Wednesday, August 26, 2009

CONFESSIONS of a BLACK THUMB


A few days ago I noticed that the local supermarket has begun carrying big pots of mums in fall colors. All the summer annuals are gone, along with their summer colors - the pastel pinks and blues and oranges, the bright vermillions and sky blues. Now the deep yellows, the rusts and brick-y reds, and the harvest grape colors are making an appearance. I was tempted, but it's still early. There's still plenty time for summer flowers that have already been planted. For that I look to the houses beside mine. My neighbors always have beautiful plants. Two doors down you can see the perennial clumps of sunny black-eyed susans and hollyhocks, and right next door to me are gorgeous cascades of mandevilla. When the season changes and the cooler weather comes, my next-door neighbor changes the flowing vines for mums that match the season; it always looks very attractive. My little house by comparison only has one little pot of orphaned blue something-or-others; the only pot (there were three) that survived my forgetting to water them for a few days during the summer heat when I was busy writing. I appreciate plants in borders and beds, and even in those plastic hanging pots, but I just don't seem to have the knack for maintaining them. Next week I'm getting some old raggedy bushes and weeds in the backyard beds removed, and am replacing them with spreading junipers. The resin from the junipers should act as a natural herbicide, and prevent weeds from filling in around them as they grow. It's the perfect low-to-no maintenance arrangement for someone like me. Oh, sure, I have dreams of butterfly gardens and riots of color from May to October, but I have to be realistic. Meanwhile, I always stop to admire the view at my neighbor's.

14 comments:

bobbie said...

Your surviving blue flowers are very pretty.

My own garden has suffered this year, simply because I couldn't stand outside and water when it was needed. And my hanging pots did not do well at all, so I gave up and planted what was in them, in the ground, where they thrived.

Dianne said...

the first year that I had a house I went gardening crazy - it took hours and was back breaking

now I have a few patio pots and I water when my back isn't on strike

and I admire the gardens around me too

plus ya know - less is more ;)

Sylvia K said...

I always had a garded when we lived in Montana -- lots of food and flowers and it was fun, but once I went back to work, there was never time and then for years after that I always lived in apartments. Had some house plants, which is what we have now and they thrive, are beautiful, but don't require a lot time or effort. These days that's a winner for me. Our neighbor, like yours, have lots of beautiful colorful plants in their yard, so when I have a need to see color, I just look out the window. Works for me!

Wren said...

I don't do well with things in pots, either. Too much water, or too little, or sometimes I think I manage both at once.

Outside, darwin rules. Plants thrive or not at Wrenaissance, without my intervention. I buy and plant more of those that live and don't buy any more of those that don't.

Not eactly house beautiful, but it works for me.

The ideal solution would be to get your neighbor with the green thumb to adopt your yard. Good luck with that.

Naturegirl said...

Deborah!! Those little blue flowers are "lady slippers!" I don't go by botanical names.Look at each flower ..they look like a victorian slipper!!!
They LOVE shade only and will flower continuously until Oct.
I usually have a pot right by my front door which has an awning to keep shaded.
This year I missed the boat because of all my testing appts..
Take another look ..closely.. at those "lady slippers!" hugs NG

fourwindsphotojournal said...

Your pot is lovely, Deb. You know from reading my blog, that I am moving away from organized gardening and into the wild. In fact, most of the photo I take are not in the garden. There are actually a lot more birds and butterflies in the field than on my plants.

I didn't know that about juniper. We have some growing wild out back, and I love the smell when I walk there.

SandyCarlson said...

I am like you that way. I tend to start out gung ho and then....nature and chance take over.

Quiet Paths said...

The border junipers will be nice and fill in and beyond the space where you plant them. This made me smile; being busy doesn't automatically designate a black thumb!

Sue said...

That's the nice thing about beautiful yards -- all the neighbors get to enjoy them too! For many years -- before we got Rosie Dog and a fenced in back yard, I put hanging baskets of flowers (white, pink, and blue) on the front porch. I would spend many hours every summer out there writing and reading. But now I sit on the back patio so that I can be with Rosie, and there's no place to hang flowers. I've tried putting them in planters, but Rosie eats them -- the planters as well as the flowes.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Each of us have certain talents, Deb. Yours obviously is in writing and other things besides gardening... I'm a gardener (sorta) --and love it. But--I could never write like you do.

Sometimes it is just as important to enjoy others' flowers --and not worry about having your own. About ground cover, we have alot of what I call Periwinkle here. It stays low on the ground, thickens up and kills weeds --and really is pretty. We have it in various place in the yard where we needed something. I think it's pretty. In the spring, there are little blue flowers.

Have a great day tomorrow.
Hugs,
Betsy

Cloudia said...

You raise beautiful posts!!
Aloha-

Comfort Spiral

YogaforCynics said...

Now and then a friend gives me a plant...it lasts for a while...then I kill it...

Recently, I've been using somebody's office three hours a week, and a client mentioned that the plant in the corner was dying. I'd noticed it not looking too healthy the previous week, but hadn't thought about it, figuring that the person whose office it is would take care of it. Then, however, looking around, I realized that the person whose office it is hadn't been using her office lately. So I watered the plant...but, having no idea how much water these bamboo-growing-growing-in-rocks type plants need, have no idea if it was enough or too much...guess I'll see next week....

Ruth said...

Junipers are lovely. There is nothing wrong with a shrub yard. Perhaps you could plant a native flowering shrub or two. I would love dogwood but our soil is too dry and sandy. Birds love bushes.

Indrani said...

Gardening is a very stress relieving hobby, I always find pleasure and satisfaction tending to my small balcony garden. Reminds me, I have to water the plants now. :)