Friday, June 02, 2006

Our Garden

I admire but don't like regimented gardens, with flowers and shrubs and so on neatly arranged in rows, each kind in its own place, none of them mixed up with any others. Our front garden has a mess and mass of different flowers and shrubs: Bleeding heart (white and pink), oriental poppies (red and peach), arabis, dianthus, liatris, lilac, sedum (four varieties), euonymus (two varieties), irises (pale yellow and light purple bearded, dark purple plain), roses (seven varieties), rhododendron, Russian olive, day lilies, creeping thyme, mother of thyme, honeysuckle, Japanese spurge, elderberry, cedar, lavender, heuchera, daffodils, tulips, spirea (two varieties), creeping juniper, violas (volunteers, as they say, but we let them be), white violets, matricaria, grape hyacinths, white hyacinths, columbine, dahlia, hibiscus (a hardy variety), an Alberta spruce, red leaf sand cherry, hollyhocks, pulmonaria, crocuses, creeping phlox (white and pink), campanula, leontipodium, periwinkle, peonies, morning glories poking up their two-leaved seedlings, nine bark, hydrangeas, plus a dozen or so more whose names I forget.

In the side and back gardens we have an apple tree, an oak tree, a number of pin cherries (good for jelly and syrup), a couple of crab apples too young to have bloomed yet, clematis, raspberry, more roses, lily of the valley, woodruff, goatweed (a good ground cover under the deck), more bleeding heart, creeping phlox, irises, periwinkle, and daylilies, wolf willow, a white lilac, oriental lilies, lady's mantle, ferns, pansies, foxglove, delphinium, chrysanthemum, monkshood, phlox, several maples, more cedars, a rowan, primulas, bloodroot, and so on. We also have three beds of vegetables, but apart from the strawberries which come every year, and onions and beans, we haven't decided what to put in yet. By the end of next week, the vegetable beds will be planted and seeded.

Only the veggies are lined up in rows. The rest of our plants grow every which way, they look as if they had arrived and found their places and spaces as best they could. Which is pretty much the way we actually planted them, in patches of three or five plants, and most have spread to many other places. They bloom at different times, so starting with the crocuses, we have something blooming from April to October. We don't rearrange them much. Once in a while, we give away clumps of arabis or creeping phlox, or a bundle of iris roots, or whatever else we happen to have too much of.

We have a few annuals every year. I like large patches of impatiens and snapdragons, my wife likes pansies. The alyssum and forget-me-nots self-seed every year. We try out a few new things every year, this time it will be osteospermums, and purple and white verbenas.

Other people have very neat gardens, which have their own charm. But while I admire them, I don't want my garden to look like them. I like the way our garden looks: it looks as if it's grown there forever.