Neglecting the riotous garden

Two years ago, I wrote one of my favorite posts called The riotous garden and shared photos and the story of the garden my husband and I have created in our front yard.

The garden has been years in the making and the creating and the trying and failing and sometimes succeeding. A woman whose garden I admired told me once that gardening is equal parts tending and neglecting and knowing when to do each.

The last few weeks – while my broken toe has been healing – our riotous garden has seen too much neglect but has also produced so much beautiful chaos in its rush to bloom that I feel undeserving of it all. I thought you might enjoy a photo update of the garden as it looks today.

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A sea of irises

Despite my promise to myself each of the last two years that “this will be the year I divide the iris bulbs,” it still hasn’t happened. I’m vowing to divide them this year, but the neglect has rewarded me with abundant blooms that make me giddy. I’m guessing the irises loved the cold winter. Continue reading

Garden envy … er, inspiration

When my husband and I stroll by a certain neighbor’s yard, the one lined with Black-Eyed Susans at the front of her garden, he says quietly, “That looks really nice.” He’s right. The eight bushes shine their own light in the setting sun.

I walk through a meadow filled with Black-Eyed Susans and feel a need to capture a small part of that golden riot in my own yard.

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A field ablaze with Black-Eyed Susans

I want to plant as many Black-Eyed Susans as I can find, except that I’m not sure how they’ll do in our less sun-filled garden spots shaded by towering trees. I hate to waste the money, and even more, I hate to waste the plants if I can’t put them in a good place to grow.

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Perhaps this one bloom will bring many more.

So I’ve started with two pots full – just to try them out – knowing I can add more if these two thrive where I’ve put them.

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This one enjoys a sunny spot on the porch steps, but I must find a place in the ground for it.

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In the ground. Will the deer and chipmunks leave them alone?

They’re in the ground now, and time will decide how they fare.

While I wait for time and the flowers to decide their own fate, I read Sandra Cisneros’ sweet coming-of-age book The House on Mango Street and am moved by what the young narrator – a girl with my name in Spanish – says right there on page 33:

You can never have too much sky. You can fall asleep and wake up
drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here
there is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies are too
few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still, we
take what we can get and make the best of it.

I plant because I want butterflies too many to count and flowers too numerous to pick a favorite and a garden that captures beauty, so that no one walking by will say there is not enough of any of it.

But there’s this small part of me that wonders: is envy what drives me to fill the garden? Or is it inspiration?