After the long winter, the names of plants that last fall came easily to mind and rolled off the tongue now seem to be stuck in a haze, the words a bit blurry, the accents all mixed up. Even common names take a minute or two to bring to mind.
I knew I should have studied up on my plant names before the garden designer and her partner in digging came for a first look-see of my garden! We toured around, pointing at bare stems of shrubs and tiny little plants just emerging from the ground, stumbling over names.
Snow-in-summer? Ceras? Oh, yes, Cerastium tomentosum, pictured above. It just doesn’t roll off the tongue after the long winter.
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Tardiva’? I tried to call it “tardita”. Without the paniculata. And I could barely remember that the ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangeas were ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangeas. But yes, of course, I knew they were hydrangas.
But if someone said something close to the actual name, someone else figured out what it was and so we managed. Around the garden we went, stumbling through the names, as I pointed out flaws, areas that I thought needed to be fixed, a tree that should be cut down, utility boxes to hide. I consider my garden pretty much a blank slate as long as she…
Leaves the vegetable garden alone.
And actually, I hope she has suggestions for the vegetable garden. It could use some help, too. And a nicer “entry way” into it, maybe an arbor. Or perhaps a low fence that divides it from the rest of the yard. Maybe better paths?
After walking around the garden, we sat and talked about what I want in the garden in addition to wanderability, placeness, well plotted, gardimacy, and hortiful. (Yes, she read about those on my blog, but came anyway.) I did forget to mention my five keys to achieving happiness in a garden. (Grow the plants you love, size your garden for the resources you have, buy good tools (I did show them my hoe collection), respect Mother Nature and, share your garden.) I hope she can take all that into account, too.
She noted a lack of evergreen shrubs in my garden and asked me about that. I said evergreens would be fine, but no Juniperus (junipers), Taxus (yews), Thuja (arborvitaes) or Chamaecyparis. She kindly and patiently pointed out that there were really no other choices for evergreens around here, so I agreed to re-consider sculptural junipers, new varieties of yews, and Chamaecyparis, and really anything else she suggests.
We also talked about my lack of grasses. I’ve had some bad experiences with invasive grasses, which I didn’t mention to them. I’ll work through those issues with Dr. Hortfreud on my own time. I’m sure after a few sessions I’ll soon be able to consider some nice grasses that aren’t invasive.
Whew, this garden design process is going to be like therapy, as she challenges me to let go of some of my pre-conceived and perhaps strongly held opinions on some plants and reconsider them, after all these years. Before you know it, she’ll have me liking and planting red flowers. Red flowers!
The next step is for her to come back and spend some more time walking around the garden, mulling it over, considering what concepts she wants to present in a garden design before she gets too far.
In the meantime, I’m going to pull out my plant tags, walk around the garden, and shake off my post-winter plant name amnesia!