Flower Gardening for Normal People

BlogHer Original Post

The above photo shows what my little flower garden looked like the day it was planted (back in late May). For about a week, it looked really good. And then my Real Life interfered. Also? Mother Nature had her way with it. Rain, hail, wind, critters. You name it, the garden took it. And then random marigolds started growing in there because I was lazy when handling the seeds for my container pots. So after a few months of pure torture, the garden ended up like this:

What did you say? You can't really see the details? How about this:

That, my friends, is called Weed Mania. Whatevs.

It's hard to tell from the above photo, but there are actually a bunch of lilies on the left side. You can't see them because they are the Leaning Towers of Lilies. Ever since they were planted two years ago, they have hung to the right. Evidence:

Nothing I've experimented with has straightened them out. So I got out a shovel and dug them up:

I have a simple gardening philosophy: If it looks bad, move it, kill it, or yank it out. Gardening does NOT have to be difficult. It helps to have no fear of killing the plants. I have no fear because I constantly remind myself that there will be a new garden next year. My first garden looked like a big patch of grass with a flower in it. I learned over time that patience and humor is critical to being successful. If you kill it, that's OK. Try, try again.

I also have a thing with weeds. Much like my schedule for getting my eyebrows waxed, I tend to wait until the very last minute. So then this happens:

Yes, my eyebrows grow almost all the way together before they are separated. This gives me a ton of satisfaction with the finished product. I feel the same way about weeding. I mean, come on. The weedy garden looks HORRIBLE. But when you attack that sucker (with your hands and a basic weeder tool), it suddenly looks Totally Amazing even if it's not. Kind of like most Martha Stewart projects.

The tall, purple salvia was so tortured by the Leaning Towers of Lilies that they collapsed into a sad pile. The red yarrow was also extremely bullied. So after I moved the lilies to the place where A Mole Completely Destroyed the Poker Primrose (and random marigolds are flourishing), I relocated one of the salvia plants to where the lilies had once been. The poor thing is also leaning, but it's a little better:

Now there is more breathing room:

And everything is much prettier:

The money shot:

And all that crap at the end? It will have to wait for another day. My mother tried to help me out by spraying Roundup all over a patch of weeds. She was trying to kill the Poison Ivy that is climbing up the tree. As you can see, the ivy is alive and well. But at least the weeds mostly met their maker. Some extremely serious spiders are making lovely webs in there. And creeping me out:

Overall, I think people tend to take their gardens too seriously. It doesn't have to be hard. I pick pretty things, plant them, weed around them, and water them. If a slew of bugs get in there, I spray a little Sevin. I don't worry about the pH level of my soil. I totally don't care about color/height patterns. And--this is key--I don't give a sh*t what the neighbors think. I garden because it relaxes me, and it's fascinating to watch things grow. And then when your pretties appear, you can make arrangements to share with those you love.

Like dahlias and spirea:




Hollyhock Girls:

And coneflowers:

Because sharing the joy and beauty of the final product is really what it's all about.


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