Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Small Gardens you Can Grow at Home
Today I'm going to discuss three different gardens that I have in my lawn (I have more, but these are my features for today).
As you can see, my peony garden was pretty darn ugly when I first moved in. I was actually surprised when the first sprouts of the peonies came up because I wasn't sure anything was in the garden. But spring turned into summer and with the first signs of the peonies I started planting other plants. The right side is lined with chrysanthemums which are also a purple/pink hue and will probably start blooming in another couple of months.
Small stems around the front are irises I planted this year, not sure what they'll look like, I haven't seen them bloom yet. Behind them are petunias, behind the peonies are snapdragons and a lilac bush. You can't see the lilac, it's tiny...but eventually I think I might have a taller bush to tower over the peonies.
This garden actually mostly takes care of itself. Peonies up and bloom and then I'll cut the dead blooms off and they'll be pretty bushes through most of the summer. The petunias will fill out and the mums will bloom from summer through fall provided you trim the blooms off as they die. I could avoid any yearly planting if I put in some other kind of annual, but I like the look and smell of the petunias.
And DON'T over-water a geranium. It'll start getting ugly after not being watered for a month, but normally they won't die, they just kind of go into stasis. (Above is an example of the ugly phase, but this is a five year old geranium I haven't trimmed up yet). Make sure the dirt is dry before you water it again. If it's wet, it's still happy. If you can remember to water it once a week, you're doing good. The blooms will come out and the leaves will fill out with enough regular sun, water, and fertilizer ready for the next summer. As leaves die off and flowers wilt, pull off dead and trim off extra long branches and root them in a glass of water (like a potato) and you can make a new plant too.
I'm usually pretty careful about putting too much 'junk' in a garden. I have some neighbors who have every spinning thing they can think of, or another that uses white pots that completely cover their lawn! (I need to get a photo of it this year, it's pretty crazy). Others use a ton of garden gnomes, or other decorations they leave out all year. Don't! If you've going to decorate your gardens with accessories, don't go overboard. I tend to think you should make sure your item isn't too big, usually a neutral color of some sort, and make sure you take it inside during the winter or it'll look like you're just being lazy (unless you live in a warm climate and can have a garden all year long, then do whatever you want!)
My cat garden consists of the evergreen bush (it stands maybe 2 1/2 foot tall) which apparently needs a trim now that I'm looking at it. Also three corabells, hens and chicks and a couple petunias (yes, again with the petunias). I lucked out actually, none of the petunias were blooming when I planted them and the pinks match the corabells nicely. Make sure you make a nice balance - taller objects in the back (the corabells will get bigger with age and they spike up nicely) and the hens and chicks will stay small and grow across the ground. The petunias are the only annual and I've considered replacing them with a primrose which would also provide bright colors at least in the spring.
I hope you'll give small gardens a try! I hope these little pictures inspired you to do some gardening of your own! Enjoy!