Last year, tiring of the never-ending lawn chores, my husband hired a lawn care service to mow the lawn and clean out the beds of the thistles that had overtaken them. Unfortunately, while they were enthusiastic with the weed whacker, they didn't know enough about which were ornamentals and which were weeds. As they removed everything, including old mulch, with a vengeance, I lost many of my painstakingly grown perennials ( Sob, sob, goodbye Coneflowers and farewell tulips!) Incidentally, he decided that the ox-eye daisies, technically a weed, were ornamentals, and left those painstakingly in place. How annoying!
I was so disgusted with the whole thing, that I let it be for a whole year without attempting to add new plants. But hope springs eternal. This spring I felt the urge to surround myself with colors and new plants to fill the voids left, including the one resulting from the removal of a hedge of hollies near our deck that my husband had always decried. "What is this useless stuff, nothing but berries and thorns?"
I planted rose bushes where the hollies once stood. Just as thorny, but producing profusions of great yellow flowers that even my husband couldn't question, as they looked fantastic. These were end-of-season clearance from the local grocery, and were very unfussy prolific bud producers. I rounded those out with a tiny 'Knockout' rose and a blue hydrangea that I thought would like the partly shaded spot.Never mind if the colors don't match exactly. Martha Stewart's garden, this ain't!
Other than that, I decided to restore an azalea to a spot where it once stood, cut down some years ago because the older shrub was growing too straggly. No more unidentifiable perennials to be mowed down by an clueless lawn guy. A substantial, tagged shrub would not be weed-whacked out of existence. Annuals would add some color, and I wouldn't feel too bad about those being cut down by mistake, so in went a few petunias, celosia, and lobelia in assorted locations, both ground and pots.
Bee balm ( and I swear that I saw a hummingbird darting around it a few days ago), daylilies, tall phlox, sedum, a mini-rhododendron and a peony rounded up my list for a long problematic area near our deck. Once in the early years, it used to be a wildlife wonderland with assorted vines and a line of arborvitae separating our plot from the neighbor's. But it was deemed too untidy and to be removed and mulched over. When the removal was complete and mulch in place, I attempted planting some bulbs which enlivened only the spring. By summer, it became a fiesta of fleabane and thistles, some growing as high as 6 feet tall. I spent some time and energy putting in black eyed susan, Russian sage, lavender, and assorted daylilies. All were now gone in the most recent sweep, along with the mulch which lent some depth to the area.
Now I went in there, adding in my new acquisitions. I still need to put in a few more, then will place down newspaper and mulch surrounding the plants. Let me see if these will survive into the next season, despite clueless lawn guys and itinerant turkey and deer that love to munch on these kinds of delicacies.
My English and French lavender survived the plant holocaust, fenced in as they were in my old vegetable garden. They have grown tremendously, producing profusions of fragrant blossoms, the delight of bumblebees and honeybees that buzz around incessantly from sun up till sun down.
I cut down the humongous thistles growing there and have put in a couple of cheap flats of an Early Boy hybrid tomato and a solitary zucchini. I will start pole beans and okra from seed. Again, no fear if I take off a couple of weekends this summer on road trips. If they survive they will, if not I shall not worry to much about them.
Here's a sampling of photos from my garden: