Saturday, July 3, 2010

Container Water Gardens story

For those of you who may have missed my feature article on container water gardens in the June 27 edition of the SF Chronicle, here's a link to that story. This was a fun piece to write and Timber Press in Portland was kind enough to let me use some fabulous images from several of their books. Three water garden authors also shared their thoughts. I even had my photo in the paper for the first time, as a Chronicle photographer came out for a step-by-step assembling a water feature photo shoot. My first thought in seeing the photo of me cradling the pot was "Wait; I'm that old?"
Sadly, I had to disassemble the pot as I'll be putting a small rhodie in it for a decorative pots corner in the back yard.
Meanwhile, though it's hard to believe, given the late, late arrival of spring, we find ourselves in July. Most of the spring annuals are done blooming and need to be replaced. This is a reminder that growing a garden is a cycle and is part of nature. We know that annuals do eventually die once they've run their course but that can happen to short-lived perennials as well. We shouldn't be hesitant to replace these plants. In fact, we tell our nursery customers not to worry about pulling out a sickly plant, or one that no longer meets the needs of the bed it's in. Gardens are ALL about change. Once you embrace that philosophy then it's easier to replace plants.
An important reminder: To paraphrase real estate agents, the most important element to a healthy garden is soil, soil and soil. If you temporarily have an empty planting bed because you're swapping out plants or re-doing the bed, it's an excellent time to add soil amendments. Loose, rich soil is healthy soil and healthy soil = vibrant plants.
July in my garden is equally about summer bulbs (lilies, glads, daylilies), summer perennials (verbascums, hollyhocks, heleniums etc) and summer shrubs (marmalade bush, Australian bluebells, swainsona). Though I understand having a garden using drifts of certain plants, my love of plants and need for constant interest has led to a huge variety, which means there's always dozens of things in bloom. Summer is for enjoyment and upkeep. And short term amnesia that fall (with it's seasonal work) will ever arrive.
Enjoy your garden! (and your friends').

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