A Possible Showplace

After my tulips and other spring bulbs faded, larkspur grew in that same garden. I harvested what seed I could, then had to cut down the dead larkspur stalks, so now nothing is growing in that area.

I now know I have to do a better job of “layering” for lack of a better word, making sure that after the larkspur are gone, something else grows in its place. It’s too late in the year to plant anything, so I will have that bare spot to look at for the next several months. In the fall, chances are more larkspur will grow, but meantime, it’s not very pretty.

A friend has this “layering” thing perfected. After her tulips bloomed lavishly, other types of flowers grew, and now that the second generation of flowers are gone, her garden is filled with bluebells and orange daylilies.

Admittedly, her garden is a lot older than mine and has been well-established for perhaps decades, but if I do things correctly over the next few years, perhaps I too can have flowers for many months.

I’m thinking of borrowing her idea of daylilies, even though I never done well with them, which is odd because they are supposed to be so easy to grow they have a tendency to take over a garden. Still, it’s worth a try. Or I could plant zinnias — in another area where I cleared out the larkspur, zinnias are beginning to blossom. In this case, though, they are not “layered,” but were planted next to the larkspur. So only half of that garden area is bare. Zinnias are just about the only flowers I can grow from seed, probably due more to this area than anything I am doing — at one time, 90% of the world’s zinnia seeds were grown not far from here.

I’d worry more about my lack of knowledge and experience, but this is supposed to be the project of a lifetime, so perhaps in five to ten years, I will have a showplace.

Or not. There’s still the harsh sun, lack of moisture, and alkaline clay soil, and an inexperience gardener (me) to deal with. I’m amazed I can keep anything alive. It seems the most prolific growers around here are weeds and trees that have been chopped down. Luckily, I just got word that the workers are on the way to pick up a stump grinder so they can get rid of the stumps and the unwanted “forest” that is growing from the exposed roots of the downed tree.

One more step to that possible showplace.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

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