Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Growing Pains

I HAVE A HUGE CONFESSION to make. Parts of my garden look like the Amazon Jungle. Seriously. With the mild temperatures and abundant rainfall, the plants are in GROW mode. It's not insurmountable but it ain't good. I mean, it's good that they're healthy and all but, well, they need some assistance from the gardener at large. Problem is, you see, I'm working full time now and often by the time I get home in the evening I'm too worn out for any serious undertakings. I know eventually, like say, Saturday, I'll get to it and feel all the better for it. And, I'll have some really cool "After" photos to show off. 

Today's post features the "Before" photos. To buffer the shock, I've interspersed them with a few nicer shots. 
These are the flowers on Oxalis lasiandra I purchased at Dancing Oaks. 

I'm not sure what variety of Hens & Chicks this is but I really like the pink flowers. 

Here it is again. I don't believe I've ever had a Semp sporting such pretty flowers. 

Rosa 'Rhapsody in Blue' is actually purple but with a scent like this who cares? 
 Okay, ready? Here goes...
Here is the first photo of my chaos. See what I mean? No definition. Everything is crowded. 

Rosa 'Sophia' is trying her hardest to be pretty but that stupid Feverfew is in the way. Out it goes. 

This photo proves that I'm making progress. My Sambucus 'Black Lace' is in for a serious pruning
when it's finished blooming. 

Did you know there is a pathway here? 

The pathway is here too but it's not too easily navigable these days.
The rose on the right is 'Knock Out.' The pink flowers on the left are from Cistus purpurea. 

Geranium 'Jolly Bee' and a pink No-Namer are looking fine but Stipa gigantea to their right might need a hair cut soon. 

Here's another view of that same hidden pathway. The pink rose on the right is 'Gertrude Jekyll. '

A few days ago, I spruced up this area but was too late to get a good "After" photo.
Mowing and edging the lawn makes such a huge difference. 

This Purple-leaved Cotinus (Smoke Bush) is weak-stemmed. It won't stay vertical.
I kind of like it partnered with the contrasting Pulmonaria though so I'm leaving it. 

My Clemmy 'Ville de Lyon' looks fabuloso. 

The Pink-flowered California Poppies successfully wintered-over and are all abloom. 
I really like this little area under the arbor. 

This photo really demonstrates how chaotic things have become. Scary, isn't it? 

I remember Christopher Lloyd advising to cut the Santa Barbara Daisy plants "hard back" in spring.
Oops. This is what happens when you don't. 

Pathway? What pathway? I'm not sure if my cat is happy in the jungle or not. 

Rosa 'Knock Out' with Sambucus 'Black Lace.' (The camera is crooked. My bad.) 

Solanum crispum  'Glasnevin' looks really great now too, thanks to the mild winter. 

And I'll leave you with Rosa 'Scentimental.' 
I feel better having confessed my gardener's lament. 
Next time I'll post the "After" photos. 
I'm sure all of you are doing a much better job of keeping up with things. 
As always, 


  1. Because of you my Gracie, I leave some of the wild pink Oxalis around here. By the looks of your Semp container I say, a little neglect went a long way. It is true a little pruning here and there and some mowing and edging does make the garden a little more organized....BUT still your combinations are just gorgeous! I love before and afters...look at that Clematis..the Daisis are also beautiful. Don't know what happened to the seeds I scattered that you sent me...what is the light purple ground "path" cover, phlox? The 'Scentimental' reminds me of peppermint. Yes, my appointment is today, how thoughtful you remembered....

  2. Oh my gosh, I LOVE your garden jungle. I think my favorite flower this time is Sambucus 'Black Lace'. I loved looking at it all and think it would be wonderful to be there in person.

    My own personal jungle needs some help too, especially my shed garden, can't see the path there either.

    I did work on the back shed's garden yesterday and it looks much better. Now we are having a morning thunderstorm with some nice rain.

    Try to not get stressed about your gardens, they are lovely, filled with much beauty. Work in your garden when you can.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  3. Sweet Jesus:
    Methinks I saw a..... aw Grace, this is the life of one who has to juggle two jobs, and they say being a full time gardener is easy! Small steps my friend, and by the look of it, leave a path of bread crumbs so you can find your way home again! LOL!

  4. My garden is crowded with weeds. Yours, with plants that are there on purpose. Trade ya! Looks fabulous to me.

  5. 1) You're way too hard on yourself.
    2) You're way too hard on yourself.
    3) You're way too hard on yourself!!!
    4) I thought your chaos pix looked lush and probably full of wildlife.
    5) Edging and mowing will make you feel better, especially if someone else does it.
    6) Your flowers are incredible and I have major hens and chicks envy.
    7) Cut back as much as you need to so you feel satisfied but not so much the garden looks like its headed to boot camp!
    8) Your cats opinion doesn't count even though the cat would disagree.
    9)Your sambuncus is gorgeous.
    10) Relax! Your garden is beautiful!

  6. Ha, Grace, nice confession. Your garden still looks great. That pink hen and chicks is a keeper for sure!

  7. Grace, LOL, One of the benefits of sharing our gardens virtually is that we get to focus the camera on the beauties and ignore the chaos. Seriously, while you saw chaos/jungle in these images, the rest of us were busy oohing an ahhing over the beauties. Rosa Scentimental is a stunner, and I would love to have Sumbucus 'Black Lace' in my garden. -Jean

  8. Your garden has great structure, lots of colour, and good combinations, so even at full tilt growth, it still looks great. It just needs a little trimming at a few edges, like many gardens do as the summer growth sets in. I know the feeling of getting busy and having to wait a few days to get a good trimming in, and to see to all of the jobs you want to get done.

    It's not like you will have to crawl on the ground commando style, with your secateurs in your teeth, to garden this weekend. (Well except maybe where that beautiful Gertrude Jekyll is arching over the path.:) )

    You're lucky to have a long growing season, warm weather and good rainfall. I often wish that my garden had a little more exuberance like yours. Many plants take longer to grow here, and don't get so frolicsome. In my shady garden, the shrubs take a while to get to full size.

  9. P.S.
    I forgot to write how much I like your ferns, Hosta and other little cuties under the arbor.

  10. Hah! The thought of our lovely Grace as Commando (see above) gave me a good chuckle. Fortunately, I am all for the jungle look, but that may be merely self-defense. Looks like the weekend may be nice, unless the weather guys are just teasing us again.

  11. Well at least you can tell that your garden is really growing Grace. So many beauties to be seen. I love your Black Lace. What a gorgeous contrast of the pink blooms and dark foliage. The succulent is gorgeous!

  12. Grace, I love your confessional! As a former full-time worker, I know how hard it is to keep up with a garden, especially one as beautifully plant-filled and cottage-y as yours, and even more so after all our rain! So take a light strain on the cleanup (although I know you'll feel better when it's the way you want it) and we'll all enjoy the after pics with you!

  13. Okay, you do have a few chores to do, but what a wonderful problem - the flowers are growing too well! We usually have a concert at our home the end of May. It is the only thing that puts a stop to the junglefication of my own garden.
    The pathway showing in the photo with your cat is perfect, though. I like the closeness of it.

  14. To you it might look like a jungle, however I think it looks just plain beautiful!!

  15. Whether or not your goal is to entertain and educate, that is what your posts do for me.
    I stumbled across your blog a year or two ago while searching for something (I don't even remember now what that was). I relate to your garden from my zone 8 years in CA and I learn from your garden as I develop my new zone 7 garden here in TN.
    The idea who showed of putting a ladder in your garden inspired me. Last year I put an old wooden ladder next to a struggling Maple tree and have 4 different vines on one or the other (Wisteria, Lady Banks Rose, Carolina Jasmine and Passion Vine (the latter two being natives to this area).
    Today, I've learned that when I eventually have no more bare dirt showing I'll still have plenty of work to do. As someone posted earlier, it's either removing weeds or thinning plants. Your scenario is the much prettier garden. Thank you for being willing to share your struggles as well as your successes.
    And by the way, it doesn't seem that long ago that you were still waiting for Winter to be done.

  16. If that's chaos - I'll have some of that!

    I do know what you mean aobut the crazy growth. Today i was hot and sweaty, and sunburnt, and genearally not feel well, and on top of that, kept having to duck in one garden area contibuting to the whole ill feeling. Right now I have some coneflowers completely dwarfing my Russian sage. Now that's just crazy! Not sure if I should move the Russian sage permantely to a different spot or if this is just a funny year.

  17. I agree with the others, it is not a jungle. Your garden is really full and lovely, with many beautiful combinations. I especially like the roses and Black Lace.

  18. I love your chaotic garden! Perfection is overrated and messy is in! I most especially love that walkway. It is like a fairy tale dream and I can't imagine it looking a single bit better tidied up. So lovely.

  19. I've come to realize that the only people looking close enough to find the jungle, everyone else just appreciates the blooms and the hard we have done to share those blooms with them. That is how I feel about your gardens, beautiful blooms and I am oblivious to the jungle as I am so entranced by the beauty. I am coveting that rose and I am looking for some new ones. Chaos or cottage, perspective haha!

  20. Grace,
    even before you get in there to reshape, it still is looking beautiful. I was in need of a serious dose of pink this a.m. and you've provided it in spades. If I was you, I'd throw a party in honour of that sedum pot and make it the guest of honour in the centre of the table and serve Strawberries Romanoff - it's absolutely delightful.

  21. Good heavens Gracie it all looks fabulous. And the cat said to tell you to relax, he's loving it.


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