Saturday, June 23, 2007

Pretending to be a Type A Gardener

Some gardeners, I've been told, before moving the first shovelful of dirt, take a hose and mark out the perimeter of the area to be planted. Then they consider the amount of sunlight the area receives, make a list of suitable plants, taking into account the sequence of blooms and the sizes of the mature plants, decide exactly where to place them, and then...and only they go to the nursery and purchase the plants on their list.

Then there are people like me. And maybe you, if you have time to read this. We go to the nursery for one thing, stumble upon a sale table, and find a cartload of things that suddenly we must have. We get them home, and our significant other (who thought we were going to the grocery store for milk...oh right back...) asks a ridiculous question like, "Where are you going to plant those?"

Only then does it occur to us that we have absolutely no more room in any of the existing beds.

"Oh, these are for that new (fill in your own descriptor here) bed that I've been planning." We do not mention that we have been planning it for exactly five seconds; we have the plants, and a new bed must be made.

This morning, in an effort to avoid any actual work, I decided to see how the other half lives. I disconnected the hose, hauled it over to the butterfly bed, and marked out the dimensions of the butterfly bed that I would like to have one day. Then I went under the house (the crawl space is quite high and doubles as a shed) and emerged with a couple dozen plastic pots.

"Boy, I'm glad I saved these," I thought, placing the pots around the inside of the bed to show the location of future plantings. I even used the green ones to denote evergreen plants! How Type A is that! While I was dreaming, I got a trashcan lid and set it in the middle for a goldfish pond. I've been coveting the water garden at On the Shores of Lake Chicago. (Check it out--if I'm ever in Oak Park, I'm going to show up with a book and a glass of tea.)

My neighbor, who is not a gardener, came home about this time and observed me taking photos of empty black flowerpots, and no doubt wondered when we were going to fix the fence so he doesn't have to know about all the craziness that goes on at our house.

So now I have the layout for my dream butterfly garden (and a good answer for the next time the boss asks me if I need all those plastic pots under the house).

What do you think I should plant? I've already got lantana, butterfly bushes, butterfly weed, yarrow, hummingbird mint (agastache rupestris) and a red crape myrtle. Oh yes, and the pumpkin vine, which got a serious cutting back today. I'd love to hear your suggestions--it's full sun, hot & dry, zone 7.


Stacey said...

How about some Zinnia's, Purple Cone Flowers, Coreopsis, Black-eyed Susans, and Shasta Daisies? That's just to name a few that Butterflies go crazy for.

Carol said...

How about going to the local nursery, finding the sale table, and planting what you find there?
I love your post. So many of us want to be "Type A", but we will never be. Because there is always that sales table calling our name.

LCShores said...

I went on a pond tour 3 years ago. After the second pond, my spouse and I turned to each other and said "we gotta have one of those!" The rest is history - we're on the same pond tour this year. And please do stop by if you're ever in Chicago. Currently, the only people visiting our pond are the neighborhood 3-year-olds and their parents. This is very cute and all, but toddlers aren't very forthcoming with their hydrangea preferences!

Most of the pond tours are in July, so keep your eyes peeled! Looks like there's one in Hickory, but I'll bet there will be others as well.

David in Greensboro NC said...

Stacey--thanks for the suggestions; sounds like an excuse to go shopping!

Carol--if I get in trouble with my wife, I'm just going to blame you and Stacey!

LCShores--I've never heard of a pond tour. I'll keep my eyes peeled for one nearby. (And thanks for the invite!)