Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ginny, Ginny, Quite Contrary, How does your garden grow?

I looked up the meaning of "contrary".

Beside the definition, there was a picture of me.

But this post is about my garden, not my questionable characteristics.

I was determined this year to make my front flower bed look presentable.

My two neighbors across the street, both named Theresa mind you, have a beautiful flower bed that spans across both of their front yards.

Tulips that'll knock your socks off.

Flowering bushes that make you wanna cry.

Not really.

But it really is a delight to be able to look out my front window and see all of that. And it makes me feel bad for them. When they look out their front window. Well, they probably want to cry. Because it's so gosh darn sad.

But! This is the year I vowed to change that. Or start to...

My first thought was to call in the expert. Ranal.

Lynn and Ranal are my parent's neighbors who have lived there longer than my parents (which is 23 years), so we barely know a time when there was no Lynn and Ranal.

They are awesome.

No, awesome doesn't do them justice. Lynn is the kindest soft-spoken guy you'll ever come across, and Ranal is a personality of unique spunky fun. And they'll let you inhabit their basement when a tornado gets a little too close.

They live in a log cabin. Is that the epitome of cool or what? Lynn plays the fiddle in the Flatland String Band. Fond memories I have of summer evenings outside hearing him play on his back porch. Pure sweetness. Ranal is an artist. I'm not sure what the correct term is, but she does these crazy cool and unique collages. Her basement is so organized and full of fun crafty stuff (and a cooler-than-you-can-imagine dollhouse). Ranal also has beautiful gardens... Were you wondering when I was going to get to my point?

Ranal was more than happy to share her abundance of plants with me, so on a fresh Friday morning, I went over and helped her dig up some goodies and catch up on life.

This is my bed before the transformation. The weeds do give a nice background to the dandelions...
This is the loot. I made out like a bandit.
I love plant swapping. When my garden gets established, I will love giving some of my abundance away. It just feel like the old times. The way it should be. There wasn't your neighborhood Lowe's around the corner. If your neighbor had some extra daisies, then more than likely, you'd get some. If you had some extra forget-me-nots, you'd be happy to share. I love it.

Here are the specs on my plants:

Irisis - two toned purple and possibly yellow. I love not knowing, and the surprise it will bring.
Blue Salvia - if I remember correctly, this should produce a small blue flower
Live Forevers - this plant most definitely lives up to its name. I got one plant with the roots, and a couple stems off another plant. Ranal said to just stick the stems in the ground and it will grow. It's not growing. It's thriving.
Purple Spiky Stuff - this stuff has spiky leaves and will produce a purple flower. Ranal so cleverly named this since she couldn't recall the correct name. I personally like "Purple Spiky Stuff".
Day Lilies - big orange flowers
And some herbs:

Lemon Balm - I'm SO excited about this. It smells so lemony and divine, and is used as a garnish. Put a couple leaves on a piece of cheesecake or in your iced tea. Love it.
Not pictured is Oregano and Sedum (a ground cover).

Ranal suggested that I get some composted manure to mix in with the soil since my bed had been dormant for a while. Easily found at the local hardware store. And not smelly.

On a side note, I received a plant from one of the Theresa's from across the street. I can't remember the name, but the leaves have green, yellow and pinky/reddish tint to them. Beautiful! I also received some "Naked Ladies" from Chris' grandmother. [The conversation went like this: "Ginny would you like some naked ladies to go in your yard?" me: "Umm.. err... *cough*... well... uh"] After I found out what they were, I took about 8 bulbs, and they are scattered around the bed too.

This isn't a spectacular "after" picture, but it's definitely a big improvement. And it looks even better in person. I promise.
AAAAND!! I have my very first Iris bloom!! I felt on top of the world, like I could accomplish anything when I saw that little purple beauty. My chives have also sprung some little pink blooms also.

I think I'm off to a great start with SO much thanks to Ranal! I'll keep you updated.

I'm getting a lilac bush from my mother-in-law tomorrow. I love lilacs.

I plan to spend as much time outside this summer as possible.

One of the best parts of this whole thing? Every plant I received is a perennial.


  1. Well- if you ever need any...we have surprise lilies, more day lilies, yellow & white iris', may night salvia (purple), husker red penstemons, and spreading jenny/ginny =) (also know as golden moneywart- which is a very hardy ground cover) that can be split out.

    I am also planning on making a trip to my dads house to transplant/split some peony bushes (with beautiful pink flowers). He also has some purple & white phlox which have already bloomed and died back that I would like to bring home but I am not sure if I can transplant it now that it has died back for the year.

    Happy gardening- love hearing what you are up to.

    Let me know- I would love to share!

  2. Good for you, Ginny! My mom and Theresa used to share plants back and forth, and I'm sure she'd like to share with you too. Ask her if she has anything that was Marilyn's, then you can have a piece of my momma's garden too! - Laurel

  3. This post inspired the "face lift" project. I will post pictures of it soon. (as always it is most definitely a work in progress!) :)