I spent part of today ordering seeds and plants for this summer. I get a boatload of garden catalogs, and I spend most of January just going through them, dreaming, changing my mind about what to grow, longing for one of each. Over time, I've learned that I'm better off buying enough of a few things rather than one of each. By early February, I have made some decisions, and I go through the catalogs again, folding over pages. Four or five companies are likely to sell something I want, and I fold over the pages in each catalog that has, for example, ruby thyme. Then, but late February (aka NOW), I get serious. I make a chart with the names of the plants i want down the side and the names of the catalogs across the top. Then, in the proper square, I fill in the price, whether its for seeds or live plants, etc. Finally, I order. For some reason, I like to do it by hand, on the order form. Maybe because I write checks, whereas on line or by phone I'd put it on a credit card and that would provide just a little bit less of a leash for me.
This year, I'm growing the standard herbs, although many of these will come back from last year: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Woad, Mint (chocolate, peppermint, and spearmint), Sweet Woodruff, Wormwood, Nasturtium and Marigold, Lime Balm, Dill, Basil, and Rue.
I'll grow coleus, which I love, but which are annuals and, thus, expensive, around the tree in my front yard and, along w/ black elepahant ears (this year, I WILL be successful!) in containers near my driveway. I'll grow white foxglove and black hollyhocks (planted from last year's seed; they're biennials) in the front cottage garden along with deep purple Grandpa Ott's morning glories, white moonflowers, and white datura.
For my backyard woodland garden, I've indulged in some jack-in-the pulpit bulbs, absolutely gorgeous and very witchy, but quite dear. I'm hoping the bulbs will make more bulbs and, if I buy a few every year, in a few years, I'll have a lovely bed of them. I bought several kinds of violas, Bowles Black and Psychydelic Spring, which I planted once before and they didn't do too well, so this is their last chance!
I wanted to buy about a hundred lilly of the valley bulbs for the woodland garden, too, but decided I'd have to wait another year to afford those.
Lots of what's already planted will come back. I have two yellow daffodills about to pop and hundreds more just behind. I have black iris ready to go and pink peonies. I'm hoping the black calla lillies that I planted last year and got a few blooms from survived our draught last summer. I have astilibes (white) and day lillies (orange -- they were planted by the people who lived here before me), and tons of hosta, and some helibore I keep threatening to pull out but haven't yet since they come so early. There are a few stray crocus, from the people before me, and some black dianthus I planted in a container that I hope will bloom this year.
I'd have liked some ferns in the side yard, but will have to wait a year or two and, in a perfect world, I'd have liked a few more lilac bushes. But I have two and they're covered with hard little buds, and I can buy more blooms at the farmers' market, so I'll wait until after I tear the whole yard up in a few years and hire a landscaper.
What are you growing? What are you longing to grow? What have you given up on growing? I've been in love with gardening since I read The Secret Garden as a child. How did you fall in love with putting seeds in the earth?
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