Saturday, May 06, 2006

Darwinian gardening

People think there's such a thing as a green thumb. I don't think so; plants die for everyone. You just have to stick it out, not giving up in the face of dead plants and other problems.

Because I hate having a huge water bill, I rarely water my garden. This particularly applies to the bed on the side of the house -- it's a nuisance to drag the hose there, and the dogs run through the middle of the bed and trample the plants, so whatever goes there has to be tough.

Currently, the main plants in the bed are: a quince tree, some St. John's Wort, a bunch of lambs ears, evening primrose, some yarrow, irises (Dutch and Siberian, I think), geum, and several varieties of sedum. The sedum isn't doing as well as I would expect. Surprisingly, the bee balm (mondarda) I put into that bed hasn't survived; nor has the red/yellow columbine.

I've had to remove some of the evening primrose to make room for other plants -- left to its own devices, it would take over the bed. Ditto the lambs ears. I think there are a few other plants hiding around the quince -- veronica, some shasta daisies (I caught one of my dogs eating the leaves, which explains why it looks so ratty), maybe some echinacea. I've got the bed half-weeded, and have had to Roundup some particularly stubborn rhizomaceous grass that's taken over around the quince. I'm thinking about putting some gravel on the dogs' path through the middle in the hope that that will make it easier to weed with the scuffle hoe.

This is my herb bed. I'm not quite sure what it needs, but it does need something. I just moved a birdbath and some slate from another area of the garden, which helps. But I think it needs a) some more color, and b) a better focal point.

Next to the bed are the two bikes I acquired today at the community yard sale. More on that later...

Below are the two beds at the back of the garden. You can see the difference between the one I've weeded and the one I haven't -- the honeysuckle and virginia creeper from the wild area in back of the yard are always trying to take over the beds.

I did find one columbine hiding in the bed on the left, so maybe there's hope. I bought some California poppies and some other xeriscaping plant (will have to go look at the tag) for these beds, in hopes of filling in the bare-ish areas where the tulips are. That's a difficult spot; it gets too much sun, so maybe tougher plants will do better there.


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