I have now reached a state of somewhat wary détente with the Temporary Garden while awaiting the discovery of my still-elusive next house. The compromise is that I now pull out any oversized or egregiously ambitious weeds, employ an extended-control herbicide over large spaces such as the brick patio and walkways, and of course pay the lawn guy to cut the grass once a week from May through October. But other than that, I am leaving the property entirely to its own devices.
For instance, as the tiger lilies, tawny daylilies, and houttonyia engage in 3-way warfare for this prime raised-bed real estate, they are free to have at it. I shall, like Switzerland, remain neutral.
Another battlefield features the elite troops of blue lyme grass, sedum, and variegated lamium. I think the lamium is winning at the moment but I have no doubt that the grass will turn the tide in its favor quickly, especially because I did cut it back once already which, as everyone knows, merely inspires the troops to greater efforts. The astilbe at left calmly awaits its fate at the hands of the victor. (But I will intervene to remove the oak seedling sneaking in a the lower right, mainly because I don’t want to have to rebuild the raised bed which is unfortunately nothing but a row of bluestones stacked loosely one atop the other.)
There have been a couple of exceptions, of course. When a freak hailstorm smashed the upper half of a six-foot-tall cotinus, instantly converting it into a three-foot dwarf, I did step in to do triage with the pruners. When an unexpectedly obstreperous neighbor made a fuss over a conifer trunk that was leaning slightly over – but not anywhere near actually touching – their vinyl fencing, it was cut off more in the interest of litigation avoidance than anything else. But as far as trying to eliminate anything except turfgrass in the lawn, or to waste time and effort seeking an “emerald carpet” throughout the summer months, forget it. To paraphrase Marie Antoinette (who never actually said the famous phrase anyhow), “Let them go dormant.” After all, beige is as much of a color as green is.
I did do one mini-project though, and that was to remove the creeping sedum from the Tortured Conifer‘s bed. It had gotten to the point where 50% of it was grass blades nearly a foot high, making an extremely annoying sight from my kitchen sink window. So I finally yanked it all out. It came out surprisingly easily (the sedum, that is; the grass was its’ usual tenacious self and required significantly more work.)
Currently I am studiously avoiding another project, perhaps better characterized as A Situation. The photo below explains it without the use of extraneous words:
If anyone knows of a wasp/hornet spray that actually DOES “reach up to 27 ft” as advertised, please let me know because I’ve wasted my money on several brands already. Six or eight feet seems to be the actual maximum spray distance and that’s far too close to the nest for my comfort. The only other hose bib is below the front porch deck which is grossly inconvenient but definitely safer than approaching anywhere near that nest, which is getting larger every day (it’s now the size of a regulation baseball.) Said nest is going to have to stay there until November or December, at which time I intend to whack it down with an extension handle – but well after the present tenants have departed!
(Un)Truth in Advertising
As far as adding any new plants, I don’t; in part because I’ve no idea how much of the front yard is hosting spores generated by the Evil Fungi and I wouldn’t want to inadvertently transfer any of them to the eventual new garden. (The backyard is free of it thus far, and I want to keep it that way.) I did pick up a couple of packets of seed this spring, though. After putting a few Heavenly Blue morning glory seeds at the base of an obelisk last year on a whim and ending up with the display shown below, I decided why not again this year? And thereby hangs a tale.
Because I couldn’t decide which color morning glory to try this time, I did something I rarely do which was to buy a packed of mixed colors. My past experience with mixed color seeds is that they usually aren’t, very; one color usually predominates, which kind of defeats the purpose. For instance the last packet of mixed nigella I tried ended up being 70% blue, 20% pink, and 10% white. If I’d wanted that much blue I’d have simply bought a packet of ‘Miss Jekyll’ instead (as usual.)
However, I chose Burpee’s morning glory mix and noticed not far away on the display a packet of mixed convolvulus. There is a small unmulched area at the top of the creeping phlox bed next to the patio, and within eyeshot of the morning glories’ obelisk, so on another whim I bought that too. It will be interesting, I thought, to compare the colors and patterns on the convolvulus flowers with those of its much larger cousins.
The seeds of both were duly planted in mid-April, and the convolvulus were in bud by mid June. The phlox being long over, I was looking forward to the multicolor display.
Well, I suppose one can define blue, white and yellow on a single flower as “multicolor” because it’s more than one, but ‘mixed’ this seed packet certainly was not. In fact, it sure as heck looks exactly like Convolvulus ‘Blue Ensign’ which I grew one summer almost two decades ago in garden #2.
Nothing against Blue Ensign which is very nice of course but when you’re expecting a “riot of color” as the advertisement writers love to describe seed mixtures, it’s a bit of a letdown. Oh well.
At least I still have the multicolored tower of morning glories to look forward to in about two months..… or do I???