Friday, July 8, 2011

My Garden: Not for the Faint of Heart

Japanese Blood Grass

My approach to gardening may seem unconventional. But it works for me.

I start a plant from seed, or I purchase a plant from the plant store. I dig a hole in the ground. I hoyk the plant in there with some of my homemade compost. I give the plant a shot of water for a couple days. If it survives, awesome. If not, fine.


I'm not a coddler. I don't baby the garden beds. I'm ruthless. There is no plant in my garden that I value for its rarity. The plants I have are work-horses man. They are hardy. They are robust. I don't have time for cream puffs. In fact, I have point-blank written-off some so-called easy-to-grow varieties, and I refuse to look back. Some examples?
  • Bee balm: Cannot grow it to save my life.
  • Silver mound: Doesn't like me. The feeling is mutual.
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris): I have undying love for this species, but I have no "thyme" for this most basic variety. Pun intended.
Variegated Lemon Thyme with Self-Seeded Feverfew

All self-seeders are welcome in my garden. If I don't have to do the work myself, all the better. I love how plants just appear in the most wonderous and unlikely places. Not to mention that I do not have a problem yanking out the ones that, frankly, just didn't have a clue.

Lavender with Self-Seeded Feverfew

All volunteers are also welcome. I have several unknown plant varieties in the garden that have quietly blown in on the winds, that have started on their own and grown into beautiful specimens with zero love from me. That is my kind of plant.

Volunteer (Self-Seeded Unknown)

And furthermore, bring on the invasives. Do you ever get the feeling that the world is walking all over you? Take control by fiercely hacking away at an overgrown and oppressive invasive plant. This therapy is unparalleled. Your spirit will be lifted. Your garden will thank you. Sure, the invasive itself will come back undaunted, but you'll get to show it who's boss all over again.

Explorer Rose "John Cabot"

It's a dogwood-eat-dogwood world out there. If you're gonna survive, you gotta be tough.

Have yourself a great day, and I'll see you soon!

This post is linked to Amy's Bloggers' Garden Tour.


  1. Nice to see you do garden too. Lovely and colorful flowers. I like lavenders - Hugs Nat

  2. I love your method - rather similar to my own - I was just hacking out one of my favorite invasives - yarrow I started the stuff seven or eight years ago from three roots that I brought home from my parents and then left laying in the garage for almost a month - they looked like totally dead roots when I planted them!!

    I am glad I am not the only one who loves feverfew!! I need some more seeds because the beds where it so happily self-seeded have been repurposed - but seed is cheap.

    Isn't it weird how sometimes you just can't grow the ones that are supposed to be easy - I know the feeling!!

  3. You are a hilarious kind of gardner! Love this!
    We have little pavement stones in the garden and it’s amazing to see what plants settle down in between them. I used to take them all out, but this year I’m letting it all go and grow. First we had a heatwave during Springtimer, a drought for weeks, now it’s raining and raining and it’s funny ro see how my little city garden changes into a wilderness.

  4. Beautiful! I am similar in that if something isn't doing well in the conditions that I have, out it goes. My aunt will create little protected areas and move the same plant several times trying to make it happy. Not I!

  5. waoo..a nice floral all these flowers, specially Gaillardia..such a sweet look!!
    gardening is a time taking job,how you do it all with blogging & house keeping? Well Done !! & Keep it up :)

  6. I think we have a lot in common with gardening. :) I love the gaillardia and feverfew.

  7. Hee! I will now add "hoyk" to my repertoire!!!

  8. Hilarious!! Love it! Come to think of it I think I'm the same way.

    Have a great weekend!

  9. well your approach works-great photos!

  10. You are so funny. We are gardening soul sisters, but for some reason your garden looks way better than mine. I'm not sure I can totally embrace the invasives. In Vancouver they grow 12 months of the year you know. The buttercup and morning glory are the death of me.

  11. This post really spoke to me Michelle. I am a gardener and love to potter in my garden but I don't have the time for plants that need that extra bit of love and care. I plant what thrives in our climate. I love it when a plant self seeds or blows in on the wind too, it's a nice surprise when it pops it's head up and starts blooming. Oh and I just attacked some invasive jasmine which might look pretty and smell nice but it smothers everything that lays in its path. It felt good!! Beautiful photos btw and now I know how to spell hoyk

  12. I have a saying that I say to myself when I garden: if you pull all weeds, you will never get a volunteer. My very favorite plant in my garden is a volunteer and it just gets better every year. It's flax! I have never even seen it in a garden around here.

    We also have volunteer wild strawberries, wild blueberries, wild roses, and sweetfern, which I never managed to successfully transplant.

    And as far as I'm concerned, the back of the yard is not for grass, but a welcome oasis for any and every volunteer who wants to visit.

    I'm glad I'm not the only one who gardens like this.

  13. Well lets face it all that extra time in a garden molly coddling plants, seriously affects crafting time!
    Havent heard the word hoyk for years lol and like the term 'volunteer' for the wind blowns very much!
    Made me chuckle that post, so thanks so much :)

  14. You are among the wonderful group of "idlers," - an idle gardener, in this case. Michele, you may be interested in one day reading "One Straw Revolution," a book about a Japanese farmer who tried to do as little as possible to grow food. His point was that trusting in Nature and the way She does things can work without meddlesome humans and their sometimes very misguided ways :) Idling, here, is certainly not the opposite of working; it's the opposite of moving about frantically without warrant or purpose. So happy to know you as a kindred gardening spirit!

  15. I like your plants, your approach with them.
    I like your blog!

  16. Whatever you are doing , it is working!

  17. I'm with you!

    I also have a very laissez-faire attitude to gardening; It always turns out spectacular and fruitful (yum)

    Have fun in the sun!


  18. I am in the Garden Tour too - and I agree with your attitude. I love self-seeders, and will always plant more of the ones that are happy, and forget the ones that struggle. All part of the permaculture principles that we use on our smallholding - no point in trying to push water uphill!

    Pomona x

  19. I share all of your gardening habits. Glad to know I'm not alone! Although, wrangling invasives is not my favourite thing to do...especially when it is bindweed...


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