How the time does fly. I haven't posted here in a long time, partly because I'm lazy, and partly because Facebook usually does a good job of keeping me connected with the world. Tonight doesn't seem like a Facebook night, however, so here I am back at the ol' Repository to talk about gardening. I've talked about gardening before, usually - like now - when I'm starting off in an exciting new direction with regard to my tiny yard. You'll get an update or two, then silence as the garden falls into disrepair. I think this time is different. I really do. Hopefully keeping it public will be an incentive to help me make it work. If not, see you in 2019!
As I've written before, I don't really like to garden. I don't enjoy the labor, or getting down into the dirt, or any of it, really. I like seeing things grow, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment when my tiny yard looks lush and vibrant. But it's a chore for me, not a hobby and certainly not relaxing.
Unfortunately for me, my daily walk from my parking spot to my office leads me down Rabin Terrace, a very competitive gardening block. The houses are close to the street, like mine, and so while their yards are slightly larger than my tiny yard, it's not by much, and still the gardeners of Rabin Terrace manage to create amazing vistas, both individually and as a group.
I should stop here and define my "tiny yard". My front yard is comprised of three parts (I don't have a side or back yard). There's the strip along the street, and a section on either side of the sidewalk to my house. The smaller of those has a large shrub and not much else. The larger is where I do my planting. It's about 8 feet wide and 2 feet deep. So yes, it's a tiny yard, but a big challenge to my meager gardening skills.
So back to my twice daily walk down Rabin Terrace. It's impossible to pass these beautiful yards and not think "I should try something like that." The strange part is that with one exception, I almost never see the residents (or hired help) actually working on those gardens. They just seem to appear by magic, trimmed and weeded and watered. I have just enough time to study each yard, and decide what I like or don't like about it, or what plants I think would work at my house. As beautiful as these yards are, they're more inspirational than aspirational for me, because they're a little overdone and fussy for my taste. They make me want to garden, but not like that.
It's been a while since I've made more than a token effort in the yard. Last year I put in two rhododendron plants, one with small leaves and one with large. To my delight (and surprise, frankly) they've done very well, blooming profusely and becoming the anchors I can build around with smaller plants. So far this year I've put in daylilies (a rare venture into flowers) along with coralbells and astilbe, which I think might be my favorite plant of all. Everything looks unfinished, but I'm going to resist the urge to pack more plants in and let nature take its course instead. I'll put in a few more of the low coralbells, and maybe - MAYBE - one more astilbe, but that's it. I'm actually working off a plan this time, instead of buying whatever happens to catch my eye at the store and finding a place for it later. I've managed to create a nice variety of tall / medium / short plants, and I don't want to ruin that.
I know it's ridiculous to make such a big deal out of a patch of plants the size of a large coffee table, but that's my tiny yard and I'm going to make it work this time. Watch for pictures coming soon if things work out, and silence if they don't.