Posted in 2017, Front Border Garden, Planning and Design

The Blanket Flower Stays

Part of the border garden we’re making is an existing bed that’s been home in the past to mostly annuals, a few perennials and some years an herb garden. In assessing what fits well with the new design and what might be happier in a space in a shady breezeway on the east side of the house, one thing is clear:  the blanket flower stays. Gaillardia is such a happy camper and as long as I deadhead rigorously, it blooms like crazy from early spring into winter. I love its sturdiness and its singular focus on blooming.  Where it sits is a spot the landscaper assigned to one of the Nana Globosa Cryptomerias. Not gonna happen. I wouldn’t dare move this plant from what is clearly its happy place. Sometimes we marry someone who already has a family. Clearly, those kids (or mothers-in-law) aren’t going to be excised from your beloved’s life. We build our new life together around them, including and celebrating. And our lives, like the new garden with the pre-existing, sprawling blanket flower, may be both messier and much more beautiful.

Posted in 2017, Front Border Garden, Planning and Design

A Modest Plan

The genesis for creating a true border garden in front of the house was when we had our home listed for sale for a short while between October of 2016 through March of this year. While we didn’t have enough prospective buyers to get much feedback, one person’s comment struck a chord: “I expected to see some shrubs and flowers out front.”

I realized we needed help to create a nice look that also fit in with our location in the middle of a forest! It had me flummoxed for awhile. I’ve never hired any sort of professional for a landscaping or gardening project and was intimidated by the idea. Finally, I contacted a local nursery — Floral Tree Gardens — that’s been here since before the dawn of time, a good family-run operation, and explained my dilemma. Wonder of wonders, they didn’t seem to think it strange at all, and shortly I had an appointment with Tena, a member of their family to come out, take a look, and make us a drawing.


This little piece of paper turned into a tremendous help, even though Buck and I didn’t follow all of her recommendations, and opted to do the work ourselves. For example, we wound up with four globosa nana cryptomeria (Tena inadvertently called them arborvitae), but no lorepetalums. More on that later.

Bottom line: Inexpensive help is available. Being intimidated by the process (as I was for years) was unfortunate. Now I feel totally comfortable going to the nursery, snagging a golf cart and browsing the acres of wonderful plants. It doesn’t matter whether I come away with four shrubs or two flax lilies or simply some fresh ideas, snapped with my trusty phone camera; the folks are friendly and helpful.