Summer vacation flowers

I’m so confused! It’s June 13 and I have no.idea. where the time went. End of school years are always la folie, but this one was especially because I am heading off to a new school next year. This brings excitement and anticipation but also sadness at leaving my fabulous department behind. Between intense Jeopardy exam review days, giving 180 exams, grading and packing up my classroom, it’s no surprise at all I haven’t payed much attention to artsdevivre of late. The last teacher work day was Monday, and I am slowly but surely decompressing. No excuses, just letting you know where I’ve been recently 🙂

One of my most favorite pastimes has developed into gardening. This is not because I have an especially green thumb. But, as you all know, I love all things that add beauty and perspective into my life. Gardening does both!

When D and I decided to live together, the front “garden” was er, an overgrown patch of weeds. Not surprisingly, growing flowers is not D’s forte. That’s ok. He’s good at other stuff. I never had my own garden growing up but always wanted one and when I traded a house in for a shoebox apartment, I decided the time was right. True to my life experience, our front bed is far from easy to grow much in. It just doesn’t get enough sun exposure because of the red maple and dogwood in our front yard. I have however managed to grow a few things ~

The first thing I planted last summer after labor-intensive weed removal was this lovely lavender. Can you believe it looked just like this just a few short months ago after emerging from winter:

Amazing to watch its growth, n’est-ce pas? I have decided lavender is easy to grow, and is a great choice if you enjoy observing flitting butterflies since it attracts this lovely insect. Obviously a lovely choice for Francophiles, as well. 😉

I love the juxtaposition of these portulacas, or Mexican roses, all clustered around my lavender. The farmer’s market lady recommended them since they tend to thrive in less-than-perfect conditions, ie not much sun. I was a bit disappointed with their development until we had a real soaker yesterday. I walked outside this morning to greet more than half the blooms we had Monday evening! Miraculous!

This gorgeous hydrangea bush is actually our neighbor’s, but I thought it was too perfectly blue not to share.

I have still have tons to learn when it comes to growing all things bright and beautiful but here are a few tips I’ve learned over the past year or so that I’ve forayed into the gardening realm:

1. A great way to avoid using weed killer is to pull all the weeds, then cover with layers of newspaper, followed by mulch. I rarely see any little buggers make it through and when I do, it’s just a couple that are easy to nip in the bud.

2. Water water water! Seems obvious but I think a new gardener can underestimate how much water plants actually need in warm weather temps. I had all but given up on my Mexican roses, but seems to be all they needed was more soaking. D’s work now consists of rigging some sort of little sprinkler system for the front bed. He is very excited about that.

3. Don’t over-do it. Pick a couple of things and go with it. This summer, I’m trying to pinpoint a few plants that will actually grow and thrive in the plot we have for now. Last summer I completely jumped in head first with no research and ended up pretty frustrated with my lack of fresh vegetables or flowers. Knowing my plans for this summer included a chunk of time away from home, I decided to pick some low maintenance flowers and an easy herb garden, and then work up to more next summer when I’ll have more time to plan.

What are you growing this summer?

2 thoughts on “Summer vacation flowers

  1. Look at your beautiful garden! I love the lavender 🙂 Charlie and I LOVED working in our garden when we lived in Richmond, it was so much fun and was fun to do together. Your is coming along! And great tip about the mulch and newspaper, I will have to try that once we have a garden of our own again!

    • Merci, Clare ! I am trying. the little successes definitely put a smile on my face 🙂 and i obsessively check on them every day, silly me. loved your post today!! bisous.

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