when will this madness abate??? and rambling musings of garden mania

Despite short funds, tight times, meals of "garbage can from the depths of the freezer" (meals made with what I have horded in the freezer and that isn't freezer burnt and edible) I still find myself walking past pots at work that stick to my hands as I pass them, knowing they're reduced to rediculous prices and at the end of my short days since they have cut hours, I find myself needing a cart to carry my apron, my jug o' tea, my back brace, and whatever has stuck to my hands and has released only after I have paid for it at the cash register..........
I have come to the realization that I buy plants for several reasons. The first one is the obvious.........I want the largest, healthiest perennial that comes in the back gate. I also want to try something different (if there are different perennials) to see if they are reliable for me, my soil, climate and crowding.
I buy plants because it's a madness, and being true to my name, I have long realized that most of us who are truely smitten have come to terms that this is an obsession. That I call it madness is true enough and anyone who saw 60 minutes Sunday the 10th will attest that any form of gardening on more than the veggie scale teeters on the brink of obsession and wasn't surprised that they featured people who started out with just a couple of orchids and now have over 2700 of them....... or was that 27,000??? (There was that ONE guy who moved from New York and has a greenhouse.....)
Were I to list the different perennials tucked in and against each other on these steep slopes would baffle and amaze even me, but the list of who has died horribly BECAUSE I have tucked and crammed them against each other is even larger. That I long for more level land makes my soul ache sometimes. I want to have a level patch of sunny land to have a little veggie garden for my okra, tomato's, squash, beans, spinach, radishes, and berry patches. I have as you all know a slope that one needs a short leg and a long leg to walk level on, and I am grateful for that bit of land that I have to play with.
So here I am at work, grabbing up three pots of reduced white Angustifolia daisy petaled zinnia's because they're 25c for the quart pot and they just need to be planted in a larger pot or ground. Well, ground is out, I have no GROUND left.... a huge nursery pot is what came to mind because the next thing I spotted were the red mums with the yellow eyes that look like fat petaled daisies and I pictured the white zinnia's planted amongst them all together in the pot and I thought....... "hmmmmmmmm...... and next thing you know, I have three pots of these mums too.
The two pots of vagigated phlox for $1 was too much to pass up last week, and the 25c quart pots of moss rose for a pot for the scorching deck (where my best sun is and where the lion's share of the cacti, sedums, potted tomato's and assorted other madness sits crowding you out for standing space).
But I purchase plants when I'm depressed and need to fill a spot in me that needs to vent. I also buy plants when I'm ticked off at Squire......<g> it could be worse, I could be buying food and be as big as a house, or clothes........wait, I DO love comfy shirts and if I find something I REALLY like I tend to buy two or three of them since they're gone if I go back to get "an extra one in case I tear this one out in the garden". Those X-large women's shirts go quicker it seems........ and that's Wally world, not like I spend for one shirt what I spend on 5 of 'em.
But this madness will NEVER abate. Because today I got the new Dutch Gardens catalog for fall planting.........................and I remembered that I had some "no show's" in bulbs, which is really rare for even me, and on a whim I called them to comfirm that they were still going to replace them since they were fall bulbs too and I had to wait all this time for the replacements. I had tried brodaea and they failed miserably. Well they failed the huge nursery pot miserably. Mary Emma gave me the Lion's share of the bulbs when they came, and she planted her's in the ground (she HAS a yard to plant things in, on a scale that would satisfy ME for EVERYTHING, garden, berries, fruit trees, perennials, flowering trees, flowering shrubs, rock garden, sun garden, shade, boggy area.. she has it ALL..........but sadly because of her failing health at her advancing age, the weeds are taking more and more and I am unable to bring things here because they would disappear over here in the constipated fairy beds I have at the moment.
Not to mention that her's is a gently sloping yard on a cul de sac, where mine is a careening holler slope....
And I am NOT plugging in another sun loving perennial no matter how much I love and adore them until I redo the front beds. And I can hear you all saying in the background "sure, you've said THAT one before!!" but I now have a pest of a digging puppy that does this crap behind my back......like those two holes in the black cherry shade bed where the "taters" (woods hyacinths) that Beverly sent me from Virginia were planted. I only hope she didn't eat them, or if she did, they weren't poisonous. But finding holes that even I admire has convinced me that Sugar needs to be taught she can NOT dig in mama's flower beds or she will discover she doesn't have the freedom she loves that I allow her to have up here on the ridge. Gods I need a front yard for the dawgs to cavort in! sigh..........
So I called to inquire about the bulbs I lost and discover that Mary Emma has ordered me two sets of twice blooming irises and they're coming in September and I spoiled the surprise......and yes, they're replacing the Eye of the Tiger iris bulbs in October, but the Brodaea aren't available anymore this year, so they're going to credit me with the $27.95. And of the three Schubertii allium, one bloomed so they will send me two replacements. And one can ALWAYS find a place for bulbs.........but as badly as I would love to purchase new narcissus, I am resisting until I can excavate some of the western bed and sort the many bulbs that are remaining in there.
The most I might allow myself is to use the credit for a couple of choice bulbs that I can't get anywhere. And resist urges later on to purchase bulbs that come to the greenhouse this late summer..........
I will say that working around the annuals again has inspired me to play with pots even more. I find myself thinking about putting a pot of Little Bunny ornamental grass in a pot with a clump of blue clumping fescue and maybe a varigated lirope. Not that I particularly like lirope, but the varigated IS kinda neat, it's tough as nails and it even blooms. Little Bunny is a small grass, with fuzzy seed heads, and the blue fescue is whacky looking. I found a pot with one lone, unhappy clump of Japanese bloodgrass that escaped my eye (I didn't even KNOW we had gotten ANY bloodgrass in or believe me, I'd purchased a good, fat pot of it) that when I reached into the middle of the other pots, it lifted out of the soil and seemed to plead for me to take it home. I got it for a quarter and as I picked up the pot with the soil still in it that it had lifted out of, I saw that it must have been sitting next to a tri-colored sedum at one time, because there was a huge clump of it growing out of a crack hidden by the other pots of grasses.
Plucked that outa the crack, stuck it into a plastic bag because I knew it wasn't a weed, and I brought the two of them home and planted them in some good lean soil together and hopefully they have enough time to recover from the transplanting. The sedum will survive, the bloodgrass is debatable.
So the mums and white daisy zinnia's are in a tall, thick nursery pot that a bush came in, and it sits in front of the 3/4 whacked and mattocked forsythia I have started to pick on. I am determined to rid myself of at least ONE of these bushes, if I have to whack away at it until it tires of me whacking it with the mattock and dies outa self defense. It would go faster if I had a tractor with a chain to just pull the thing outa the soft gravelly soil. But persistant whacking with the broad end of the mattock has pounded and severed quite a few of the larger stubs. I still have the backside to whack away. And the pruners are coming out and I am retrimming the other one back again. I haven't decided if I even WANT these bushes anymore. They take up huge space in the only front and sunny portion of my yard and with the trumpet vine as a gateway with the zebra grass and crape myrtles on the left near the fence, you see the fig bed and the small line of plants at the edge of the bed at the corners. As nice as the forsythia's are, I no longer have the room for them, not as large as they get.
If I keep one it wouldn't be able to be a perfect bush anymore because I placed the fig bed too closely to it when I started my mad planting on this ridge 7 1/2 years ago.
Tucked between the two forsythia's I planted a rather healthy Lennei Magnolia a couple of days ago that I got for $5 (that's where the thick, tall nursery pot came from I planted the mums and zinnia's into). Someday I will laugh my butt off as I realize I was totally insane when I planted this tree in this spot. But it will be the main focal point once you get past the gate. One day that tree will gain a height and girth of 25 foot and it makes me laugh to think about this tree one day being mature. I might not see it to it's full potential, and things will change I'm sure with a few things.
But if I were to move, I'd love to hear the people wonder just what I was thinking about when I planted this beautiful tree in the side yard. If I am settled here for the duration (I actually hope so, I am so tired of moving about, and my settles have become longer and longer thru these last years) then I will have to deal with my total disregard for who is where.....I don't always think out what these things will do when they're mature. There is the fig tree just a mere five feet away for one..................and BOTH of these trees is planted not feet from the well. At least when we bought this house I cut down the small leafed willow. That would have spelled disaster with the well......
So now I sit here trying to come to a finish on this musing of mine. I tend to jump tangients, but at least it's all about gardening! <g> The madness will abate when I can no longer comprehend it. When I no longer am able to see the beauty in the flowers, trees and things around me. Even if I were no longer able to GARDEN, I would find a way to smell damp earth, to put my hands in it, even if it were just a potted houseplant. When I get to the point where I can't do that, and my mind is wiped of all love for all this I so much care for that gives me such wonder and happiness, then I will not be here. And even that makes me smile in my strange way, because even then I will be food for the flowers..............to make someone else smile at their complex beauty.
Thank you for the time. I appreciate that I have my gardening friends out there that know where I am when I ramble on about this stuff. There's no one else I can just talk about gardening like this with.
madgardener. Up on the ridge, back in fairy holler, overlooking English Mountain where my perennials are flopping about unfettered and free in Eastern Tennessee, zone 7, Sunset zone 36
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I know, I know, but what I've been doing in lieu of the fact that I have approximately 350 species in my garden that, I will make many more plants from the ones I have. I'm starting to get excited by the idea of large stands of things, instead of onesie twosie.
Many of my native plants self-sow, and I've found a garden center who will barter with me for compost or plants or anything else. I bartered with them a week or so ago. I brought them a flat of Palo Verde, botanically called Retama something...there are two...anyway, I got half yard of compost for it.
This fall I plan on gathering as many pods from red yucca as I can find (they're everywhere at banks, post office, etc) and grow them in the greenhouse. I am doing the same with some native grasses by division and trying my hand at rooting cuttings of even more rare native species.
Then, I feed my addiction in several ways. I get to be dirty all year long in the garden or greenhouse, and at the same time get plants or compost or whatever else I can barter for, for FREE!
For now, I have blinders on and that's that. When the fruit trees come in the garden centers, I'm planting a Mexican plum (mostly ornamental) and another peach tree.
To save money, I will make lists of plants I have to trade, and list plants I would like to trade for. I know postage is an issue with cost, but there are ways to do it. Join a garden club and invent plant swaps everywhere you go!
Till then, I also realize bills are not paid with plants and I have had to slow down and will have to stay that way. So, divide, trade and seeds will have to be my new M.O..
v

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Great imput Victoria. And I think that I am doing the same in my own way (I will send you a pic if you don't mind of the fairy masses). Speaking of wildflowers.....I have one called Swamp sunflower, that actually looks like a coreopsis on steroids with "marijuana like leaves" and in the rich raised soil I have (despite all the leeching of rains and such) it's well over 5 foot tall and this year it's EVERYWHERE. Do you want some seeds? The birds adore it in the fall. I think it's a native of Texas as we have some in common wildflowers to a small extent. But only small since I remember my friend Michelle having two TOMES of books on Texas wildflowers that I always wish I'd gotten when she passed away..... I never did get to go thru those two books and they were huge. I literally live on a slope with little direct sunlight until I cut down some trees and doing all this alone is starting to wear on me. Especially when I work like I have to. But somehow it will gradually get done. I have gotten better at ? housework? thru the years, maybe I will be better at gardening like I should. lets hope! maddie
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You may be talking about Maxmillion sunflower, which I already have! When Mark and I go anyplace there are plants, or watch any show on television, the standard is, "I have that, that, yeah that, oh and that..."
The best book on Texas native plants is by Jill Nokes. One of these days I'll buy it, but the library has it so I take it out all the time.
V

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madgardener wrote:

Tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and others can be grown in pots. We have cucumbers growing up a not-so-sturdy wire fence.
Janine
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