Our garden is five years old. You can see how it looked here, after we’d spent quite a bit of time sifting dirt, weeding, and clearing out trash, rocks, and gravel. I regret that we didn’t get any spring pictures of the garden this year, but you can see what it looks like now. The purple phase of the garden filled with lavender, columbine, salvia, bee balm (Monarda), false indigo, Siberian iris, violets, and Russian sage is giving way to the butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Coreopsis moonbeam, Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), and the Shasta daisy coming into bloom.
More and more people are stopping to admire the garden and compliment us on how pretty it looks. I am particularly grateful we are able to enjoy it this season at all. Our garden was almost destroyed last year when our new neighbor who now owns the pizza place had ideas of expanding his patio seating on all sides of the building, which would have completely eliminated the garden in the process. Thank goodness for the local law pertaining to how close to a property line one is allowed to build and our landlord for having a talk with him!
In anticipation of the possibility of losing the garden regardless of the law and our protests, I gifted some of the more unique plants we had to a friend, who needed plants to spruce up her space. I would rather see her enjoy them, than for them to not grow anywhere at all. As it was, I had to give up a small section of the garden. Johann helped me work hard for a week moving plants. With how the garden has matured, the extra space has actually been good for the remaining plants. Everything has filled in nicely as the garden continues to evolve.
I was disappointed when I couldn’t afford to buy new plants for spring planting to finally fill out the very end of the sunny flowerbed. We have done a little at a time and I had been planning what I would buy since last year. Then I noticed some wonderful volunteer plants which appeared as if by fairy magic. Where the columbine had died two years ago and not come back were two new plants growing. One was lavender. The other was a purply mauve. The pink foxgloves that hadn’t done well a few years ago with the previously soggy soil in the center of the flowerbed also left a new plant growing, since I amended the soil with sand. There must have been seeds in the soil all this time just waiting for the right conditions.
While weeding the other day, I discovered more volunteers, which I didn’t want growing where they were, but would do very nicely to fill in the end of the flowerbed. Two bee balms and some purple violets came out of the shade garden. Two purple coneflowers and two butterflyweeds came from the edges of the upper flowerbed in different locations. A false indigo sowed itself in the crack along the edge of the parking lot. After digging for what seemed like forever with my weeding tool in that tight space, I was able to get the plant out without completely damaging the roots. They have all been transplanted and will hopefully thrive with the extra room to reach full size, if they can survive the heat. It will take time for them to get as large as their parent plants, but once they get established, it will be a beautiful mix of purple, pink, and orange in the summer.