Woman Proposes, Gardener Disposes

Yes, we have a gardener, more of a garden-clean-up-and-lawn-mowing person really. Just easier to say “gardener”. Anyway, he is a serious-faced young man, who takes the cleaning up aspect of his job a little too seriously. Clearly, he didn’t think much of the Gaura lindheimeri ‘Whirling Butterflies’ I’d planted this year. They were unceremoniously pulled out and the roots dug out with a vengeance. He said, he “thought it was a weed”. Which would have been a perfectly satisfactory explanation had the actual weeds been given the same treatment. He is a lot more benevolent towards those!

The two gaura (purchased from here) were planted this year, having received rave reviews on the online forums. They were all right. The 1 inch wide white flowers on long leafless stems were pretty. My plants seemed to have produced considerably more foliage than flowers though. I was somewhat disappointed to have them plucked out, but which gardener does not secretly relish the thought of yet more and newer plants to try?

Back to Annie’s Annuals, where gift cards are being sold at 15% off through the end of November. Alas, the gift cards are the physical ones, not e-gift cards. I couldn’t wait for them to be processed and mailed and then place my plant order. I ordered a couple of Dianthus plumarius ‘Hercules’ to occupy the places of the ill-fated gauras. I hope these live longer. The others are a lovely Campanula persicifolia or peach-leaved campanula, ‘Telham Beauty’; my first campanula, to be placed into a tight spot soon to be vacated by a struggling lavender. I also ordered a Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’ for a middle of the border position.

Still going strong in mid-November, blooms of Argyranthemum frutescens.
Argyranthemum frutescens still going strong in mid-November
Lovely colors and form

I have some lovely plants, profuse bloomers, very cheery e.g. red Marguerite Daisy or Argyranthemum frutescens I bought a couple springs ago from Home Depot. It flowers throughout the year, even in winter, and appreciates a good shearing and some compost and manure dug around it’s base after flowering. However, I don’t think the nectar or the pollen of this plant appeals to bees and butterflies; I never see them hovering over it. On the other hand, plants like the Aromatic Aster Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, another Annie’s Annuals purchase which has just finished blooming, always had a buzz of activity around it – a pleasure to watch.

Single blooms of Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, fall bloomer
Symphyotrichum oblongifolium, fall bloomer
Last few blooms of Symphyotrichum oblongifolium
Last few blooms loved by bees and butterflies

My garden is in the backyard and completely invisible from the front of the house; very few people actually see it. I feel little pressure to grow plants purely for GAAP – Generally Accepted Aesthetic Pleasure, and let my personal whims and fancies rule. Life in the form of the littler critters whizzing from flower to flower gives me indescribable joy. Declining bee populations are now common knowledge. Having the land and the means for new plants is impetus to grow those which provide the food these pollinators need. More and more of my purchases in recent times have been with this criterion in mind. Although, these plants usually flower for shorter periods than sterile plants and then quickly go to seed. That is an acceptable compromise.

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