What they don’t tell you about a first year garden

For folks on a budget, nothing can be more cost-effective than growing plants from seed.  If you are a good gardener, the range of plants available to you is incredible if you start from seeds and bulbs- much larger than what is available in blooming-sized plants.

I have planned my lovely hot colors garden, and my goodness, it looks terrible.  It will eventually look great, but this year, with bulbs and perennials just getting started, it is not the most attractive garden at my house– by far. 

So far, the cutting tulips have come and gone (see below)…


early tulips

early tulips

And now I have an expanse of mostly bare dirt as the very young plants fill themselves in.  It has taken a tremendous amount of willpower to just leave it instead of rushing out to fill all the spaces.  As I wanted some specific colors, I grew a lot of annuals from seed, which are still small.  First year gardens are definitely frustrating… but in some ways rewarding.

The sedum cutting a neighbor gave me last year has grown into a healthy little plant, as has the very tiny piece of sedum “Angelina” that I cut from a front bed last year.

The enormous common orange daylily reminds me that at least one thing in the garden looks large and settled (and will likely be given to a friend once things start to fill in a little– Tracey?  Betty?).

I have some special plants in the hot colors garden– Fire Engine Nicholas daylilies in honor of my nephew; tall spiky eremurus (second try); knifphofia– red hot pokers; crocosmia lucifer, mine actually flowered last year and I couldn’t resist buying another 2 dozen in hopes that they may flower some day.  I am also going to move some other great plants into the bed, including a bicolored culinary sage.

hot colors garden- year one.

hot colors garden- year one, early on.

After another terrible year of sneezing, I am going to remove the korean lilacs that I intended to form a hedge, and instead replace them with evergreens to shield the sun, wind and view of my neighbor’s vegetable garden (which is looking very good– they are limiting the number of plants that they grow in such small spaces, a great idea for any vegetable garden with 20 tomatoes that they are about to put in the ground.)

And the weeding is terrible right now.  I like plants to be packed closely together, English garden style, but it takes awhile for that to happen– so the dill fills right in.

As the season has worn on, the garden has filled in a little…

September in the Hot Colors Garden

September in the Hot Colors Garden

Ah- patience.  I am not good at waiting for seedlings to grow to be visible, bulbs to get their feet under them so that they will grow up and bloom, and perennials to get out of their small little habits and get large and bushy and lovely.  I know it will happen if I am patient.  But I hate being patient.

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4 Responses to What they don’t tell you about a first year garden

  1. Pingback: Time to order Spring Bulbs! « Gwendolyn’s Garden

  2. I am also an ‘instant gratification’ girl. It is hard to wait, especially for my cedar hedge to cover up the neighbours ugly house behind us. Patience, grasshopper, Patience (definately too much tv when I was young)

  3. gwendolyngarden says:

    I have to say, that by the end of the season, it looks much better than I had hoped. The crocosmia was beautiful, as was the peony. The Red Hot Pokers were a delight. The dianthus and marigolds are flowering like mad. Oranges and Lemons gallardia hasn’t stopped (remembering that this is plant number three in the same location.)

    I have also removed half of the korean lilac hedge because I am clearly allergic to it. I’m waiting for a bit more rain and the rest will come out as well… to be replaced by something that is deep and evergreen. The birds will definitely like that.

    Next year it will look especially nice with the red/yellow tree peony, if God willing, it blooms… I can’t wait!

  4. gwendolyngarden says:

    I promise I’ll post photos soon!

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