IT’S RAINING AND I’M GLAD. Rain is just what you want when you’ve been planting perennials. It “settles” them, helps their roots make close contact with the soil.
Yesterday I returned from Upstate New York with a Honda Fit-ful of plants — really quite a haul. I dug and divided some of them myself, from the 20-acre property where I learned about gardening in Zone 5 deer country. The others were bought from a local couple, Tom and Ethel, who sell potted evening primrose starts for 50 cents apiece, iris tubers and columbine for $2, small spirea for $6, astilbe, ligularia, foxglove, and more. (If you want to know how to find them, I’ll tell you. Get off the Taconic at Rt. 199 in Red Hook. Make a right on 199 and go east a mile or so. When you see a sign for honey and eggs, make a left onto North Road. Tom and Ethel are about a mile down on the left.)
Here’s the inventory of what I brought back to Long Island for my “instant” cottage garden.
- 1 zebra grass
- 2 big window boxes full of threadleaf coreopsis
- 3 lambs ear (these are mostly 1 gal. pots)
- 4 catmint
- 3 turks cap lilies (that just happened to be mixed in with something else)
- 2 rudbeckia
- 1 Montauk daisy that never thrived upstate for some reason
- 1 epimedium, already sampled by my deer last night while still in its pot on the ground
- 2 pulmonaria (spotted leaves, pink flowers)
- 2 cimicifuga
- 3 yellow spirea
- 2 obedient plant – never tried those before
- 8 evening primrose
- 12 iris
- 4 columbine
- 4 ligularia
- 7 astilbe
- 1 foxglove
- a baby viburnum
- a kerria japonica bush in a 5-gal. pot
Total cost: about $60.
I got about half of them planted today. I hope they like the soil. I added generous handfuls of Plantone, an organic fertilizer, to each planting hole. (That’s my next-door neighbors’ house, above, and a rather sparse privet hedge.)
Seriously, I know there’s no such thing as an “instant” garden. It should be fabulous — in about three years.
I’ll post pictures periodically as the garden progresses, in a series I’ll call “How Does My Garden Grow.” Your guess is as good as mine as to whether it’ll be a triumph, a flop, or something in between.
In the backyard, below, I’m not doing much right now, except enjoying the daffodils and watching the ferns un-furl.