Les Jardins de la Mansoniere
Today, I'm continuing with my love of gardening. Its not really a theme, its more like a little dream that's stuck on repeat. Right now I have just a spit of space by the back stairs and a low platform/deck my husband put down to prevent stray cats from using the space as a latrine. Totally glamorous, I know. But it's working. So I am looking at probably getting a few ferns and some pots to put on the stairs. Its little but it will make a difference. It always does. But I'm lusting for a bigger space to create some bloomy love, and all the new garden stuff we have is making me salivate.
When I have a little bit of dirt I get really excited about all the possibilities. When plants and flowers thrive, nothing could be better. Everyone is having a good time and its la dolce vida. But as it goes in life, sometimes our best efforts are thwarted. Perhaps the soil is too rocky and shallow for one thing but too moist and acidic for something else. And its a big guessing game as to what besides weeds will want to live there. You have to find the plant that likes to grow in that specific place. It's much easier to swap out the plant than alter the earth. In my parent's house the things that do well are azaleas and rhododendrons - its a rocky and a little damp, and once they get a hold they get comfy. There was a fuscia pink azalea and purplish rhododendrom by the front stairs for many years, until there was a gas leak out in the street, that ConEd could never locate. When they did find it, it was too late. Now there is a light pink rose and a pretty blue hydrangea that enjoy living there. But I still remember the original residents by the stairs.
The Parc Floral de Paris
The one thing that is very successful is a family of deviant Yucca plants that my Mom hates. She's commandeered many killing campaigns to end the reign of the Yucca, but there was always a shred of root left in the dirt and it happily grew back, not insulted in the least. I told my mom she could grind up the roots in a fine powder and it would be helpful to her arthritis. "No thank you," she said, "I think I'll just take my pill." My mom likes to try new things out and to make the place look nice, but being an herbalist isn't on her to-do list. A mini Tivoli is what she really wants, or maybe just the hanging gardens of Babylon...and my Dad, who is a retired biology teacher never really got into it. He had the laissez-faire attitude of just let it grow. Or die. A true naturalist I suppose. For me, the exciting part is locating a optimum spot for your new little bundles of joy, fresh from the nursery. Like Hey, there's actually enough sun to grow lavender here! or The ferns might look better in a shadier spot, or The bleeding heart still isn't happy. You have to check in with all your plants, record their gripes and see if there is somewhere else they can live. If not, a kind neighbor has to take it it and nurse it back to health. And keep it. This is the way it works. And if you get something new and exciting to grow that no one on on the block has tried before, you should deliver some little offshoots and say Hey, you wanna try some forget-me-nots in your yard? Plants are expensive.
The Yucca plant, clearly a deviant of Botanica
If nature isn't thwarting you, like the relentless Yucca, it's some ignoramus with a leafblower or weedwacker. In one place I had a big bald area along the walkway by the side of the house. The few sprouts of pachysandra that I got from my mom's garden was just starting to spread when the "landscaper" the landlady had hired came by with his weedwacker and chopped off their heads. I asked him why he'd done that when it was clearly not a weed. But he didn't care. When I think about one day buying a place, this is high on the list of positives - "I can plant what I like and no moronic "landscaper" will take me back to zero!" Nature is making me hardier you can see.
Other times you are just too late. One bright summer day, waltzing down the stairs with camera in hand to take a picture of the sunflower "I" had grown, I witnessed a chipmunk scurry to the top, lob off its head, and hurry back down to munch on his feast of seeds. But such is a garden that sustains. And I like those little chippies anyway.
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