It’s been really hot and dry in our area for the past week or so. It’s even more frustrating since our spring was never ending rain. I might start my experiment in the autumn. I’ve always wanted a vibrant fall display, but we just don’t have that type of selection around here. Using craft flowers could be the way for me to have an explosion of color, right outside my windows.

More Gardening Adventures

My adventures in gardening continue!

Most of my plants look wonderful. Even the weeds look healthy and green. I have a few areas where I focus my gardening energy. I know that if I attempted to deal with my entire yard, I’d be overwhelmed. I have two rectangular raised beds, one area near the house shaped like a triangle, and the other side of the house where I planted the roses.

Two of the three roses seem to be doing well. The third was planted too late, I believe, and I may need to replace it next year. I am planning to buy a trellis for them since they’re all climbing roses. I’d love to believe that they’ll look spectacular in a few years. My more realistic side tells me that I’ll likely have to replace them and fight with them for years. I read about caring for roses for years before I planted these, but I know dealing with them is completely different.

The triangle near my house is a raised bed that was built before my husband and I bought the house. It was the first area where I tried gardening. Right now, it holds mostly daffodils. It’s near the driveway and I love seeing all the daffodils early in the spring whenever I leave the house or return home. I also planted strawberries there. The triangle only receives partial shade, so I’m planning to move the strawberries this season. I think that I’ll plant mint in the triangle. I love that the mint is almost always lush and green and it’s apparently hard to kill. I haven’t touched my pepperspear at all and it’s one of the healthiest looking plants in my entire yard.

The raised beds look wonderful. The weeds in them look wonderful, too, despite my attempts to keep them under control. It makes me laugh when I see them, because the soil we bought for the raised beds is helping my tomatoes and the weeds grow. All of my herbs are doing well. My parsley is basically the size of a small bush. I haven’t even started eating them all, yet. I just love sticking my face in all the plants because it smells like an Italian food restaurant.

I forgot to use cages for the tomatoes again. This happened a few years ago. I don’t always put the cages on them right away, because the plants are so small. I always plan to do it another day. Then, POOF, the tomato plants are huge. I’m afraid of snapping the stems, so I let them do what they want. I call them tomato weeds. The year I had the most and best tomatoes was the first year of the tomato weeds. I’m hopeful for this year’s tomato weeds, too.

Climbing Roses

When my husband and I bought our house, I had a gardening vision for the yard. I knew that it would be a lot of work and that it might take years to reach this vision. With all the work, inside and outside, that needed to be done with the house, the gardening was a low priority.

Over the past year, our neighbors cut down a lot of the trees that border our property. This has been wonderful because it allowed more sunlight to reach our house and our yard, too. One area that is now bathed in more sunlight is the east side of our house. On this side of the house, there are stones making a small path that lead to the backyard. Both sides of the path have areas for gardening. When we bought the house, these areas had been ignored for quite some time. For years, my husband and I barely managed to keep all of the plants in check. We weren’t always successful. Now, I’m finally able to spend some more time on these areas.

My gardening vision has always included roses on this side of the house due to the morning sunlight.
With help, I’ve started ripping overgrown plants from the ground, along with all the debris stuck in them. I’m hoping to remove everything between the path and the house. The area isn’t large, so I think it will be a manageable project. Over the weekend, I planted two climbing rose bushes on the side of the house. They’re small enough now that I have some time to decide on a trellis to put against the house. I have one more rose bush waiting to be planted.

When it’s finished, I hope that there are three beautiful rose bushes climbing the side of the house on a trellis. I love roses that have multiple colors, so the roses I bought are all more than one color. They are already blooming now and are stunning. I hope that I’m able to take care of them and help them grow. I’m definitely not a ‘real’ gardener and I know that roses are some of the most difficult plants to grow. I’ve been reading about them for years, now, and how to care for them. I’m hoping that I don’t have to replace them next year.

Wish me luck!

Rain and More Rain

My garden is thoroughly watered. It seems like it’s been raining for days. My tomatoes actually need some sunshine.

My garden is still far from my ideal version of it. I think that it will take years for it to reach what I’d like it to be, but I don’t mind the process. Gardens are growing and living things, often with minds of their own. I’m not even close to being an expert gardener, so I’m often amused, or frustrated, by what seems to happen. The colors and textures make me think of a painting, except that it lives and breathes. Just carbon dioxide instead of oxygen. Like a painting that can change the colors and textures as it feels like it. It definitely makes gardening a challenge.

Last year, I had some mint in some old window boxes. I keep them in the backyard since I have other window boxes for the actual windows. I think that I planted peppermint and either spearmint or sweet mint. I can’t quite remember. In my area, I think that mint is considered an annual. But, apparently, it’s not. At least, not for me. When I started dealing with the raised beds, I realized that the window boxes were actually growing mint again. I’m starting to wonder if the different types of mint can breed with each other to make some type of hybrid. I’ve started calling whatever is in the window box pepperspear, since I think it’s what happens when peppermint and spearmint make a baby together. It also doesn’t look like peppermint or spearmint, since I’ve already bought more of both for this year.

Now, though, it just keeps raining. I need to check everything that I planted in the raised beds. I’ve looked briefly, but I’m waiting for sunny weather. I still want to plant some flowers or something in pots for the front steps. I might plant some mint in them since I do love that the mint grows so easily, smells so wonderful, and looks so lush and green.

Raised Beds

I finally have tomato plants in the ground!

Last year, I bought two beautiful cedar raised beds from a Vermont based company. I bought them almost on impulse. I had a vision of what I wanted to do, but no real plan other than that. My husband assembled them for me and we placed them in the yard where I wanted to start a more formal garden. Unfortunately, since I didn’t have a plan, the entire season escaped me and I still hadn’t even filled them with soil.

This year, I knew I wanted to make my dreams happen! Or, at least, work towards my imaginary garden. I ordered soil and it sat around in the driveway for about two weeks because I didn’t have a wheelbarrow. Finally, I borrowed one from my mother. My husband has been really busy with work, so I found a friend to help me. Together, we filled the beds with soil and planted all the strawberries, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs I had bought. The raised beds and all the plants look spectacular!

Now, everything is planted and enjoying the rain. I’m hoping to continue working towards my dream garden while minimizing the amount of plant casualties. Wish me luck and a green thumb!

Window Boxes

The front of my house has four windows that are easily visible from the street. Each window has a window box that sits in front of it. Every year, I plant flowers in these boxes, usually marigolds. Some years have been more successful than others, but I always try. Planting new flowers in them is one of the activities I associate with spring.

In the past, I’ve tried growing the flowers from seeds. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that I don’t always remember to take care of them since they live in the basement under growing lights. I tend to forget to water them. I’ve realized that it’s more reliable to buy them in the spring instead of trying to grow them from seeds starting in the winter.

Today, I filled the window boxes with new marigolds. My favorite marigolds have red and orange petals. Most marigolds seem to have petals that are entirely orange or yellow, but I love the chaos of the red and orange combination. It’s so striking to me. There weren’t enough of these at the store, so I also bought a few orange marigolds.

Now, they’re all settled in the window boxes. I’ll be planting tomatoes and various other vegetables and herbs soon. I’m definitely a little late this year, but I’ve been working on making formal raised beds. I love the look of raised beds and formal borders and edges for garden areas. It reminds me a little of coloring books, I like to color inside the lines.

Cherry Blossoms

The plants around my house have been unruly ever since I moved into it, before even, since many days and weeks were spent renovating the house before I actually lived in it. The garden and plants and trees had been left to do whatever they wanted since the eclectic gardener who lived here before me had left before the house was sold due to a divorce situation.

Since the house was bought in the winter, it was impossible to tell what was dead and what was still alive. It took so much to renovate the interior of the house that there was no money or energy left to revive the rest of it. As spring started and the growing season began, I was constantly surprised by random plants growing in unexpected places.

One of my favorite plants, though, was a pink and fluffy tree next to the driveway. I had no idea what it was. All I knew was that, in the spring, the gentle buds burst into so many tiny, pink flowers. So many and so small that the tree looked fluffy from a distance. So, it became known as the ‘pink fluffy tree.’

My husband did not love this tree like I did. I adored it. As we slowly managed to take the yard back from the decorative chaos of plants and garden decorations, I made a decision. I didn’t care what was cut down or thrown away, but the pink fluffy tree was here to stay. It was the only plant I cared enough about to desperately want to keep. Unfortunately, I also believe that it was the plant my husband liked the least. This was because, after the beautiful pink blossoms faded away, the tree basically pooped pink plant pieces all over our cars. My husband hated parking under it and having his car covered in pink flowers and whatever else the tree decided to throw away.

I didn’t care. I offered to park directly under it because I refused to let him cut it down, or even trim it too much. He knew this wasn’t a fight he could win and, honestly, I don’t think he cared that much. Mostly, I think it amused him that I did. So, the pink fluffy tree is still there, stunning us with pink blossoms every year and then pooping them all over the cars and driveway.

While we are still in the process of turning the yard into my garden paradise, the pink fluffy tree is still my favorite plant on our property. One spring, while gardening, the tree’s pink blossoms were gently blowing through the breeze. As I stood there, covered in dirt and sweat from working in the yard, I realized that it was as beautiful as a picture. A perfect romantic moment. I called my husband over to me and shouted ‘Kiss me under the pink fluffy tree!’ I wanted a romantic moment to remember forever, despite the dirt and grime and garden tools. He rolled his eyes at me like he does when I’m being my type of crazy, but he leaned down and kissed me. A perfect romantic moment to remember forever.

It wasn’t until another time that I discovered what type of tree my pink fluffy tree was. My father-in-law was actually the one who mentioned it to us, in a conversation long since forgotten. He was the one to tell us that it must be a cherry blossom tree. Which are now, and will forever be, close to my heart.