116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
I had heard people say the flora was going into full bloom this season. Seeing more than a dozen marigold-color blooms simultaneously on my “Golden Globe” Tickseed Coreopsis convinced me. Previously I had only seen a few flowers at a time.
Two years ago, I wrote about expanding design in the garden. I thought I’d revisit that as I’ve made some good progress.
The areas with plants, flowers and herbs have grown thanks to our backyard project after the derecho. If there’s one positive thing to come from the storm, it’s that we now have more sunlight. The brown fringed edges on the ferns confirm the increased rays. The sunlight has expanded plant choices beyond hostas and ferns. Now we have lavender, salvia, hydrangea, lilacs and dogwoods. Any perennial that says it attracts butterflies, hummingbirds or is deer-resistant is likely to end up in my cart. I now see white butterflies flying around daily. Deer, however, did not spare my hydrangea.
The creeping thyme ground cover and balloon flowers are thriving in front of the house. The mix of yellow and purple blooms pair well. The oregano, sage and basil are growing to new heights. Then there’s the mint. Two starter plants have given us more mint than we could ever use, but it’s a pretty plant and it smells good too. That’s good because it’s spreading.
Wildflower seeds, which I thought I had sewn too late in the summer, have produced a hedge of black-eyed Susans on the south side of the house. Keeping them upright has been a challenge as they are around three feet tall.
Not everything has been rosy. Plants have died. Gardening can have a steep learning curve. I bought two digitalis plants only to learn later that they, also called foxglove, are toxic. A quick web inquiry could have told me that. Sadly, our white arbor has been felled. The buried wood base was not strong enough to resist the effects of the moist soil. I hope to preserve the top of the arbor and work it back into the garden.
I noted earlier how time consuming digging up and relocating rocks is, but that didn’t deter me. Now that much of our backyard is filled with river rock, I wanted to repeat the rock look in the front garden. I like the look but not that my son loves to pick up rocks and carry them elsewhere.
Never having so many plants, flowers and herbs outside, I was unaccustomed to how much work gardening entails. We have neighbors who attentively tend to their gardens. Before, I couldn’t understand how it could consume that much time. However, after investing so much resources into the garden, I feel the same desire to keep it looking healthy and beautiful.
While my thumb may not be green, the dirt it collects will surely yield some growth.
Erin Owen graduated from the interior design program at Kirkwood Community College. She has worked as a commercial and residential interior designer. Comments: email@example.com