Knowing What You Want

Sometimes knowing what you want out of a garden is the key to finding happiness there. Do you want to read on a garden bench in the shade with hostas around your feet and a maple above or do you like the toil of nurturing, worrying and finally bursting with excitement when that rare specimen finally blooms and is truly spectacular?

In previous blog posts I’ve shared that when we built our current home, we were house-poor and our builder went belly-up taking our money with him prior to fully landscaping. Friends and family were wonderful – sharing seeds, seedlings and splittings to help me build my new gardens. But even with all their love and support there wasn’t enough plants until I discovered the beauty of

People give away plants! They post ads on craigslist giving away good stuff!

One lady was putting in a new deck and patio. She marked off the area of her gardens that were available and said, “Take anything you want.” We dug out pulmonaria, a small heuchera and lots of bugleweed. Dumped it in laundry hampers and scurried home to plant.

Another person posted they had many varieties of daylilies, dug out and sitting on the curb. First come, first serve and help yourself. We were there bright and shining the next morning. Most were tall and lemon-yellow but there were a few denser peach and gold lilies that were really amazing.

My favorite story is the young couple who bought a brick home near West High School. The elderly lady who had originally owned the home cultivated roses. As she aged she was unable to care for them and by the time the house sold the roses were an unruly mess of weeds, deadwood and unpruned shrubs. The young couple posted a “you dig’em they are yours” ad in craigslist.

My husband, angel that he is, went over the next day. It was unbearably hot. Digging the roses out was a struggle as the roots were intertwined with each other, the weed roots and the foundation of the old home. At one point the young husband came out to watch, so Dave asked what they were going to plant around the foundation instead.  The answer? White rocks! The young man explained they didn’t know anything about roses or gardens and just wanted to have a clean front yard.

So as my story progresses, Dave persevered and brought home more than a dozen sickly looking roses. I soaked the plants in buckets of water and painstakingly untangled roots, trimmed back deadwood, deadheaded rose hips and tried to figure out what I had. Sizes of plants, leaves… everything was all over the place. I think I ended up with one of everything and none the same. We planted a couple plants in each of the flower beds.

Today I have beautiful roses. Floribunda and tea. Red, peach, yellow and pink. Long trailing branches and tight little shrubs. I don’t know any of their names or origins but it doesn’t change the wonderful aroma and beautiful blossoms.

Best of all I got what I wanted – gorgeous garden. And the young couple got what they wanted – white gravel.


About Kary Beck

Mother and wife, gardener, wine enthusiast, avid online bargain hunter, and owner of two black-and-tan cocker spaniels.
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