Let me start off by saying that I have never been a gardener. I would look with envy at beautiful yards, edged, green, blossoming, arranged in wild perfection. I never “got” gardening. It was too unpredictable and high maintenance and required too much patience for me.
When you drove up to our house, it was pretty evident that we were “inside people” and I always felt like I needed to preface our house with, “just wait until you get inside…” When we put our house on the market last year, our realtor felt the same way. She put out an “I’m Beautiful Inside” sign in the yard. That’s realtor speak for, “It’s gets better once you walk through the front door. Don’t pay attention to the pathetic attempt at flower boxes, the overgrown bushes and the bald spots in the grass.”
As we’re nearing the completion of the inside of the house, though, and as the boys are getting older and enjoy playing in the yard more, I have found I want to spruce up that space. I want the outside of our home to be a better representation of the inside. I think also raising babies into boys has helped develop the nurturing side of me, which, as the fiercely independent sort, didn’t come naturally. I’ve always been annoyed with watering and weeding and anything that needed to be done over and over again, but now I’m finding rewards in it. I’m even fertilizing, dead-heading and trying to troubleshoot diseases and pests, which are huge strides for me!
So, I decided to get a few more plants for the inside of the house. I haven’t had live plants in my house for years. YEARS! I’ve gone to preserved boxwood, since it’s real and green, but it requires no maintenance. Well, my house is about preserved-boxwooded-out and, while I still love it, I’m trying to go a little more diverse with my greenery.
I bought some French lavender topiaries to flank the kitchen sink…
….some moss for the kitchen counter…
…ivy for the living room…
…and myrtle topiaries for the dining room table.
Everyone is still alive and green and even growing, so I am ready for more.
I ran some errands on Friday and decided to look for some plants as well. I bought a snowball (viburnum) bush and some herbs for the outside and some irish moss, thyme and a fern for the inside.
I did a little reading on Irish moss and it is meant to grow outside, but can live inside for a period of time. A set of six was only a few dollars, so I figured I would give it a try and move them outside if they start looking sickly.
I planted three in this ironstone footed bowl. Since it doesn’t have drainage, I lined the bottom with rocks and then potting soil.
I bunched the plants in together and then filled in the gaps with more potting soil.
We’ll see how long it lasts, but I like the way it looks at the moment.
I also potted some thyme in an antique English clay pot and an ironstone pudding mold. Another bit of Irish moss is tucked into an ironstone mug.
Here are a few tips for people like me, who are trying to be better with gardening and greenery…
- Know that it is a commitment when you buy a plant. It needs to be properly planted, watered, fed, pruned, etc., so it can thrive. I can’t tell you how many times I have bought plants, totally ignored them and then laughed about how terrible I was at gardening. It’s not that I was terrible at gardening. I just totally neglected to meet the basic needs of the plants.
- Keep the tags and make notes on what plants do well and which ones meet their demise. This is helping me already, with learning the variety of plants I have, so I can research how to best care for them and make them thrive. I’ve never even looked at the tags, so I most certainly planted something where it wouldn’t do well and then I’m starting over each year, because I have no idea what I’ve planted before. Now, I actually know what dusty miller, petunias and alyssum are.
- It’s okay if something doesn’t make it. A few varieties of flowers in my window boxes didn’t do well, but others have done great. I just replaced the ones that didn’t make it with another variety, to see how those do. That’s why keeping the tags and taking notes is important. Next year, I can buy only plants that did really well based on my notes from this year.
- Gardening is a learned skill. I always tell people that very thing with photography and decorating. There are certainly people who have a natural design eye or can make anything grow, but decorating and photography and gardening are skills, not inherent talents. They can be practiced and learned. So, I’m making an effort to learn.
- Talk to seasoned gardeners. I’ve been asking people who seem to do well with plants for tips, what kind of flowers they like, etc. I’ve also looked around for tips online. There’s a lot of great information out there!
- Scope out the neighborhood. Looking at what does well in your neighbor’s yards can pinpoint what will grow well for you. I saw a beautiful snowball bush in my neighbor’s yard, so I looked it up, found what plant it was and then bought one. Another neighbor has a gorgeous peony bush that’s producing dozens of blooms, so I’m planning to get one next year.
I’ll keep you posted on how my garden grows…