Archive | April 2012

The Day Dawns Dark and Dreary

After an early-season warm spell, the mornings have dawned dark and dreary the past week; the bitter cold reminding us that Spring will not arrive without a fight.

This weekend dawned no different as I went to an almost rained out plant sale with the intention of purchasing a few choice plants, and I, of course, purchased more than I had intended–but a few unique varieties at that.

As an bonus to my plant sale visit, I needed no prompting when the homeowner offered us a tour of her magnificent garden, the likes of which are usually restricted to glossy magazine photos.  Each bed was stuffed (yes, “stuffed”) with perennials, each reaching their maturity within the confines of the next plant.  No weed would dare raise its ugly head to the sun in this garden!

The garden’s owner is a lovely woman who tirelessly removes unwanted upstarts from her beds to share with the public through her annual sale, everything from the ordinary (phlox and hosta) to the unusual (chocolate mint).  These unusual varieties are generally found only in high-priced catalogs, not mere garden centers, so I eagerly spent a few dollars to fill out my own newly-dug beds.  And, as these perennials were grown successfully in a neighbor’s garden, I know I will likely have success with them as well.

My fringe benefit of the day was taking an abbreviated tour of the Spring-Douglas Historic District with its painted ladies and perfectly manicured lawns, ahhh . . . one day . . .


Elgin: 809 Douglas Avenue Plant Sale this weekend.

For those of you living in the Greater Fox Valley region, 809 Douglas in Elgin is hosting its annual plant sale  this weekend (Saturday, April 28, 2012). Last year I picked up pink lily of the valley and chocoalate mint.  While you’re in the neighborhood, take a stroll through the lovely Spring Douglas Historic District.

Hardy Geranium in Bloom

With the oddly warm-then-cold-then-warm-again-then-cold-again weather we’ve had here these past few months, I have odd bits of plantings in bloom together.  And, no, there is no complaint here, but I cannot remember a time when my Summer-blooming speedwell and pinkish pansies (aren’t they an awesome color?) all happily cohabited.


I committed the ultimate new gardener sin: planting way too close together because I was impatient for my garden too look full.

There is, however, one upside to this: I’m able to shop my own garden this year for plants to fill in new areas.  So far, I’ve been quite lucky with the reorganized plants taking quite well to their new places (even a knockout rose).  Maybe it’s our unusually warm, sunny weather with my deep watering each day or maybe, and more likely, it’s just plain luck.  Whatever the case, I’m happy with the progress and not having to shell-out extra cash for new plants, when I would most likely purchase more of what I already have.

Garden View: Phase 3 And So the Planting Begins

Now for the fun part: plants!

I must confess that I am eaten with jealousy over my neighbor-down-the-street’s vinca.  Until I saw B—‘s, I assumed all vinca was the very same color: deep green with small purple flowers.  B—‘s, however, is a mixture of deep purple, violet, and pink.  So, I not-so-casually asked her the secret to her treasure at a party last week and was surprised by the answer: clippings from other historic district gardens.  She herself had scoped out neighbors’ gardens’ vinca and not-so-casually asked for clippings along the way.  B— then planted them amongst one another on the garden walk, and viola! the fanciest garden walkway in town.

As for my walkway, I decided on vinca throughout with 2-3 foot perennials every 4 feet.  I want plants that bloom for most of the season and must have a “pop” of color.  I just hope Lowe’s starts their 3 perennials for $10 sale around Memorial Day (like they did the past two years), so I can get some bargains.