As High as an Elephant’s Eye

– Posted in: Garden chores

Image of pink Oriental lilies

I bought these Oriental lilies from White Flower Farm in Spring 1997. They were really truly on sale that year–about a dollar a bulb. Unnamed, of course, but who cares? This year, these two lilies are taller than I am. (Okay, when I stand up real straight and tall, I’m 5’2″.) I am sure it has everything to do with the abundant rain this year, because they certainly haven’t been weeded. And in other years they were weeded, but too little, too late. I always have to thank God for how much beauty He provides despite how little I manage to do.

Recently someone posted on the Cottage Gardening board asking for tips on how to maintain things when time is short. I am not the person to ask about this, as my garden is not what anyone would call maintained. I can only say that what others see as the obvious solution–make the garden smaller–is no solution at all for me. The best book on working efficiently in the garden that I ever read is Caring for Perennials : What to Do and When to Do it by Janet Macunovich. Janet practices what she preaches. She takes you through a whole growing season showing you how she maintains a flower bed at a local botanical garden.

Mulching early in the season, paying someone to mow the lawn, grow only easy plants, and grow them close together: these are some of the hints I’ve heard before (though not necessarily from Macunovich). I can never find the time to mulch. Someone else already mows the lawn (but doesn’t get paid), I guess all my plants are easy plants, though a few are uncommon, and I do grow them close together, though some weeds get through.

About the Author

Kathy Purdy is a colchicum evangelist, converting unsuspecting gardeners into colchicophiles. She would be delighted to speak to your group about colchicums or other gardening topics. Kathy’s been writing since 4th grade, gardening since high school, and blogging since 2002.

Now, the digging and dividing of perennials, the general autumn cleanup and the planting of spring bulbs are all an act of faith. One carries on before the altar of delayed gratification, until the ground freezes and you can’t do any more other than refill the bird feeder and gaze through the window, waiting for the snow. . . . Meanwhile, it helps to think of yourself as a pear tree or a tulip. You will blossom spectacularly in the spring, but only after the required period of chilling.

~Adrian Higgins in The Washington Post, November 6, 2013

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