Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Longer I Garden...

Every year Marsha and I plan our gardens.  This annum’s strategy – after careful consideration, extensive research and meticulously executed mathematical calculations is to just wait and see what comes up – and then fill in the gaps.

We came to this decision not out of any hippy-dippy, new age belief that, when it comes to what should or shouldn’t decorate our landscape, Mother Nature knows best.  She doesn’t.  She plants way too many weeds in all the wrong places.

The reasoning behind our laissez-faire landscaping modus operandi is threefold: (1) we don’t remember what and where the old perennials are;  (2) we don’t know yet what new plants are going to show up now that, due to extensive tree removal, one-half of our growing area has been involuntarily converted from Connecticut shade-grown to blisteringly solar irradiated; and (3) plants move.

 We actually have gone through the amnesiac phase before. In fairness to us, one reason we are not sure of the identities of many of our perennial repeaters is that we in fact did not know what they were when we took them in.  Some came from friends – who being friends – we never really question when they offer us something horticultural.  They probably told us what they were and how they grow – at least we hope so.

So we have the nameless, over-reaching ground cover from Ed; the anonymous tiny white flowers from Judy (the ones that are not Feverfew [also from Judy] which we do recall, although not exactly where they are – and definitely not the Tansy [Judy again], the location of which I am constantly aware because I spend most of my waking hours from early April through late October trying to keep it from spreading out of there); the two patches of slightly different tall, small sunflowers and/or daisies one of which we was given by our daughter-in-law Monica in New Mexico and the other by Richard formerly of Wethersfield – we just aren’t sure who gave us what; and many others that we are sure were gifted to Marsha and me, but not by whom.

We also have quite a few bushes and shrubs that we have literally rescued from death’s door at such places as the now defunct Heritage Garden at the Town Hall and an overgrown house garden that the new owner just “wanted out of here.”  No knowledgeable person was around during these guerilla gardening activities, so in general I had no idea what I was taking when I took them.  Even less idea when I planted them a week later.  And absolutely not a clue when they reappeared the next year – presumably in the same spot I had originally placed them.

I actually figured out the identity of one of the adopted plants after it reached full bloom. It was Decorative Fennel that had been removed and replanted before any of its distinctive yellow umbels or licorice aroma were up and running.  But most of the time if the plant arrives under a cloak of secrecy we don’t ask any questions.

Last year Rose of Sharon, Flowering Crab, Thistle and Pokeweed spontaneously appeared in the new sunny part of our yard.  All but the Pokeweed are back so far – plus honeysuckle is already muscling out some of the shade lovers that apparently kept it under wraps all these years.  We have it in another part of the yard, but never, ever in this particular location – so I am not sure if it has migrated or just, having lain dormant for lo these many years, been given new life by the rays of sunshine now pouring down on it.

The aforementioned Fennel is on the move – migrating outward after spending several years confining itself to the garage wall at the back of one of our gardens.  Now it seems to be striving to fill any available piece of soil within its seed-throwing range.

A while back we rescued a small plant with red tipped leaves and short white feathery flowers.  After two years of good behavior, it is now aggressively marching eastward at the other end of the garden from the Fennel – as well as forming a second small commune in what is now the most sun-ravaged of our perennial beds, across the lawn and about thirty yards to the south of the parental pod.

All this – plus myriads of unrecognizable small green potentially perennial looking shoots popping up among and between. 

 The longer I garden, the taller I let the unknowns grow – just to be certain.  And the longer I garden, the more unknowns there are.

No comments: