[gardeners] Garden Weirdness

Liz Albrook (gardeners@globalgarden.com)
Tue, 2 Jun 1998 21:21:39 +0000

Some of you folks remember that it was just 3 years ago that I 
started growing flowers here in the frozen north.  I hired a guy with 
a small backhoe to take up river rock and plastic and fill the 
foot deep trench (!) that resulted with topsoil.  I added copious 
amounts of compost to the topsoil, planted mostly perennials from 4" 
pots, and watched them grow.  

I planted a memorial rose for my sister's fiance -- a Lagerfeld -- 
near one end of the border with a few of his ashes sprinkled in the 
planting hole.  Words cannot describe how much I loathe that 
rosebush.  It throws up enormous canes, some 7 feet tall, in the 
manner of some of the worst behaved old garden roses.  Too stiff to 
peg, if I prune his canes Karl gets his revenge by sprouting 5 to 7 
canes at the end of the bobbed cane.  These canes end in clusters of 
12 to 17 buds, and promptly fall over when all the buds open.  The 
joints, much like those found on topped trees, can't support the 
weight.  Our hot Idaho sun turns the delicate lavender blossoms to 
grey in 1 or 2 days.  It has got to go.

In that same bed are Munstead lavender, several dianthus (my 
passion), a dwarf baby's breath, a white echinacea (hideous, 
absolutely hideous) and, just a few short months ago, a perovskia.  
The white echinacea is doing well and I think it's ugly so it will 
soon be losing it's home.  It isn't doing anything unusual -- which 
in itself is unusual in this border.  The Munstead lavender is 
approximately 2.5 feet in diameter and getting wider.  The dianthus, 
with the exception of my favorite, Spotti, that is being overrun by 
the baby's breath and shaded by the Lagerfeld, are all running 20" - 
24" in diameter.  In fact, the dianthus are have spread everywhere -- 
so much so that they have invaded the tulip areas and look 
attrocious, with tulip stalks growing up through them and upsetting 
their symmetry.  The dwarf baby's breath is also about 2 feet in 
diameter.  Monster plants!  I have monster plants!

The perovskia that used to be in that border was removed because it 
was 5 feet tall and running 8 feet in diameter.  I accidentally 
forgot to plant it somewhere else because I don't really have a place 
for a coarse plant of those dimensions.

I have not fertilized anything in that border.

You guys know that about a month ago I planted petunias, stock and a 
couple of kinds of snapdragons in that border.  Well, I might be 
growing monster perennials, but I am not growing monster annuals!  
Despite being well watered (but not waterlogged) they haven't grown 
an inch since being planted.  I mean that -- they are the same size 
they were when first planted out.  Not only that but in the last week 
I've been looking around and noticed that *none* of the purchased 
plants people have set out are growing at all.  The marigolds I put 
out behind the house have died!    

To hell with it.  Tomorrow I am getting some seeds started.