What’s MIA in your garden?

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

I’ve been patient, but now I’m starting to lose┬áhope. It’s been a slow, cold spring, so I’ve been waiting and watching. “They’ll come up,” I kept telling myself. But they haven’t. And now I’m guessing they won’t.

I hate to admit it, but my shade garden took a hit. Could it be because we finally had a real Minnesota winter and I didn’t mulch well? Whatever the reason, I lost a surprising number of perennials. Some brunnera, a ligularia and a couple of coral bells.

I loved those darn plants. Especially the Jack Frost brunnera, with its variegated leaves and forget-me-not flowers. But after a couple trips to the garden centers, I’ve decided I’m not going to replace them. Hey, these are pricey perennials. And what’s to say the same thing won’t happen again?

Instead, I’m practicing survival-of-the-fittest gardening. I’m dividing shade perennials (sensitive ferns, European ginger, bloodroot) from other parts of my garden and moving them into the holes left by my MIA plants.

But I’m still bummed. So can you help me out here? By way of consolation, can you share of few of your garden losses? At least tell me I’m not the only one!

How do you un-garden?

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

My tomato seedlings sprouted their second leaves and are almost big enough to transplant into larger containers.

While I wait for the final frost date, I’ve been checking out the sunnier locations in our yard.

In the back yard, shade creeps over my raised beds around four o’clock. Last year, it worked great for beans, greens and cukes, but not so great for tomatoes and peppers.

In the front yard, we have a sad little butterfly garden (eh hem… thistle patch). Planted by a previous homeowner, it is woefully neglected by the current residents. The coneflower has overtaken the sedum. The decorative rocks have sunken into the ground. This spring, one tulip popped up — vividly orange and hopelessly lonely.

Obviously, a garden makeover is long over due. Plus, it gets full sun all day long, perfect for my heat loving veggies.

Should I try to interplant some tomatoes, peppers and herbs with the current landscaping? Or should I rip out the neglected plants and start all over?

What do you do with unwanted but perfectly healthy plants?

Is it worth the twenty bucks to get my soil tested?

What other resources do you recommend?

Basically, how do you un-garden?