Horses, Floozies And Whiskey---Oh My!  

Posted by Heidi in

Some of you have mentioned that you would like to stroll through my garden. Your admiration thrills me to the core but there can be no strolling in a garden that is a mere 400 square feet unless you take a little eyes-only promenade from the oh-so-remote distance of the adjacent window (same goes for the front yard minus about 200 square feet). The fact that 350 of those 400 square feet is cement, most of it pretty consistently pee’d and poo’d upon by the resident “bad-girl” princess-dog who is, as I write, sleeping off a particularly strenuous night of deeeeeep slumber, makes for an even shorter ramble.

Fortunately, I keep a number of plants in pots, a habit I acquired when our propensity to rent turned into a downright tradition. Most of my 13 rose bushes have been dragged from local to local (as we have an even deeper tradition of moving frequently) which is how, over the years, I have satisfied my thirst for roses at my fingertips.

However, we were so very lucky as to purchase our little cottage over three years ago, prompting me to plant many of my roses in the tiny squares of available dirt as well as to invest in (gasp!) perennials. Since I have long been an “annuals” (cheap, plentiful, frost-vulnerable, “I want it now”, floozies-of-the-garden blooms that give you instant results--sort of like “blue ruin” whiskey, but without the capacity to make you drunk) kind of gal, rather than a “perennials” (the more expensive flowers and plants one buys for the long run—responsible work horses of the garden that take time to develop and mature) lover, the pay-off of this trade-off (perennials for annuals, for those of you whom I confused) has been a very happy surprise.

To illustrate this point, I present a photo of my trellised arch as of August 2008.

See the tiny whitish-pink daisy plant at the base? (I no longer have the brain capacity to memorize the names of everything I plant but we waive that point. We do not press it. We look over it!) (Extra points to whomever can tell me from what play/movie/musical starring Kevin Kline that quote(ish) is from(ish).) See how sweet and petite it is? See, also, how my New Dawn climbing rose has only climbed as high as the height of the birdbath? Now take a gander of a photo of the same spot (different angle) I took in April of this year.

Little daisy plant is a huge daisy plant! My climbing rose has reached the top (and one month later is actually blooming!) Yeah. I know. It so rocks! The fact that, in my area, annuals such as sweet alyssum, lobelia, bacopa, snapdragons and nasturtiums just bounce right back in the spring, year after year after year, means that as the gardener of the household, I have pretty much planted myself out of a job.

In short, if you want to save on money in the garden as well as on fresh flowers to admire from within your four walls, perennials are the way to go, a lesson this floozy-lover took way too long to learn.

This entry was posted on Monday, May 11, 2009 at Monday, May 11, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

40 wise, witty and wonderful comments

Considering my entire condo is 950 square feet, 400 sounds good. Except for the whole cement part.

May 11, 2009 at 12:18 PM

That's why I said you have a gift. You make such a little area so beautiful.

May 11, 2009 at 12:22 PM

Kristina--my house is 1,000 square feet for the five of us and the dog! But I'm not complaining. Really. I'm not. Jami--thank you, sweetie!

May 11, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Oh, they really are beautiful. Unfortunately, we live in an HOA situation, where they tell us what we can (and, more usually, can't) plant. It bites. I love (and am a little jealous of) your beautiful flowers.

May 11, 2009 at 12:25 PM

Not only do I now have to have you organize my house but I have some great garden spots you can work on for me. Sound good? When can you come?

May 11, 2009 at 12:36 PM

Wow! I made it into the top ten comments! And I love your garden. You may not have a lot of space, but it appears you have turned what you have into a beautiful, relaxing place. Just seeing the pictures makes me feel better about life.

May 11, 2009 at 12:38 PM

It's beautiful, Heids! I love that the daisy plant has just decided to own the garden. I love daisies!

May 11, 2009 at 12:46 PM

I hated working in our garden growing up but now I can't wait to have a yard again so I can plant lots and lots of flowers. No vegetables!

May 11, 2009 at 1:09 PM

I love trellis. But my son would destroy it - he's still far too handsy for me to attempt anything like that outside of our house...

May 11, 2009 at 1:17 PM

Small, maybe, but still very pretty. I grow veggies, but have no flowers in my garden. Sad, huh?

May 11, 2009 at 1:39 PM

Hurrah for the Pirate King! It is, it is a glorious thing to be a pirate king!! (Thanks for mentioning Kevin Kline; that quote would have haunted me all day without the hint.)

And a glorious thing to make so beautiful your little patch of concrete. I invested in some dahlia bulbs earlier this year. I'm eagerly/anxiously waiting to see if we'll have enough sun/warmth this summer to get them to grow.

May 11, 2009 at 1:57 PM

Erin--they won't even let you have some pots out back? Really??? I would be so sad . .. Julie--umm, I still haven't recovered from my last trip to your noble state. I'm such a wuss. Joy--thanks so much! I have to admit, it does lower my blood pressure to have such lovliness to look at. Laura--yeah! It does want to own the place, huh? I'm going to have to dig it up and divide it or things are going to get a bit grim, I think. Melanie--flowers are so worth it! Veggies are only good for eating. Kate--I have known a few little boys like that. Good thing they weren't mine . . .I wouldn't be good with that particular challenge. :) Becky--I so would grow veggies but I don't have any plot of ground that has enough hours of sunlight. I wish I could grow some . . (I could probably do carrots, tho) Pam--I am SO impressed! yay for you! (I agree--giving Kevin's name was probably too much of a hint.) Dahlias are gorgeous! I hope they bloom!

May 11, 2009 at 2:23 PM

I plant perennials merely out of laziness. But to be honest I haven't really gardened for a few years and I don't see this Summer being any different.

In and Out for the Kline reference? Just a guess.

May 11, 2009 at 2:39 PM

Your flower garden is fabulous!

Another note on perennials, I noticed the big home improvement stores have BIG MARKDOWNS on their flowers and many perennials were 1/2 off already. I bought 9. They are a great invenstment, I hope I chose the right ones!

May 11, 2009 at 3:21 PM

It is the prettiest I have seen. You have a way of making the cozy cozy. Good job.

May 11, 2009 at 3:25 PM

I am in the midst of learning the perennial lesson as we speak!

May 11, 2009 at 3:35 PM

Awwww! It's so gorgeous! =) Come help with my yard! It really needs it.

May 11, 2009 at 3:50 PM

What a gift you have for beauty!

May 11, 2009 at 4:09 PM

It takes a tremendous amount of brain power to turn 400 sq ft into a peaceful moment. You have truly surpassed what any visionless person could ever dream possible. I love the general splendor of the garden. Kudos to you and your celestial spot.

May 11, 2009 at 5:03 PM

I love perennials, it's just I can't keep them ALIVE...
I was just talking about gardens with my mom yesterday, I really wish I had a pretty little spot (even if it were only 400 sq. ft.), but I don't and I won't for awhile, here's hoping for someday!

May 11, 2009 at 5:10 PM

you lost me at "plants in pots"... I'm honestly the world's worst plant/flower taker care-er of er.

Just saying!

May 11, 2009 at 7:00 PM

You have worked magic with a small space! I could stare out that window for hours!
I'm a terrible gardener. I usually just buy annuals in pots to sit around for the summer, then drag their dead, lifeless sticks to the street about October. I wish I COULD create something like this...we might feel inclined to spend more time outdoors~

May 11, 2009 at 7:25 PM

I'm a fan of perennials as well. Today I dug out all of my rose bushes in order to give my children the vegetable garden they have been begging for. I actually shed a tear. And now my back hurts... a lot.

May 11, 2009 at 7:48 PM

So cool, isn't it? I love how perennials come back out of nowhere year after year. Your little corner of paradise is so precious. I love it!


May 11, 2009 at 8:15 PM

I totally and completely admire your tenacity in moving potted rose plants wherever you moved. That is amazing.

I wish that lobelia would grow back on its own here. I have to replant. And I wish that it were warm enough for geraniums not to die in the fall.

We have marigold issues. I planted some by seed one year and they grow back each spring with a vengeance. They grow into bushes that dwarf my roses! They are like weeds!

May 11, 2009 at 8:48 PM

Heidi, are you familiar with the book/CD by Sandra Boynton entitled Philadelphia Chickens? Kevin Kline sings a Gilbert and Sullivanesque song on it called Busy, Busy, Busy. Lots of fun. I imagine your Little Guy would enjoy the whole album.

May 11, 2009 at 9:29 PM

Kazzy-I'm totally seeing the appeal of the perennials from the lazy point of view! Heidi--good point! Melinda--you could have a pot of something somewhere, right? I have had container gardens on balconies before . . . Lily--snort! I do some of that, too! Fiona--gasp! No! Really? What a nice mommy! Heatherlyn--the marigold thing was such a revelation to me when we lived in Colorado. Things just don't seed here--they come back but you don't have things spreading around like you do out there. Also, it amazed me how huge those kinds of things would get in just a few months! It was amazing! Pam--I'm not but it sounds totally fun! I just adore KK! Heidi, Jan, Carolyn, Rachel, Kim, Roxanne, Cindy--thanks for your kind words! I do love me my garden! Shelle--you have other talents. Good thing we can all go buy flowers, huh?

May 11, 2009 at 10:28 PM

you really should check out Philadelphia Chickens - it's hilarious :)

and I'm exploring the world of perennials... I was sticking with annuals for awhile because in Southern Utah they tend to last a few years anyway - but I want some Iris and Calla Lilies finally!

May 12, 2009 at 9:14 AM

Pirates of Penzance! Ahhh, the glory.

Your garden looks lovely. Perennials are definitely worth it. We must talk roses some day.

May 12, 2009 at 10:48 AM

Well, no matter what the space you have to work with --you make it beautiful. I just think Beauty is a part of "who you are".

May 12, 2009 at 12:11 PM

T--yes, bulbs are a whole new world! I do tulips but so far that's all. Luisa--we sure have a lot in common, don't we? Wendy--thank you! What an utterly sweet thing to say! I have to admit, I'm addicted to beauty like I am to sugar and chocolate--I've just gotta have it! There might not be sugar and chocolate in heaven but I'm pretty sure beauty will be! Yay!

May 12, 2009 at 12:52 PM

I know I should be looking at your garden, but I am still stuck on your puppy! soo cute

May 12, 2009 at 2:08 PM

Oh I love the little archway trellis thing and the flowers. So beautifuL!

May 12, 2009 at 2:44 PM

Absolutely beautiful, Heidi. It's one thing to be able to plant stuff that grows every year, but the composition of the area itself is really lovely. (and I don't usually use that word, so it has to be good! :)

May 12, 2009 at 7:16 PM

so pretty! i planted some tomato plants and chives today (and my mother's day marigold). i ant to get a pepper plant too. the problem with my yard is that it is so shady!! any flower suggestions for shade?

May 12, 2009 at 8:30 PM

Wow! Wow! Wow!

I stand all amazed!!!

May 12, 2009 at 9:49 PM

Oh, there WILL be sugar and chocolate in heaven.

May 13, 2009 at 5:49 AM

Wow. I love your arbor. I want an arbor. And some flowers. But I'd settle for anything besides dandelions, and morning glory taking over my lack of landscape.

May 13, 2009 at 6:30 PM

Spaz--she really is cute! Which is why I keep her even though she poops and pees and barfs on a fairly regular basis. Heather--me too! Barb--so sweet! Thanks! Crash--hee hee! Luisa--if you say so! Sher--at least you have a few less weeds!

May 13, 2009 at 6:35 PM

Of COURSE it's an awesome little space. I tell you what, I think I have a crush on you. ;-)

May 17, 2009 at 3:38 PM

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