Gardens start with hope and good intentions, but if we turn our backs, if we are distracted, if we are busy, time and weeds will have their way. We forget to ask ourselves the obvious. What about this quart shrub I have just planted- What is the ultimate size?
In love with plants, we over plant, and in the shadow of the shrubs grow the hackberry seedlings, the cat briers.
The birdbath disappears. Where did it go? Where is the path of antique bricks from Milledgeville, Georgia? Is that an Annabelle hydrangea cowering up against the foundation and how did those Nandinas grow so big? And who would have believed a simple, shrubby St Johnswort would expand to fit twice the space allotted to it.
The owner wants a cottage garden bed here. The lovely “Penelope”, a hybrid musk rose is a good start. She is underplanted with oregano, and undisturbed by the cat brier, though the bindweed is using her as a trellis. Behind her is a clump of Southern heirloom aristocrats, crinums from the old Mary Walker Bulb Farm in Georgia. Milk and wine lilies, they call them and the purple one is called “Ellen Bosanquet”. I know this because these were once my crinum lilies, and they fled as refugees to this garden when I gave up my house.
The nandinas must go. They are out of theme. The hypericum as well, for it is far too ambitious. I will pot up the Linaria, or Purple toadflax seedlings I find to replant, or to give away. Most of this Artemesia must be dug out as well. Its roots are as knotted as a ball of yarn a cat has played with for a year.
Much of this restoration will be destruction, but there is no other way. We need to leave this garden, save for the rose, the oregano, and the crinums empty for a while- so we can think before we plant again-
Here are some photos of a restored bed beside the driveway. In the shade the hellebores are a ground cover, and in the dry areas we have added Artemesia”Powis Castle”, “Gold Sword” yuccas, and sedums. Oenothera speciosa, the Showy primrose, has naturalized here, as has the Blue Mist Flower, and the Common Coreopsis. All three are Travellers . All three must be watched. The owner tells me the bed is planted with masses of spring bulbs, which makes any digging I do both chancy and interesting.