Saturday, March 7, 2009

Welcome to A Gardener’s Home


It is never too late to be what you might have been. George Eliot

That is the way I feel when I look at gardens and houses (although Mr. Eliot probably meant the above statement to be about people).

My husband, our 7-year-old Australian Shepard and I currently live in a 1937 Storybook Cottage* with visits from our son who is away at college. We live at the top of a hill and at the bottom runs a natural creek complete with small waterfall. After living here about 18 months, we are just beginning to make house and garden “what it might have been”.

These are hyacinths (Hyacinthus orientalis - Common, Dutch or Garden Hyacinth) coming up from bulbs planted by Richard Spencer who lived and gardened here before us. His widow Maggie says he planted them by the door so everyone who came and went could enjoy their scent. We loved them last spring and when I saw them last week it made the 17-degree weather seem more tolerable. Richard was a mason by trade and you will see his work throughout the yard and house.

Our front yard is pretty plain at the moment. It is way too cold to work much in the garden. If you live in St Louis you know we have had 70-degree weather and the next day 20-degrees. We use cypress mulch and a triple-ground darker mulch to not only help stabilize the ground temperature but also add accents in the winter. Underneath all this mulch are about 650 bulbs. As a garden writer I often receive trial bulbs (about 150 this past fall) and I’ll be writing about as they come up. Richard had a lot of bulbs already planted and we added about 400 bulbs I had ordered and let sit in our unheated garage most of the winter. We planted them in late January, early February, so I’m also considering them as trial bulbs. Check back for more on bulbs and I’ll show you my secret for planting large amounts…hint: power tools.

Thanks to friend David Homeier we also added a bed of pachysandra (Pachysandra procumbens) under the maple tree. It was one of those sunny fall days and David brought over cuttings from his beds and helped me plant them. It was also the day we had to put our 15-year-old Aussie to sleep. Gardening always helps me deal with life’s ups and downs. The vet made a paw print in plaster for us to keep. I had to laugh as the print was muddy and it reminded me of all the times she dug in the yard trying to get a mole, not to mention all the muddy prints she made thru the house. Still miss that dog.

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