Please take pity on my black thumb.
Okay, it’s not really black. Still. I have, after all, managed not only to kill a cute little cactus plant some years ago, but I also apparently frustrated it enough to cause it to plot and scheme and finally find a way to puncture me with one of its devious needles before it finally melted into a pool of mush. (I shouldn’t have been lulled by its diminutive size.)
But a few years ago, I planted some gladiolas out front and was amazed at the mass of gorgeous blooms that decorated the house all summer. So I got a bit bolder, and put two rose bushes in the front, too. The next year, they burst the spring season wide open with 30+ (yes, I counted) fist-sized roses on each plant.
I couldn’t believe something I planted could actually produce such beautiful flowers. I thought I finally put an end to my horticidal tendencies. (I don’t know if that’s an actual word, but it should be.) But this year, the rose bushes are looking sad and forlorn, not to mention yellow and rusted and spotted all over. First I thought it might be black rot. Then I thought maybe an aphid attack. Then I spied Japanese beetles loitering around, the nasty goons. Now I think it might be all those and some other stuff just biding their time until their chance to pull an ambush presents itself.
My gladiolas aren’t doing too good either. Bolstered by the repeat blooms the following year even without digging up the bulbs, I left them in again the next year. Now there are significantly more leaves than flowers. It looks like I have a giant scallion bed. To make matters worse, the pesky chipmunks have managed to dig up just about every hyacinth and tulip bulb, leaving only a few daffodils looking quite sparse and friendless.
Oh, and four years ago, we planted a whole bunch of mums in every imaginable color, and those lovely little flower balls were such a happy sight coming up the driveway. And now? Don’t ask me how, but although the hardy little mums survived, they’re all the same shade of dark pink/purple. What happened? I planted an equal opportunity mum garden! Where did all the others go?
Are you feeling properly sorry and aww-shucks-y and there-there-y for me yet? Can you feel my black thumb tugging at your very soul, begging for some glimmer of hope in this dark brush otherwise known as my front garden? Can you find it in your heart and thumb and aching knee to help me?
Well, this time, I’ve decided to start from scratch. Yes, I’m pulling up all the gladiolus bulbs (every stinkin’ one of the 90+ ones out front). The daffodils will go too, but I’m looking to relocate them somewhere else because they’re still purty and I don’t want to hurt their feelings. I’m on a mission to find some friends to play with my monochromatic mums, and am debating the merits of attempting to salvage my roses bushes versus simply giving up on them.
I’ll post some pictures of the area I need to re-design, but in the meantime, I’m desperate for suggestions as to flower or plant combinations. Our area is zone 6, and the front gets a pretty good amount of sunlight (more direct light in the morning than afternoon). But I do have one side of the house that’s shady, and it can use some sprucing up as well.
I know beggars can’t be choosers, but just in case you’re feeling particularly charitable:
- Stuff that will repel chipmunks, deer, squirrels, rabbits, mosquitoes, and giant crocodiles will always be welcome. If they can also attract a platypus, then they’ve got a spot in my garden. I’ve always wondered what those weirdos look like up close.
- Given the whole gladiola experience, I’d rather not put something down that I’d have to either dig up every winter or divide every year. I know, I know. I’m a bum.
- I need disease-resistant plants. Come to think of it, I need to be disease-resistant myself. I attract enough germs and pests as it is. Must have something to do with bum-hood.
- Since we’ve already established that I’m a bum, and bums don’t typically have wads of cash to spend on plants every season, then I guess it’s safe to say that I’m partial to bulbs and perennials rather than annuals.
I throw myself at your feet hoping that next year’s garden will look more like … like … well, let’s just say I hope it will look a lot less like the thicket it is now. (Unless ‘tumbleweed nouveau’ is slated to become the next new chic look, in which case maybe I’m just a landscape savant.)
Until then, I’ll sit back and suck my black thumb until I figure out what to do with the mess outside.
Or maybe we can just move.
(Please don’t make us move. I still have unopened boxes from my last move four years ago. But that’s another story.)