Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Need someone to murder some plants? I'm your woman!

I can remember moaning and groaning about having to do anything outside when I was younger. And we were outside all the time so that was a lot of moaning and groaning on my part.

The house I grew up in had a pretty big yard and once my parents split, my mom needed help. Of course, this was back in the days when kids could safely play outside for hours unattended because the neighbors were looking out for you and houses weren't stacked on top of each other.

For as long as I can remember, my parents and then Mom had a garden of some sort. Gardens need a lot of attention. Kind of like kids, actually. Only when you get fed up with the plants (or nature in general - rabbits, deer, bugs, spiders and snakes), you can rip out the plants if you so choose and no one will turn you in or arrest you. Hmm. I think I just gave myself an idea for a new blog post. Maybe my writer's slack is over! (Don't get your hopes up.)

For as long as I can remember, I have hated to work in a garden or a yard. I mean, really - you put all that work into it, most of the good stuff gets eaten by critters, there could be snakes, there will be spiders, and then you have to do it all again next year. It's exhausting.

I've had so so luck keeping plants alive over the years. I've had horrible luck keeping plants alive since we moved here.  Case in point - this is what our side flower bed looked like the first spring after we moved here:

The two rose bushes you see? Dead. The flowers in the upper right corner? Dead. Of course, they were annuals, so I guess I can be forgiven for that.

We have a long flower bed that runs up the length of the house and I have ripped out and replanted things there since we moved here. This is what it looked like right after Mom and I planted a bunch of azalea bushes our first spring here. The monkey grass was already here:

Then the weeds took over most of the monkey grass so I pulled them out and replanted new ones, along with pansies for the fall, which somehow lasted all winter and rebloomed in the spring.

And this is what the side flower bed looked like last October, after everything died:

So we've pretty much established that here in Illinois, my plants die horrible deaths. Also, which isn't shown, several of my new monkey grass plants and all but two of my azalea bushes bit the dust.

I was going to just cover everything in mulch and call it quits, but then Annie was telling me that she revamped her flower beds. When I saw them, it made me want to have living, pretty plants in mine again too. When Mom was here in March, she helped me move the existing azaleas from the long flower bed to the side flower bed and she divided and replanted my hostas. So I asked Annie for her advice about what else I could do, and after about six trips to Lowe's and some hard labor this is what my flower beds look like today.

I am hoping that this time next year, everything will still be alive and re-blooming. Hope with me! But what really surprised me is that I actually enjoyed the work that went into this round. Maybe that will be the difference in whether the plants live or die. Well that, and how many dogs pee on the bushes this winter. Sigh. 

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