Saturday, April 21, 2012

"Shopping" For My Garden

 By Katie

I've been pretty clear about the fact that I'm currently obsessed with gardening, right? Well, let me illustrate the depths to which this obsession as taken root.

Taken root, people. Seriously? I am queen of comedy, with the punning.

...wait, was that an actual pun? I could never remember the definition.

OK, so it's Saturday morning, and I am clearly distractable. A couple things you should know:

  1. Like (apparently) all amateur gardeners, I bought a gajillion seeds and was WAAAAAY too ambitious in planting them. I read in a snarky but helpful garden blog that this is a bad idea if you don't have grow lights (which I don't), but I went ahead and did it anyway. Because I'm a rebel. And because I like to make the right-of-passage mistakes that people more wise and experienced warn me against. Whatever. The blogger was right: it is very difficult to grow a large quantity of seedlings without grow lights. Especially without proper window space and in a spring that's been swinging back and forth between hot sun and almost-freezing wind. Oops. So I killed a lot of seedlings. I'm trying not to feel super guilty. I'll do better next spring, Mother Nature! FYI, things that do surprisingly well under mild neglect, not enough sunshine, and sporadic watering? Peppers of all kinds, squash, and basil.
  2. I have a dog walking business. As such, I spend my days outside, traversing the various semi-urban, suburban, and rural spaces Madison, WI has to offer. Since it's almost May and everything has turned green (and yellow, and blue, and white, and pink), I have an endless repertoire of landscapes to study. This has been super helpful. It's meant that every day, all day, has turned into a massive "shopping" trip for plants. I peruse, I make mental notes, and I slowly decide what I want to buy based on others' purchases and designs.

I note what catches my eye (like this beautiful sloped rock garden), see what plants they've used, and pull together some kind of mental list of likes and dislikes. Here are some of the landscapes and plants that have inspired me over the past couple of weeks.

Gorgeous, mature rock plantings

Crabapple in bloom

I love the glimpse of a fiery Japanese maple over the traditional fence

Hostas and daffodils in foreground; someone PLEASE tell me what the shrubs behind them are!

Adore these dilapidated stairs

I love the redbud in the background

There's mystery in stairs that lead to the unseen
Betula Papyrifera 'Paper birch'
Van Houtte Spirea (I'm almost positive)

Blue spruce sets off the brighter greens in the foreground

The spreading limbs of the oak? tree combine with the dainty Japanese maple

This street view is why I love spring. Color abounds!

Lysimachia nummularia 'Creeping Jenny' in the foreground

Creeping phlox, rock cress, daffodils and sedums combine to make a lovely raised rock bed
So I take all of these accumulated visuals, combining them with lots and lots of gardening books strewn around the house, and I go to various nurseries to check out availabilities and pricing. Yesterday, I had about 45 minutes to kill in the late afternoon, so I stopped at a big store's plant sale and meandered up and down aisles, taking pictures of everything like a weirdo.

Not sure why my hands looks like I just dipped it in oil, but...

As you can see, I have come to have a truly one-track mind. Apart from the seedling misadventures, I'm making slow but sure progress in my garden...but those pictures will be for another post. Happy gardening!

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