I've been reading and pondering more of the writings of Elizabeth Lawrence, and in a 1965 column in the Charlotte Observer, she wrote,
"My garden is planned to take care of itself and every year I try to see that it makes fewer demands, but fall planting must be done regularly if there is to be any real show in the spring."
I wholeheartedly agree that fall planting makes for a great show in the spring, but I'm still thinking about how to plan a garden so it will 'take care of itself' and each year make fewer demands on my time.
Looking around my own garden, I feel like it is a bit of an adolescent and a poorly behaved one at that, which so far can not be left on its own.
Just look at some of what it is doing...
Whenever I turn my back, the thistle weeds like the one above sprout up everywhere and if left alone, they would be four feet tall by August.
The Lamb's Ear is spreading through several areas, and would start looking quite unruly if I didn't cut back those big flower stalks regularly.
This snow in summer is taking over more and more.By the way, I know that I have a Baptisia on the far left, but I have forgotten the name of the plant that the snow in summer is actually overtaking in the center there.
The sedum is encroaching on these daylilies.Hey, that's my first daylily bloom this year! Get back away from that plant, you spreading sedum thug.
Is that a hosta in the Lamium or Lamium out of control in the hosta garden? Note to self. This weekend, cut back that Lamium and give that hosta some room.
These daisies, left to their own devices, are taking over this perennial border.This is after I weeded out a bunch of the daisies earlier this spring. Obviously I need to be more liberal with my weeding of these ox-eye daisies, just as soon as they finish blooming.
And spiderwort? Don't get me started, but when I'm not watching over the garden, the spiderwort seedlings come up all over the place.
I do like to think that the lilacs bloom so fully because after the bloom is finished, I cut back all the spent blooms before seeds are formed.It does take a few hours to 'deadhead' the lilacs, but I think it is well worth it to get more bloom each spring.
Clearly, my adolescent, misbehaving garden still needs me, which is nice because I still need it. I wouldn't know what to do if there wasn't some weeding, planting, pruning, whacking back and other "ing" tasks to do each spring, throughout the summer and into the fall.
But I recognize that over time, it would be nice to have the garden be a little more 'responsible' for at least some of its care. So while I'm out there caring for it this weekend, I'll ponder how to make it a little more self-reliant and a little less demanding.
What would happen if you left your garden alone to care for itself?
The quote above is from the book Beautiful at All Seasons: Southern Gardening and Beyond with Elizabeth Lawrence, edited by Ann L. Armstrong and Lindie Wilson, chosen to be the April-May selection of the Garden Bloggers’ Book Club. All are welcome to join the book club by reading this book or any book by Elizabeth Lawrence and then posting a book review, your own insights on her writings, etc. on your blog before May 31st. Then I’ll publish a “virtual meeting” post on May 31st with links to all the relevant posts.