Thursday, April 24, 2008
The First Year They Sleep. . .
. . . the second year they creep, the third year they leap!
I don't remember when or where I heard or read this quote, which was referring to perennials. Other than most of the hostas and one geranium brought here from my beloved Georgian (sold after I married my husband,) most of the plants in my garden are three years old and younger.
Gardening in dry shade, dappled sun, and part sun while competing with the roots of 40-year-old maples, I've had more failures than I care to recall. The geranium I brought here is nowhere near the size a four-year-old would have been in any previous garden. The plants that have survived are slower to establish, and grow more slowly.
In the past two years especially, I've gotten smarter about what plants will survive, and even hopefully thrive in dry shade. I still can't resist plants like astilbes, which thrive in moist, shady and part-sun areas. Those, I site near each other and near the patio so I can watch them carefully and water them more liberally. Fortunately the patio area is less maple root-riddled as well.
In more far-reaching areas, I shoot for drought-tolerant plants. The garden as a whole still gets more frequent irrigation than past gardens. Although I still sometimes have guilt pangs for not being more water-conservative, this is how I have to garden in dry shade. I hope to ease some of that guilt by installing rain barrels. I need to make them budgetary priorities. With the size of the garden, the limited budget, and the high failure rate, like many plants I lust after, rain barrels haven't become a reality yet. I realize that as things get established, less watering will be required. Still, competing with the maple roots, this garden will always need irrigation to supplement the rain, primarily in July and August.
I sold the Georgian in February 2006. . . FEBRUARY!!! A gardener should never move in February, at least not in this climate. I had to leave my garden behind without taking pieces of it with me. Every other time I've moved, it was during the growing season. Divisions from my garden were the first things I'd moved. This time with the exception of the hostas and geranium, I started from scratch. I brought them here 4 years ago, but I've divided the hostas so many times, they aren't the size of 4-year-olds.
I've been very patient until now.
So c'mon 3-year-olds, START LEAPING! You toddlers and terrible twos, I can be patient a while longer. But you three-year-olds, consider yourselves on notice. I expect big things from you this year. Don't dissapoint me, or I'll. . . I'll. . . I'll put you on time out! So there!