Other People’s Gardens and Other Observations

Replacing fussy plants with easy care ones–one way to enjoy our gardens a little more

There is a garden down the road from our house that I pass by every time I take Eva for a walk. It’s filled with an enviable variety of bearded iris, an assortment of perennials, flowering shrubs, roses and vibrant annuals. I specifically make a point to pass by it every day and admire the colorful blooms. Yesterday, I finally caught a glimpse of the gardener behind this delightful space and called out to her that I thought her garden was so lovely. Her response was, “You must not be noticing the weeds!” and we had a shared laugh.

Later that evening, I was in my own garden doing the kind of work I seem to be doing way too often these days: removing the black-spot ridden leaves from so many of our roses. As I was grumbling under my breath and feeling quite the sourpuss, a gentleman walked by and remarked how pretty our flowers are. I must have had a shocked look on my face because, at that moment, those roses were anything but pretty to me.

Of course we gardeners really do love our planting schemes or we wouldn’t spend as much time on them as we do, but it’s easy to get caught up in what’s wrong with them rather than what’s right. My husband pointed out that when we walk the neighborhoods I’m always full of praise for the neighbor’s yards–that beautiful purple clematis vining up that mailbox post, the drift of rose campions beside that driveway, the massive tree peony with it’s dinner plate sized blooms, those tall sunflowers peeking over the fence–and of course I am! I don’t have to worry about weeds, pest or disease; I can just enjoy everything at face value.

But sometimes we have remind ourselves to enjoy our garden. Maybe that involves replacing fussy plants with low maintenance ones (for me, I am hardening my heart and implementing a “2 strikes and you’re out” policy for all of my roses) and other times it just means we need to put down the trowel and stroll through the flowers, without a critical eye, enjoying the beauty we’ve helped create.

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