My vegetable garden has been somewhat of a disappointment this year. The tomatoes have blight, the cucumbers are slow, everything is 2 to 3 weeks behind because of the cool temperatures and copious amounts of rain we have had. The things that are doing great are my perennials.
The cooler temperatures have allowed me to begin a long, long overdue garden rehab project. Yes, new gardens are going in but one of the reasons for the new gardens is that there are so many things that need division in the old gardens. I have to say that it has taken me by surprise. One iris, planted about 5 years ago, yielded a garden full of new ones.
I’m never one to complain about free plants mind you but this is a little concerning to me when I look at what I have to divide. I dug up three plants yesterday, an iris, a balloon flower and a Stella di Oro lily. The iris yielded about 30 usable rhizomes, the balloon flower maybe three separate plants and the lily went from one larger clump to six good size plants.
The distressing part for me is the fact that I haven’t even begun to dig up the garden that needs to be redone. I’m not one to throw plants over the bank but foresee that happening. How many haphazard gardens are there from plants being pitched when the gardens are redone? (You gardeners out there know what I’m talking about). I have two of those right here. Daffodils come up all over the place now where they were thrown purposefully or accidentally over the years. Hostas, myrtle, daylilies, even Jack in the Pulpits. I prefer to refer to those haphazard messes as reserves for the day when I need them.
Yesterday I gave away half of the iris to a friend that was here in the morning. I didn’t give him a choice – I told him he could pitch them over his bank, I would never know.
This is how friendship gardens happen. Someone is dividing up their plants in order to have them be healthier and bloom better, they are overwhelmed with the number of unexpected plants they end up with, they force them onto their friends and family. That gives me a whole new perspective on a couple of the gardens that I always thought of as “friendship” gardens. Maybe all those special plants are really things that were being cast off and rescued by my mother, similar to things that have happened to me recently.
Regardless of how the plants have ended up in my garden I love most of them. Even if some were cast off from another’s garden renovation I look upon them fondly. Some of them have been here since 1968 when we moved here and my mother began gardening in earnest. To identify certain specimens with certain people in an aspect that I love.
So as the garden renovation continues I will be giving away a lot of things and hope that some years from now someone will say, “Oh I got that from Joanne in 2014 during the big dig”. For that reason I’m careful what I give away and make sure it is weed free. The last thing I want is someone cursing me out for some invasive species that I introduced to their garden. Although at this point irises are feeling a little invasive.