A few days ago in Springs
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES in the garden. Have you heard this about perennials? First year they sleep… second year they creep… third year they leap.
Same view, one year ago this week
Well, I’m only in my second year of real gardening at my Long Island cottage, and frankly, I’m already a little worried about what year #3 may bring.
After more than a week of relentless rain, and the frequent application of Deer-Out, my beds are already crowded with plants eager to take over the spaces occupied by their neighbors.
You know me by now — can’t just relax and enjoy it, for godssakes. Nope, I’ve got to fret and fuss and imagine what could go wrong, notwithstanding something I remember a wise lecturer saying at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden: there are very few true emergencies in the garden (it’s not like Nurse Jackie, my new favorite show).
My chief fear is specifically discussed in the just-reissued classic Envisioning the Garden: Line, Scale, Distance, Form, Color and Meaning by Robert Mallet (Norton), with lots of pictures from Le Bois des Moutiers, a famous Normandy garden, and textbook-like diagrams illustrating various principles of garden architecture.
These words jumped out at me: “A flower bed devoid of forms cannot be seen properly. This is the effect we find in gardens containing a lot of ground-cover plants when they have been left to their own devices for too long; they sometimes turn into a sort of soup, and everything has to be uprooted and replanted to form separate groups again.”
That’s what I’m afraid of: garden soup. Mine was minestrone from the beginning, and I can see it becoming puree.
As my friend Lula said, “Hmmm… you’ve got so much here.” Yes, too much, perhaps. I’m upstate at the moment, where I gardened for several years, and which always reminds me how quickly things can get out of hand without constant vigilance.
Last year, my garden was just getting started. This year, it’s full and lush (note to self: ENJOY IT!) Next year: the garden that ate East Hampton?