by germinatrix | April 20th, 2010
It’s been a while, right?
Spring is a VERY busy time for gardeners, and for those of us who also make gardens for others, it can be CRAZY! But an invigorating sort of crazy – not a ‘pull-your-hair-out’ kind of crazy. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to be as bloggy as I like to be, and for that I hope you’ll all forgive me!
So there’s something else you haven’t seen in a while, and that is my front yard. “Hmmm”, you might be saying to yourself – “I could swear there have been photos of the front yard on the blog this past year…”. Well, yes – but they’ve been from previous years. Last year my garden suffered two devastations – the summer’s rampaging gopher was one, but the most awful was my garden janitor’s misinterpretation of some simple directions I gave him. I asked him to remove some ivy from the ground; I have ivy climbing on the front of my house and it was taking over too much garden space. I gave him specific instructions, in Spanish. He removed ALL of the groundcovers in the garden and limbed up my agaves. I was devastated.
I think he was just so eager to cut (I NEVER allow him to touch my plants, only rake and weed) that he went bezerk. I couldn’t take any photos of my front yard for a very long time. I spent all last summer re-planting, re-thinking, and recovering. I was SO sad. My lush curbside garden, with all of its agaves, grasses, phormiums, and euphorbias has always been such a source of pride. Seeing it bare and awkward was startling and painful. I used to spend every morning in my front yard, saying hello to my plant-friends and taking everything in. Last summer I avoided it and let my back yard aloe haven be my favorite place. But it’s a new season, and I’m taking a peek out front and liking what I see.
One of my favorite additions is the Bulbine latifolia – the yellow bloomspikes gently curve in a beguiling way, and the plant doesn’t look like a bulbine, but like an aloe masquerading as a bulbine. It looks wonderful with the Phormium ‘Tom Thumbs’ and the Euphorbia ‘Blackbird’s that I have scattered around. I’m still missing my giant sweeps of Erigeron karvinskianus – but I’ve happily replaced my puddles of Senecio serpens with different varieties of purple basil. I’m excited to go back to my gothic roots while fitting more edibles into an ornamental setting!
Looking back, I see that what happened was just an important part of the garden experience. Things go wrong. Varmints attack your favorite artichokes, Winter freezes melt your Agave attenuatas, helpers misunderstand directions and run amok. The spirit of a gardener isn’t about sulking and whining; it is about going back out and doing it better than before. It’s not seeing the disaster, but the opportunity. It took me a little while, but now I’m excited about the new direction my front yard is taking. It isn’t as “macho” – there is definitely a softer side emerging, with more flowers (gasp!) thrown into the mix. I’m pleased – I feel like this is going to work out nicely.
And I seriously pity the gopher who dares even THINK about my garden!