Now that the snow is mostly gone, it’s time to see what’s going on in the gardens. First stop… the front yard. The first of our concrete pigs–“Brick Pig”–made it through the winter just fine and looks ready for another year of welcoming guests to the house. As his snowy blanket melts around him, he looks warmer already!
Brick Pig hangs out in a small rocky garden next to our driveway and the front porch entry. A few pots of flowers will surround him eventually. The big project this year (well, one of them anyway) will be redoing this pear-shaped garden. At the narrow end is a beautiful peach tree (irony!), and at the fatter end is a melange of perennials in various stages of vigor. Oh, and two rocks.
I like all of the plantings, but after a burst of color in May, the whole thing devolves into a pear-shaped patch of weedy-looking things until the mums begin to bloom in September. Something must be done. On the up side…. variety. Lilies and hyacinths of various colors–they arrive first as you can see below.
Then, the creeping phlox does its thing. And though the flowers are beautiful, it tops my list of things to rip out. I’ve decided that “creeping” is not a feature I want my plants to have, especially plants that lose their flowers after a few weeks and devolve into a pale green and brown rat’s nest. Yes, I’m particularly grumpy when it comes to creeping phlox. However, there are other blooms that are a bit better behaved such as columbine (a favorite!), wild daisies, pink dianthus, red bee balm, wild violets, and a yellow and pink variety of flower whose name escapes me for the moment [ed. Yarrow!!]. Finally, there’s the purple salvia, inspiring almost as much grumpiness as the creeping phlox, and the mums. Yes, there is variety.
On the down side, the blooms don’t last very long and don’t spread themselves out over the whole summer. By the time mid-June arrives, the plants have pretty much said, “To hell with it” and gone on about their business of looking pale, brown, and weedy. Certainly there is a way to get blooms all summer long… I’ve seen other gardeners do it. More research is required.
Moving on to the west side garden, we see… rocks. In a month we’ll see rocks and wild violets. That’s about it here. The violets (normally a shady, woodland plant) grew there on their own and seem to do quite well, once they get going. I figured such spunk and tenacity should be rewarded, so there they stay. But wait… what have we here? A hole–always exciting! Snake? Vole? Mole? Crayfish? Chipmunk? Joe’s betting on snake. I can believe it because last summer we saw a huge pile of snakes (not kidding here… a pile of snakes) in our neighbor’s backyard compost pile. Well, we have only to watch and wait… I’m sure the owner of this fine hole will make himself/herself known at some point. Woo hoo! The first garden mystery of the year!
A quick walk, now, around the back of the house. Not much to say here, except that our other two concrete pigs, “Straw” and “Stick,” are at their post watching over the garden boxes. These (the boxes, not the pigs) will hold the vegetables, as soon as we can design the correct arrangement of plants. In past years, we bought seedlings from the local greenhouse. This year, we’re going to try to start some of our own. We just need to figure out how to convert part of our garage into a greenhouse. More on that later. Let the adventure begin!