Rainy day garden notes.

After gardening for a few years and trying out different styles, I've reached the point where it's time to start thinking about "the big picture". I need to edit. For one thing, my garden has too many uncoordinated containers--wood, clay, glazed, different colors, different shapes--the result is downright bitty.

The situation isn't so bad on the deck. The wooden planters are mostly okay, but I do need a better plan for the amaryllis bulbs.


These have each been growing for different lengths of time, and in different situations for quite awhile. Should I keep them in pots, or plant them in the ground? Should I plan to grow them all together, or at different times? Should they be kept together like this, or be separated? They cry out to be separated while growing in clashing pots, and the flowers would definitely clash if they ever bloomed at the same time. Hmmm.


I like this planter on the left, but I have an aversion to the sight of container mix, so the dirt needs to be covered. Yucca + manzanita works well together.


Also in here: Graptopetalum, Aeonium and Freesia.



"If I see even one freesia, I will be verrry dis-a-point-ed!"

(Are you like me? Do you walk around all day muttering your favorite lines from The Devil Wears Prada?)

Propagating the Graptopetalum and using it to cover more of the container mix would probably help me feel better about this planter.

The other planter has too much different stuff, but I can't decide what to remove so I don't know how to fix it. The big aeonium should stay since there's one in the other planter. Sometimes I regret not planting these containers with the same plants.


I definitely need to coordinate better at the bottom of the stairs. I want two tall square planters here, but I don't know what to put in them, much less what to do with the plants that are here right now.


I have a rose geranium in one,


and Ribes malvaceum (and heliotrope) in the other.


It's a little easier to see w/ a background.


I like both. They'll have to go somewhere, but they can't stay here.

I have lots of big containers in the garden too, including four half-barrels, and two glazed blue numbers.

I know half-barrels are a garden cliché, but I like them. I use two to anchor raised beds in the ornamental portion of the garden.

One has Philadelphus lewisii,


and the other has the Tibouchina urvilleana.


I use the other two barrels to grow vegetables. (In a small space, vegetable gardening is easier in these than it would be growing in the ground.)


Furthermore, I think the barrels provide some structural continuity and help integrate the vegetable garden with the ornamentals. The barrels also have a rustic quality that complements the cobblestone path. Besides that, anchoring the raised beds as they do, the barrels are more or less "fixed" garden features.

We got two of these blue glazed rectangular containers to sit on the retaining wall which runs along the back of the yard. (They usually grow cucumbers and tomatoes, but right now they have seedlings I'm getting used to being outdoors.)


We got these a year before I started gardening; today I might pick a different color.
But that's not going to happen anytime soon because I can't afford to replace them. We have to work with rectangular blue. (At the very least, I'm thinking rectangular blue dictates square blue for the containers at the bottom of the steps, but it might be hard to match blues.)

A while ago, I thought it would be a good idea to move one of the blue rectangles off the retaining wall and in to the garden. I had some idea about strong rectangularity bringing structure to the vegetable garden. I thought it would serve as a strong dividing line.


From a design standpoint, this was a serious, total error. I don't want to divide the vegetables from the ornamentals; I want to integrate them! Duh! The rectangle makes no sense whatsoever in the garden like that, and the circular barrel jammed up against the fence is one of the dumbest, stupidest things I have ever talked myself into.


I need to move the blue rectangle back to the retaining wall, and move the barrel back into the vegetable garden. I think they can more or less trade places. This means I have to move the path a little bit (for the third time). Argh.

I collected all the potted plants I had scattered over the garden. Every one of these has to go...somewhere else.

I got these salvias 50% off at my nursery. They can all be planted at the community garden or guerilla gardened among the cacti and agave on the public land outside the community garden.


I can wait to plant these bromeliads where there is currently foxglove.


I propagated Calycanthus occidentalis from cuttings. These I can give to the Botanical Garden and they can sell them.


But I need to stop propagating succulents every time I prune. This is just ridiculous (there are many more, not shown). These can go on the free pile at the Botanical Garden.


And I have to stop buying crap over the internet when I'm depressed. I can't use this guava from Logee's.


Mint can stay in random pots. There's nothing wrong with that. But I can clean it up.


Before I buy tall blue squares, I need something big for the Dahlia imperialis.


He doesn't really fit in the garden anymore, but he'll be happy in a bigger pot and he looks good against the back of the house.



Xris (Flatbush Gardener) said...

"I'm hearing this ... I want to hear ... this."

Kirsten said...

"Miranda - You have no sense of fashion...

Andy - I think that depends on...

Miranda - No, no, that wasn't a question"

hey, is that really a guava - like a guava guava (wtf, I don't remember the scientific name)? if you're dumping it, annette at strybing may want it. Flora Grubb donated one to the children's garden... and a day after it was planted, someone climbed over the fence in the middle of night, ripped it out of the ground and stole it! Crazy, no?

chuck b. said...

Oh, how awful. I'd be happy to give this to Annette--but this is Psidium not Feijoa. I guess there are fruits in a few genera called guava. We grow Feijoa sellowiana (pineapple guava) and Ugni molinae (strawberry guava) outside in California, but according to Sunset Western Garden, Psidium grows outdoors in Hawaii, and indoors in California. Which is why I can't use it. Still, I'll bring it with me Thursday and drop it off at the nursery (along with a bunch of other stuff).

I can't wait to see you!

Kirsten said...

Ditto! I gotta check out the new tan I'm sure you are sporting from your recent trip.

Oh I just thought of another favorite quote:

"I'm one stomach flu away from reaching my goal weight"

verobirdie said...

Chuck, it is a pleasure to walk through all your plants. The rain makes them evenmore beautiful. Thanks for letting me starting the day in so nice a way!

Pam/Digging said...

Pam @ Digging says:

Another lovely tour of your garden, even if you aren't happy with the pot situation. I inherited a half-barrel planter with the house, and it's still in use. However, I have been considering replacing it with my new fave planter, a galvanized metal tank.

Artemisia said...

I really love your garden -- the way you combined colors and textures is truly inspired. You have a great deal of talent there & I always look forward to a walk in your backyard.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

You had me following along, drooling over all of your gorgeous pictures, until you mentioned that there is a free pile at your local botanical garden.

And then my brain melted.

lisa said...

I get tweaky about symmetry in some cases here, like my window boxes-they are planted to be mirror images of each other. Every year. Period. But elsewhere, chaos is the norm. I can see how a smaller area would magnify these quandries for sure! (I think your garden is terrific regardless!) I'm with Kim on the free pile brain melt...

Anonymous said...

Could you tell me what the giant pinkish bluish plant is on the very right side of the right planter? It looks like an enormous echeveria, but I haven't seen anything like it. Thanks!

chuck b. said...

I think you're asking about Echeveria 'Afterglow', a truly excellent plant and certainly one of the very best of all succulents.