Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday Garden

A neighborhood stroll reveals this pretty patio along a stretch of Palm Terrace where, even on a gray day, almost every yard looks lovely.

I take a few pictures. The birdies tweet. I put the camera away. I stare. Finally, in sadness, I wipe the drool from my chin and slink away.

I've always wanted to have a green thumb, but if wishes were gardens I'd have a gorgeous yard instead of one where I experiment with methods of herbaceous homicide. Everything I've planted over the past three years is dead or in the process of dying. (So in case you were wondering, no, this is not my yard.)

I once had enthusiasm. I used it to tear out healthy plants planted by the previous owner and plant the things I wanted. You know what happened.

So how does one start over? What's my first move (besides hiring a landscaper)? Should I take a class? Read a book? Rip out what's left and apply gravel?

27 comments:

Kim said...

OMG, the tulip magnolias are in bloom. It must be February in California, when the plum blossoms make pink popcorn on the tree branches and that air is spiced and lovely. . . spring comes much later up here in the north. My body clock is still adjusting. I'm seeing my tulip, iris and muscari leaves are up, but not the daffodils, which has me a bit worried. I have one primrose from last year volunteering cheerfully in an otherwise barren pot.

Gorgeous yard, Petrea. You are investing your time and talents elsewhere, but can still enjoy another's green thumb.
-Kim
Seattle Daily Photo

JM said...

This is lovely! You can't imagine how I miss the garden surrounding my parents house where I grew up...

Sharon said...

I truly understand your affliction! I bet I'm the only person who can cause the demise of a cactus. I just loved your "herbaceous homicide" description. It's the perfect description for my routinely rotating herb garden.

Daisy said...

I envy people who can relax by gardening. My garden needs so much doing to it, I don't even look at it any more. It's much more relaxing to be out on the trails - all the beauty of nature without the guilt.

Petrea said...

Kim, it sounds like you have a garden. Thanks for the comforting excuses, I'm going to use those!

I probably can't imagine it, JM, but maybe it's the kind of garden I want to plant.

Sharon, I don't think I could kill a cactus but I haven't tried. I'll add it to my list.

Daisy, that's a good idea. Maybe I'll let my yard go natural.

Ted Thompson said...

Asphalt.

maria said...

this is a pretty garden. Petrea, i have the same problem you do with gardening, so now what i do is if i see something i like - at a park, a yard, resaurant etc.... i take a photo and copy it, i take my photo to lowes, homedepot, armstrong and ask the garden sales people for help. so thanks for the photo - i will be taking something from it and adding it to my jardin.
merci

Pascal Jim said...

MULCH......

USelaine said...

Probably best to skip this year, because you need water to get even drought tolerant plants established with a durable root system.

Kim, I'm glad you mentioned the absent daffodils! They should be well underway here, but are only just poking up some leaves, and that's only in a few spots. Weird indeed.

Susan C said...

Petrea, I think the first step in developing a style (whether it's landscaping or interior decorating or clothing) is to do exactly what you're doing: observing and deciding what you like. You can also see the plants that thrive in your neighborhood and start with those.

This really is an inviting front yard with a great mix of hard and plant elements.

Miss Havisham's Tea Party said...

If you destroy the camellias I will break your arms and legs, head on a platter with a crab apple garnish.

Christie said...

Ask someone who has a lovely garden near you what grows well there and hopefully it will be close to what you want in your garden. I wish I could grow a raspberry pink bougainvilla, but they are not fond of snow. Oh, and a wisteria. So lovely, yet not for me.

Ms M said...

What a lovely garden!
Unfortunately, not all of us are born with green thumbs (myself included). I've found I can manage to keep a Christmas cactus alive in the house. Our yard does very well with weeds, and some unusually hardy bushes by the front door that have pink blossoms and thorns. Not sure what they are (NOT roses), but they nearly overtake the front steps during the summer and have to be trimmed all the time.

postie said...

Petrea... The best way to have a lovely garden and your not much of a gardener is to marry a gardner . Thats what I did. She is a great gardner. Maybe ill post a pic or two sometime on my blog. But like you and me we can enjoy their labours.

pasadenapio said...

I have much the same experience as you. I used to garden every weekend, always planting something new or transplanting. Now I'm happy that the grass is green at this time of year.

The bulbs I planted more than 15 years ago are coming up again, just like clockwork, and the wildflower seeds I scattered haphazardly years ago will result once again in a colorful array this spring.

I've given up the active gardening thing. The bulbs and the wildflowers are on their own and fend very nicely for themselves.

Petrea said...

Thanks for all the good ideas (and comfort, Susan).

Miss H., I'd thought to take out the camellias but now I know the problem: they've been trimmed to look like lollipops. They need freedom! I've seen free-flowing camellias and now I know what to do. Plus you scare me.

Elaine: we've had rain the last four days so I'd better do it now. Bulbs and wildflower seeds, as the PIO says. Insurance for the future!

Oh, Postie. Too late for me!

Tash said...

Plant roses. In a sunny spot. Hammer in the rose fertilizer sticks. Water. Enjoy. Repeat fertilizer every 3 months? (I don't know, gotta go ask my husband.)
What a lovely garden indeed - just think of ALL the things you do that others can't. Like having a great post of someone's garden for everyone to enjoy. :)

Miss Havisham's Tea Party said...

I scare me.

Petrea said...

Tash, that's sweetly encouraging. Thank you.

Miss H, those camellias at my house are planted in front of the windows. I'm not scared of you anymore. I want to look out of my windows. If they can't grow sideways they're coming out.

Miss Havisham's Tea Party said...

No! You can't do that! Screw the view!

Petrea said...

Uhoh. I never shoulda told you where I live...

Laurie said...

I suggest succulants. They require almost no care or water!

This is such a pretty garden, isn't it?

Benjamin Madison said...

Just admit that there is something you can't do. After all, you're an accomplished actress, writer, photographer, blogger and probably loads of other interesting things. You don't have to be good at everything - it's a bit intimidating anyway. Be lousy at a few things. It's easy! And fun! The pressure's off!

Petrea said...

That's definitely it, Laurie. Especially around here. There's no excuse for watering a lawn.

You're right, Benjamin. I readily admit to being bad at so many things. I ought to be able to give in to this one!

Miss Havisham's Tea Party said...

Of course, I'm going to be sensitive, perhaps overly so, about the camellias. They are also called the tea flower and they grow around here so easily and happily.

M. D. Vaden of Oregon said...

The reds and pinks look great.

I'd imagine that a perennial leaf blue ornamental grass like Blue Oat Grass or Blue Fescue would add some nice accents.

Popular in Portland, and your local nurseries probably have them too.

Cheers,

M. D. Vaden of Oregon

Petrea said...

Thanks, M.D.V. I used to visit Oregon frequently when my mother lived in McMinnville which, all things considered, isn't too far from you. Your climate is wetter than ours, but I imagine we can grow a few of the same things. But around here we're rationing, so I hope you didn't just recommend something that needs much water... :)