Real Gardens

Belated Bloom Day: In Praise of Ordinary Plants

BackyardflowersHere’s my northern CA bloom day photo.  These are the most ordinary plants:  Shasta daisies, catmint, geranium, feverfew, yarrow, rose campion–but damn, they bloom their heads off in June, and you gotta love that.

When Saxon Holt came to visit a couple weeks ago, I realized how truly unremarkable my plant choices are.  I find what works and propagate the hell out of it.    Backyardflowers2

The back yard is on the left.  To the right is my side garden, dominated by salvia and phlomis.  It really gets going a little later in the year–it’s a hummingbird runway by August.

Uncomplicated and jubilant.  That’s all this garden is. 

Maybe I’ll fill up my next garden with obscure, rare and hard-to-find plants, but this one seems to be all about flowers that are tough, happy, and reliable. And really, these plants choose themselves–if they can get along with this crowd, they stay and multiply.  Otherwise, they get smothered or shoved aside.

Posted by on June 16, 2008 at 1:44 pm, in the category Real Gardens.
Comments are off for this post

25 responses to “Belated Bloom Day: In Praise of Ordinary Plants”

  1. You write about and criticize the garden industry as though you are some sort of expert.
    The photos shohw an overgrown mess withvast disorganization along with lack of rythum and and ano design talent whatsoever

  2. susan harris says:

    “Flowers that are tough, happy, and reliable. And really, these plants choose themselves–if they can get along with this crowd, they stay and multiply.” I think you’ve outed yourself as a sustainable gardener. And it’s gorgeous in its exuberance.

  3. Where do you guys get all of your wonderful trolls? And are they unable to type right out of the box, or is that something you have to teach them?

  4. Oh. Never mind. It’s the same troll (Greg Draiss) going under a different name. Much less impressive.

  5. sliz says:

    Very nice. I hope to someday have as lovely an “overgrown mess” as this. Though I am a bit puzzled by why Mr. Wayneright expects your flowers to have rhythm or design talent.

    In all seriousness, though, it’s lovely and quite bountiful. I imagine the hummingbirds and bees are spectacular later in the summer.

  6. Well Amy your over grown mess makes mine look like road kill. I could weed and mulch for the amount of organization you have. All in good time. Meanwhile the dozens and dozens of butterflies that float through the air while I ponder the concept of design and organization makes up for the wild exzuberant abundance.

    Mr. Subjunctive, spelling, grammer and other such writing rules may fall by the wayside after a few too many cocktails. WWI isn’t illegal, just annoying.

  7. Kim says:

    Like the repetition of plants and self seeders are good but you are lacking vertical accents. Check out Penelope Hobhouse’s videos on Netflix and see how gardens can be.

  8. Colleen says:

    I love ordinary plants. I don’t have to worry about the kids trampling them, and they come back every year no matter what.

    Yes, I’m loving your trolls as well. You can gauge your popularity by how many trolls you attract, you know 😉

  9. Ordinary. Nothing wrong with that.

    But I don’t think your garden is ordinary at all.
    It shows nice foliage texture, a lovely lyrical color sense, and it appears to be well loved and cared for.

    I like the word ‘jubilant’.
    It fits this garden nicely.

  10. Marte says:

    Amy, your gardens are lovely. I’m glad that troll can’t see my garden. (Of course, trolls turn to stone at daybreak, so perhaps he just can’t see.)

  11. Rainymountain says:

    The troll is getting more attention than he deserves. Let’s just ignore him and concentrate on gardens and gardening issues and perhaps he will go away.

  12. Christopher C NC: “Mr. Subjunctive, spelling, gramm[a]r and other such writing rules may fall by the wayside after a few too many cocktails. WWI isn’t illegal, just annoying.”

    1. I’m well aware that nobody likes the spelling nazi guy, but when you criticize someone for lack of organization in a garden, it behooves you to show a little organization in your typing and thinking and sentence construction. Glass houses, and all that.

    2. Not only is what’s being communicated uncalled for and incorrect, it’s being communicated in a deeply silly way. “Rythum and and ano?” It’s one thing to make typos: we all do that. It’s another thing to get yourself so a-quiver over the fact that non-experts dare have opinions (and they’re WOMEN, too, ZOMG) that you can only flail at your keyboard in childish
    rage. This is not a serious person, and he deserves to be mocked. Possibly he should even be made to wear bells and a clown nose. Or disemvoweled on sight.

    2. I don’t see what World War I has to do with any of this. And if it wasn’t illegal at the time, I hope it is now.

    3. How do you know how many cocktails Mr. Pargregsons Waynedraisswright had before making this post? For all you know, he was as sober as he is misogynist.

  13. trey says:

    Your garden is fantastic! Really. I am almost dumb struck by the fact that anyone would not find it charming.

    parsons wayneright is an interesting subject, eh? When you follow the link for his name it leads to Tropic Al’s BBQ Review. Google parsons name and we find out he is the buyer for Adams Fairacre Farms one of the largest independent garden centers in the nation? I am dumbstruck again that any reputable business would snoop to trolling, which I really didn’t know anything about until now, thank you parsons.

    As a garden center owner I would like to champion the well run independent garden center, but never a business that uses deceptive tactics in its operation. I wonder if the owners know what’s up?

  14. So shoot me Mr. Subjunctive, my southern accent slips out in the a’s and e’s in many words. I don’t often spell check internet comments.

    You’ve heard of DUI, or DWI in many states, driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated? Now try WWI again, or if you prefer, WUI.

    I am entitled to any theory that seems plausible. Blurred vision seems like a plausible reason for such a garbled post from Sybil Draiss.

    It goes 1, 2, 3, 4. See, we can all make minor errors.

  15. eliz says:

    First, I just want to speak up for WWI; I often post after a few. I have a day job so can’t really post during working hours.

    Second, Amy, your garden looks fantastic. Sure, it is an explosion of color, but I definitely see a pattern in there. The wine helps …

  16. “So shoot me Mr. Subjunctive, my southern accent slips out in the a’s and e’s in many words. I don’t often spell check internet comments.”

    That actually isn’t what it looked like: I wasn’t trying to make a point of correcting that. I just miscalculated how it would look. It would be hard to explain. In any case, I’m sorry about that, and if it helps, it’s not just a Southern thing.

    “You’ve heard of DUI, or DWI in many states, driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated? Now try WWI again, or if you prefer, WUI.”

    Gotcha.

    “I am entitled to any theory that seems plausible. Blurred vision seems like a plausible reason for such a garbled post from Sybil Draiss.”

    I like my theory (flailing in childish rage) better, but whatever.

    “It goes 1, 2, 3, 4. See, we can all make minor errors.”

    Which would be quite the gotcha had I not previously said “It’s one thing to make typos: we all do that.”

  17. Judybusy says:

    I am so glad that someone else gardens by cramming in plants by the bucket load! Everything looks healthy and happy. What a delightful garden.

    I am also a fan of the “only hardy plants need apply” style of gardening.

  18. Laura says:

    Amy, your garden looks beautiful, period. I’d love to spend time there with such “ordinary” plants — they not only look great but are wonderful to smell and touch. It’s a garden for all of the senses.

    As for the trolls, they remind me of my preschooler. When he acts like that, he is separated from the rest of us until he can pull himself together.

  19. wooly sunflower says:

    Amy, there’s nothing at all wrong with your lovely garden! I recently paid good money to go on an all day tour of environmentally friendly gardens. I was hoping to see gardens just like yours, but instead, saw lots of professionally designed gardens that didn’t reflect anyone’s personality. Yaaawwnn….Your garden reflects its relaxed, friendly, joyful creator and it’s paradise for bees and butterflies too! Of course I’ve never met you, but I’d be really surprised if you were uptight and depressed. 😉 I love the chicken house! Who needs to garden by rules? We need more joyful gardens like this in the world.

  20. I’m with you, Amy. Love those ordinary plants that thrive, divide and multiply.

  21. Tom says:

    I think your garden is beautiful. I also know that it takes guts to post a photo of your garden for the world to see. I read somewhere that showing your garden is putting yourself on display because all your strenghts and weaknesses (horticultural, architectural, esthetic, etc.) go on display with the plants. From the looks of your garden you have many strengths.

  22. Michele Owens says:

    Sorry to come late to this conversation, but Christopher C and Mr. Subjunctive, I simply love you.

    I also love the garden. All those ordinary flowers, generally small in size, create a real mood–soft and exuberant at the same time. She could have topiary elephants and serpentine stone walls there–but I don’t think they’d do much for the scene.

    My question is, why do all those grey-leaved lovers of dry soil do so well in Amy’s maritime climate?

  23. Bob Vaiden says:

    Looks like a version of Heaven to me…

    My woodland has gone green… the Spring bloom is ended. Now the prairie flowers take over; random drifts of Sundrops, Penstemon, Spiderwort, etc., with little rhyme or reason to the arrangement. Just a lot of wildflowers growing pretty much where they want to, with some help from me:)

  24. Amy Stewart says:

    Oh, it’s plenty dry here, Michele. We get not a drop of rain for about 6 months through the summer and fall. And I have no irrigation system–it’s just me with the garden hose or a little hose-end sprinkler, and you can imagine how often that happens. The trick is to find plants that are drought-tolerant in summer but won’t rot in our rainy winters.

  25. Christelle says:

    Keep doing what you are doing the blooms are so beautiful! We love the pictures, thanks.
    Christelle

    http://www.gardenview.com

  • Follow Garden Rant

    Follow Me on Pinterest RSS