Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Organized Life, Disorganized Garden


Butterfly bush by the pond came home with me during the driest summer I remember, in 2007. It was a pathetic bush about a foot around and pretty much brown. I asked the owner of the roadside nursery if the poor thing was for sale or ready to be made into mulch. Not quite a bargain at $5.00, I felt sorry for it there, hidden in the back with two others just like it and too many other sickly, wilted perennials and herbs, left to die in the drought’s dust. Since that summer, butterfly bush has grown to my height but didn’t really become alive until this spring. From the bench, it blocks my view of the pond now but I’ll live with it.

I am not an organized gardener. As a matter of fact, I'm not even a gardener. In front of family and friends, I act like I know what I'm talking about but I really don't have a clue. Seriously. I should have foreseen that this giant butterfly bush would be sprawling across the pond in two years.


I purchase flowers on a whim and then think about where I want to plant them for about a week or maybe two. No pre-planning. I’ll even buy them without knowing if I have potting soil which is usually a problem. I’m always out of potting soil.


A flat of snapdragons were parked on the back patio in their tiny little flat sections for two months last summer. I watered them every day and finally planted them in August. These “volunteers” stayed green throughout the winter, under ice and snow, and bloomed beautifully a few weeks ago. They have since turned slightly brown and wilted and I don’t know why.

My life is so organized that every morning at precisely 6:26 a.m., I am plugging my hair dryer into the socket. At 6:45 a.m. I am lowering the garage door. And, without my daily check-off lists, I’d be lost and totally out of control. Everthing has its appropriate place in my home. Bedtime? I panic if I'm not sleeping by 10:30 pm on a weeknight.

Out in the yard, I lead a different life. I don’t think I would like the Zinnias and Impatiens planted in an orderly fashion, all lined up in a straight row.

This is our third spring/summer here in North Carolina. That famous three-year drought kept us from adding much to the gardens as it was too sad and dramatic to watch plant life shrivel up and die. Now, since this year has been wonderfully wet, I feel like I’m seeing deeper shades of green and flowers screaming color for the first time in many years.

So, since my gardens are overgrown and poorly planned, I’ll show some of what’s growing, both new and old, flower by flower. Maybe one day I’ll be brave, stand back with the camera, and show the mess I’ve made.


Calla lilies were dormant for two years.


I love the deep red Yarrow and


I won't ever have enough Lavender.


Wildflowers are multiplying, mixed with


Spiderwort. Yes, Spiderwort under the wildflowers :o/ I should fix that. If someone asks me what the name of that wildflower is, I usually make it up or say, "Oh, gosh, darn, it's on the tip of my tongue!"


Hydrangea bloomed for the first time in three years. I wonder why.




Brazilian Verbena will grow to five feet around. It’s planted in a good spot. Ahem.

With evening sun and after a rain shower,


it's my favorite time


to photograph flowers.

For the birds -


they are ripe now. Do birds prefer wild raspberries or store bought?
Speaking of birds, have you been enjoying the clumsy, silly juveniles clunking their little heads on the feeders?


I have.


Ruth said...

Since when do gardens need to be organized? What is more lovely than a meadow with its haphazard wildflower arrangements? Your garden is beautiful! (But where are the snakes hiding?!)

Cicero Sings said...

Lovely flower photos ... you do take great shots ... and show them so nice a big!

I'm rather higglety-pigglety about the way I buy and plant too. D reigns me in ... I can't buy if I don't have a place ready.

Diana said...

I would not want to live in the "pinchy" world of organized gardeners...ew. A garden is a place to be carefree...and with your schedule it's the perfect contrast to your day...relax and enjoy! It's all beautiful!

Wendy said...

I like your garden just the way it is! Your pics are gorgeous. I love that little bird. Happy Summer!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

The disorganized part of your life is quite beautiful. Don't worry yourself with organization. Disorganization works for you in the garden.

Carol Michel said...

I enjoyed seeing glimpses of your garden, Mary, and I think you might be a closet gardener. Really, most gardeners have a few pots and flats of flowers in a "holding area" waiting to be planted. And we buy plants out of sympathy for them, to give them a better life, a place to put down roots, so to speak.

Imagine me standing in your gardening taunting you with "Mary is a garden-er, Mary is a garden-er!"

Carol, May Dreams Gardens
(I know a gardener when I see one!)

Mary said...

Carol, "closet gardener" - only you would think of that... LOL!

nina at Nature Remains. said...

I vote for the "natural" layout, all a tangled bank and pretty much left as they fall. After all, flowers don't plant themselves in rows, so why should I?
But, living out in the country as I do, no one sees my wild array.
And, after struggling to keep the reachers from strangling the shy types, I've given up.
It's every plant for himself in my yard, I'm afraid.

Gardening takes a good deal of time!
Your flowers remind me of you!

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

My garden is a riot of mis-matched colors and I like it that way. No themes for me. Nothing manicured. Heck- I'm lucky if I weed!

Love your colors May.

Corey said...

It's 10:21, better hustle to bed!

Great pics, as usual. Love the baby Cardinal.

Q said...

Dear Mary,
Never enough lavender! I do understand that. I remember when you saved butterfly bush and now look how lovely she is!
How is the Rosemary?
My gardens got away a few years ago and now there is no way I will ever get control...the bugs love a wild garden! Anything for the bugs and the birds....

Robin's Nesting Place said...

At least your home is organized. My life is total chaos right now. No energy for cleaning or gardening. I'm overwhelmed.

We've had quite a bit of rain this spring too and things here have overgrown their space.

I think any gardener will tell you that perennials usually do have to be moved around and eventually divided. They will kind of take over, especially if they are happy where they are planted.

Rose said...

Mary, your garden is beautiful just the way it is! Although I don't have the skill or camera that you do, I tend to show mostly close-ups of flowers on my posts, too, so that no one will see the weeds behind them:) Each time I start a new garden area, I carefully plan just what I'm going to plant and where. But about halfway through, the plans get chucked, and I start plopping things into the ground willy-nilly. You are not a disorganized gardener; you're a naturalist!

Just wanted you to know that your last post was so moving...I can't even describe my reaction to it. It should be published!

dguzman said...


Anonymous said...

Mary Mary Mary, what a joy to see your garden awaken after that drought! The hydrangeas' blues are fantastic (our soil is too alkaline and always lean pinkward). And your lavender is just phenomenal. Not at all like the varieties I've seen here. Cheers to you and your garden.

jalynn01 said...

What a delightful post. AND! For someone who isn't a gardner you sure did know a lot of flower names!! Who are you kidding? haha Loved all your pictures and yes! those baby birds are entertaining and hilarious running into feeders and missing the mark.

NCmountainwoman said...

Even organized gardens should not look organized. The only ones that should look pristine are the ones on estates in which the flowers are grown purely to cut and decorate the house.

If you and the birds and animals love your garden, then it is perfectly organized.

Ahhh! How about this heat and humidity with thunderstorms every afternoon? We'll likely hit a new record high temperature tomorrow. Oh, and we forgot during the drought that much wanted rain brings tons of not-so-wanted insects. Yuck!

LauraHinNJ said...

Cut that butterfly bush back to within a foot of the ground in the early spring - that'll help keep it from sprawling so much!

Brazilian Verbena is one of my most favorite plants... it reseeds itself everywhere here, but the butterflies love it!

Beth in NYC said...

Your garden is finally able to show you its glory! The flowers are pretty and the calla lily photo is really, really good.

Mary Lee said...

These pictures are so beautiful...the glistening raindrops. Ahhh!

My hydrangea which has always bloomed white is a brilliant blue this year. Go figure!

I buy pitiful plants to rescue them too. Such suckers we are.

Susan Ellis said...

Hi Mary
I'm happy to be in such good company...I have two flats sitting out back at the moment - a mix of hostas and ferns and other stuff...just waiting for me to remember to pick up soil and mulch so I can plant'em! and your camera eye is amazing!

Heather said...

I love your disorganized garden Mary! Glad everything is blooming large for you this year. Is your Spiderwort planted or native? I have both, and I was surprised to find patches of it growing wild under a huge stand of multiflora rose. Love your baby Cardinal, too.

Heather said...

By the way, I meant to mention that I actually admire your lack of organization in the garden. I often try too hard to get things right when planting stuff (that's why I had to give up the veggie gardening!), and get upset when things don't work out as I planned. However, on the flip side, I do over-buy on the plants and don't always get them all planted, either b/c I don't have the room or b/c I run out of steam mid-summer. I have a very large swath of ground that remains unplanted b/c I haven't figured out what to do with it. Maybe I should try your "no rules" approach.
Okay, go get ready for bed. It IS past 10pm, after all. (Oh, and the year you started that first job of yours... that's the year I was born! Eek!)

Kathie Brown said...

Mary, Mary, you are NOT contray today! Oh, how I love your garden! I want that blue hydranga!

KGMom said...

Well, Laura beat me to the advice I was going to give--cut back the butterfly bush. You can do so every year, and thereby control the spread.
Actually, your garden looks the way true gardeners like to see things--colors and shapes intermixed. A garden should look like nature.

A New England Life said...

Now you and I are completely opposite. My life is a mess while my garden HAS to be organized! I cannot buy a plant unless I know exactly where it's going.

Gorgeous pictures Mary! Are you sure we have the same camera? Maybe things are just a little brighter in your corner of the world.

My next door neighbors Cardinal babies didn't make it : ( I had pictures of them on my blog but within a day or two something got ahold of them. Hopefully the parents will fledge a successful second brood. Never did see the Pileated babies either.

Good for you living on the gardening edge ; )

It must be almost time to shut that garage door . . . tgif!


RuthieJ said...

Oh Mary, I wish we could grow huge butterfly bushes like that here in Minnesota!
Your garden is looking quite beautiful this year. I love all the colors and variety of flowers and it looks like the pollinators do too!
Love that last shot of juvie cardinal.

Unknown said...

I love that hydrangea. When I lived up on Cape Cod we had one in our back yard. But in the winter it looks terrible.

Susan Gets Native said...

It's not disorganized, Mary. It's English know, a riotous mass.

I hate straight little rows. Ugg.

Iris said...

Looking pitiful is how butterfly bushes get us. The truth is they're virtually unkillable, which is one of the things I love about them. If you want more, they're super easy to root from cuttings. Sneaky shrubs, though. I've got a 6-foot-tall Pink Delight BB consuming my fig tree, and it started just last year as an innocent-seeming little 4-inch twig.

I always warn people that if they're gardeners of the anal type, they should close their eyes before entering my yard.

Tina said...

Well, if gardens have to be organized than I a big failure..I see, I buy, I plant ..and then I hope that this one isn't taller than that one...or vice so you are not alone. Your flower pictures are just gorgeous..and I love your choices!1

Richard said...

Thanks for these i love these hydrangea.... pleasant pictures...
Great keep it up...

Best Affordable Security Systems Suitable for Renters and Apartments, Business and RV

fmm said...

Ich wrde mich ber eine Zusammenarbeit sehr freuen, um auch Ihrem Pferd eine qualitativ hochwertige Behandlung bieten zu knnen.Hallo ihr Lieben,wir mchten euch gerne zu unserem diesjhrigen Voltigierturnier am 22./ 23. It was some scarring of his lungs,'' Lara said.

"If I Cheap Nike Air Force 1 have the opportunity to do it, then I'm Coach Outlet Clearance going to do it. And we're gonna get to the bottom of it.". Have declared thatunder their rulespassengers are entitled to refunds."Canadians should have the same rights to get their refund," said passenger Olinda Vieira of Toronto.

This information helps us monitor Jordan Shoes For Sale traffic on our website and app Yeezy Shoes For Sale so that we can manage the site capacity and efficiency.. NFL offseason programs have three Cheap Yeezy Shoes Sale parts, with limitations on what can be done during each. Carolina signed New Orleans Saints backup QB Teddy Bridgewater to a three year, $63 million contract and, finding no takers for Newton in a trade, released the No.

D'ailleurs, dans un moment d' incontr Justin Trudeau a accus le chef de l'opposition officielle, Andrew Scheer, d'islamophobie pour s' inqui du sort que le Canada va r aux djihadistes canadiens partis combattre en Syrie avec Daech et Air Force 1 In Store qui veulent rentrer au Canada.

It's hard. TheCTAhas suspended its complaint operationsuntil June 30 to focus on moreurgent matters during the pandemic. Which has some truth to it, as I would hate to see some of its designs on anyone older than the age of 8. "He is 6 5, 220 or 225 pounds.

James Griffith is trying his best. Right now, we've got the ability to communicate with recruits, and I'm sure other staffs are doing that throughout the country, because most of the kids aren't in school now anyway."Malzahn pointed to technology being the key to adjusting on the fly MK Outlet when it comes to recruiting during this New Air Jordan Shoes uncertain time..