Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Reviewing my iphoto library often gives me ideas for posts. I was scrolling through recently, looking for a particular image, when I noticed lots of beautiful—and unfamiliar—plants. Had I owned these plants? If so what happened to them? Thus was I prompted to briefly review the cycles of life, death, and replacement in and around the GWI property.

Back in the days of yore, around summer of 99 or so, my first attempts at gardening included taking down all the fencing around the beds (the former owners had dogs). Then I filled the beds with plants that I liked, with total disregard for sun/shade/moisture/soil requirements. This resulted in a part-shade, acidic bed being planted with dianthus, bellis perennis, achillea, lavender, violas and iris. All long-gone now. This pictures is a scan, as I didn’t have a digital camera then. The mural wasn't there then, and I see only one (unplanted) trellis.

My next attempt included daylilies, lilium, and various tough low-growers like campanula, geranium (the real kind), and creeping jenny, as you see below.

Most of this has been replaced by the pond, though some of the plants are not quite dead. The daylilies and lilies were transplanted, and seem to have barely survived the summer in their new locations. The hydrangea remains.

Then there are all my lilium auratum. I had these correctly identified as the species from Lily Garden and given another name by Van Engelen, but I’m pretty sure they were all the same. I think lilies can give out after five years or so and that’s what happened here. Maybe if I’d divided them, which is something I hardly ever do. I just planted some bulbs from Van Engelen which seem to be at least relatives.

Maybe the saddest story is the rose garden. I have to blame myself here, because it looked pretty good when we moved in, all white shrubs mainly, with a red climber. There were two bad bushes: a Double Delight with black spot and some old polyantha with horrible mildew. However, I think I killed the white ones by not protecting them one bad winter. I also gave up trying to eradicate a severe midge problem. The rose garden is now a mixed perennial, tall annual, and lily bed. It doesn’t look nearly as tidy as it did (though you only really got one big bloom in late June, thanks to the midge).

Next on the chopping block? I have my eye on the side hosta bed. I guess for me it’s mainly the process. I’ll never be happy with the results.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Isn't it amazing how the garden morphs. I look back at photos of say 10 years ago and am just amazed how the garden has evolved. I sometimes wonder what I was thinking when I did a certain planting. Also like you I like the process. My likes change with the years, sometimes with the months. I think this is one of the joys of gardening. You can change your mind or your flower bed.

kate said...

This was ain interesting post - to see how a garden changes over the years. I'm the same - the process is what matters since the results are never quite what I'm expecting or looking for.

Hope your garden adventures are good ones in 2008!

firefly said...

I didn't think I'd done a particularly good job of documenting change, but I had to look through iPhoto for something unrelated recently and was astounded at how much the yard has developed in 2 years. Like you, I booted a lot of stuff the previous owners left that was doing really poorly (peonies) and that I dislike (dozens of the same boring variety of hosta, in front and back).

I'd like to think I can get to a point where I'll stop digging things up and just let the garden get on with it, but I'm not betting on that.

Anonymous said...

Very good work. Thank you for all that you do and don't ever stop.

Pam/Digging said...

Proving once again that it's the process, not the result, that makes gardening fun. Well, maybe the result is nice too, but the search for perfection, for next year's great look, is what keeps me uprooting plants and redesigning.

Carol said...

Isn't it amazing that inspite of your first year of gardening and various misplantings, you kept at it?

For me, it isn't so much the old photos that remind me of plants I no longer have, it is all the old plant labels that I keep. I think one day I'll go through them all and create a R.I.P. display of plant tags for plants no longer in my garden. Some I can't even remember!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

lisa said...

Interesting metamorphosis! For me the fun is in the development and re-development of various ideas, whetether they make sense or not!

Connie said...

Wow, those lilies are stunning! They would be worth having back in your garden, for sure.
Great post!