A 35-year journey has brought me to this point, this spring of 2015 with my gardens in ruins – weeds, volunteers, plants eating up space, plants that have been overwhelmed and plants that simply will not die.
Finally, in this second week of March, the weather has warmed and the snow is melting. I’m not so stupid as to think winter is over, of course. I’ve lived through April blizzards and hard freezes. But this is the time of year when people here in the Chicago area begin hoping for crocuses.
And this year, after two garden-years lost to ill-health and bipolar depression (which contributed significantly to the current disastrous condition of my gardens), I have my enthusiasm back. I’m ready to order boxes and boxes of new plants… but I can’t. Not this year. Not until the gardens have been cleaned out and I know what space I have where.
This house, when I bought it, was surrounded by tame, well-kept gardens. Seven years later, they are a wild mess. This is the year of renovation and renewal. And that’s a big part of what I want to share with you here.
Sometimes I’ll go into the past and talk about earlier years’ experiences. I plan to review mail-order catalogs and also tell you about the plants I do order – where they came from, how well they’re packaged, what condition they are in and, over the seasons, how they perform.
And it all began when some young vandals beheaded almost all the budding stems of a stand of oriental poppies. Furious at losing these flowers, I became a gardener.
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