My Front Garden Walk: April 2012
Front to back:
Rudbeckia “Herbstonne,” Dietes [African Iris], Euryops [Bush Daisy]
Garden angel, two bird bath stands flank a mister [fogger] stand [barely visible]
[Note: After you read this entry, click How My Garden Grows: Three.]
“White Coral Bells, upon a slender stalk;
Lilies of the Valley grace my Garden Walk.
Oh, don’t you wish that you could hear them ring?
That will happen only when the fairies sing.”
~~~A Nursery Rhyme Song, source unknown
Initially, I wanted my Garden Walk to have a theme of Nursery Rhymes and Songs. I began with the rhyme above but I discovered that Lilies of the Valley are poisonous!
So, instead of the Nursery Rhyme Song theme, I decided to create a “Prayer Garden” with a special emphasis on babies, children, parents, and families.
As I work in the garden, I pray for couples who desire to have children yet struggle with infertility; for parents who have lost babies through miscarriage or stillbirth; for parents who have suffered the loss of a child; for families who struggle with health problems; for adoptive families; for children who are lost or missing . . .
In the morning, I turn on the “mister” or “fogger” and the water fills up the bird baths. As I sit on my Front Porch steps in the morning, I can watch the songbirds splash in the water.
By the way, my philosophy of “good” gardening is similar to my philosophy of “good” parenting:
I carefully nurture both my children and plants, until they are firmly rooted and established. Thereafter, both children and plants receive my “benign neglect” and, quite naturally, may appear to struggle. Once they are “pushed out of the nest” toward independence, however, they thrive.
The child/plant metaphor continues, as I go to “Native Nursery” to view the young plants. However, here the metaphor breaks down, as we do not choose our children as we choose our plants. It is the Triune God who bestows upon us the blessing of children.
Since I am able, however, to choose plants, I research the best “bulletproof” North West Florida native plants. I ignore any plants that need any special care beyond the basic “sun, water, and soil” requirements.
I give a new plant a full year and, if it cannot endure the extremes of temperature and moisture during the year, it has to make way for a tougher plant.
If I plant in the fall, I coax the new plants along but, as winter approaches, I remind them, “Now, no one is going to come running out here to cover you up with a sheet, if a cold snap threatens – so, you will just have to tough it out!”
Stephen built for me a raised bed for the Front Garden Walk, where perennial evergreens flourish. Our “Natchez” crepe myrtles are thriving and, during the summer, they provide a canopy of shade for the Front Garden Walk. We do not prune them; we allow them to grow [to almost 20 feet] and we enjoy the shade and lovely cinnamon bark. We enjoy the blooms but we object strongly to “crepe murder:” this describes the practice of gardeners who severely prune the trees, caring only for the profusion of blooms, which appear above the sad, ugly stumps.
For my garden, a plant must offer something beyond transitory blooms: I derive pleasure from the four-season interest of the overall shape and proportion of the plant and the texture and color of the foliage or bark. If the plant attracts songbirds, hummingbirds, and butterflies, then that plant is an excellent candidate. If the plant also requires no staking, pruning, spraying, or fertilizing, then it is, indeed, a winner.
And that is How My Garden Grows . . . I’ll share more specifics in this series, including suggestions for “bullet-proof” plants for NW FL.