A strange feeling overtakes me when I get a lot of props from the readers of this blog. The more you say “beautiful photo John” or “your gardens are gorgeous” or “you may be the coolest individual alive John” I get an overwhelming feeling of guilt. While I appreciate all the great feedback, I feel the need to offset the great photos with some of the not so great looking ones. It’s a sort of cosmic balance that serves as a reminder that for every beautiful blooming perennial, there is another one that didn’t survive the winter or fried in the heat of summer or slowly succumbed to powdery mildew.
A lot of beginning gardeners I talk to who read gardening blogs or read gardening magazines get very frustrated when they cannot successfully grow plants and make them look like they do in print. They immediately call themselves a “brown thumb” and give up. Well I’m here today to tell you it’s OK. I’ve been an obsessed gardener for close to fifteen years now and I still suck at it. Seriously, I still make the same mistakes or ignore the same good advice year after year. The reality is that the idea of “low maintenance” doesn’t really exist. You have to be willing to put in some time and effort. It takes time, patience and a lot of trial and error. But that is what makes it so enjoyable. You will never be an expert and have your entire lifetime to learn.
Taking photos and putting them in a blog is a great way to fool an audience. At the right angle, your blooms can look just right and you can crop out the dying branches or weeds. It’s easy as hell to make yourself believe you are a kick ass gardener. Today, I’ll first show you the “nice” photo of a plant and then follow it up with a “reality check” photo. And it’s all because I am such a caring and empathetic individual:
Wonderful blooms on a Geranium ‘Brookside’:
What it looks like after the blooms quickly fade:
What it can look like if you’re not lazy like me and cut it back immediately after bloom:
Nepeta (Catmint) blooms are a thing of beauty and draw in so many bees and butterflies:
Phlox ‘David’ is an all time fave for me:
Astilbes are a great combo of blooms and foliage in shade:
Daylilly blooms are always phenomenal:
Northern Sea Oats are reliable as can be and the seedheads add an incredible level of interest summer into fall and even into winter:
That initial flush of bloom on Daylily ‘Happy Returns’ is impressive: