May 10, 2010

Conquering My Collecting Tendencies



Did you know that all you have to do to avoid wrecking designs by collecting plants is to buy all your plants in multiples? Three, five or six at a time and you're cured! Wink, wink. So that's what I've been doing this spring. It makes me feel virtuous by design standards but my frugal conscience is squirming. Apparently I can't please both parts of my gardening personality at once.



The no-name asiatic lilies pictured above were calling my name over at Home Depot, so I brought home three, then nine, then three more little four-inch pots and planted them in clumps throughout the front yard. In the right of this photo you can see a baby chrysanthemum - I ordered nine of these from Bluestone Perennials this spring. Supposedly they'll grow to full size by fall - stay tuned to see the rose-colored blooms. On the bottom left you can see one of the five 'Rozanne' geraniums I brought home from my local nursery. Soon it will be covered with light blue-violet flowers. Two types of dahlias were also planted - six of one and twelve of another type. A few more 'Walker's Low' nepeta were added. And the 'Emerald Cushion Blue' creeping phlox count is up to fourteen.



Here is one of the twenty-four (BIG gulp) 'Big Blue' liriope (lilyturf) that I planted this spring. Six came from the local nursery, some of which were divided and two of which went into pots on the front porch. Bluestone had a half-price sale, so eighteen more were ordered from them. They're making good edging along the new front beds. Nope, no plant collecting in my front yard, just solid design. Finally.



I added six more 'May Night' salvias to the six already planted in the west flagstone path bed. Soon the six golden 'Stella d'Oro' and six peach 'Apricot Sparkles' daylilies will be blooming in concert with the deep blue-violet spikes of salvia. Oh, my beating heart - those colors will be sumptuous together. Then the lavender catmint will start, and the bearded iris in gold and violet, and the pink penstemon . . .



In the backyard, there's still some collectitis going on. But I sprinkled seeds of deep blue-violet 'Melba Higgins' columbine (about to bloom above) throughout the hodge-podge beds. Hopefully they'll tie the collector's corner together a bit? I've also edited those beds to include a mostly consistent palette of iris (German, Japanese and Siberian), peonies, roses and delphinium. It's looking less like a holding are and more designed! More pictures will come later when blooming starts.



I only brought home one of these 'Fire and Ice' hostas from Lowe's. Like I have any more room for hostas with two dozen different types already . . . but this one was so full and pretty that it came home anyway and will go into a pot for a while. I'll admit that there is currently no design involved in my hosta museum, but eventually they'll be divided out into a coherent scheme.



In other garden news, the lady's mantle is leafing out and holding water drops gorgeously, just like it's supposed to. This tough little plant didn't even flinch when the temperature dropped down to 26 degrees F last week. Much of the newest growth on other plants succumbed to the hard freeze, but the plants themselves survived and will eventually outgrow the damage. Phew. Happy Spring!

14 comments:

  1. Yes, You are going to be symmetrical and well-balanced and full of beauty and blossom this summer. I, on the other hand, purchase mainly one-of-a-kind. (This fall, VW, I will be dividing!) ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good for you, VW, you are an inspiration to onesies everywhere, me very much included! I'm sure it will look spectacular.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think you're right about planting them in groups to help stop collectitis. I'm trying to be better on the collecting, but still it gets the best of me sometimes. I was good though this weekend and bought 3 of each of two different types of Daylilies knowing they'll look better that way.
    Your garden is just going to be beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  4. All those pinks and golds will look great with the purples and blues. I really like 'Rozanne', and it's long blooming, so you gt to enjoy the pretty blue flowers for a long time. the light pattern on your Fire and Ice Hosta will really glow in the shade. I think your groups are going to look good.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi VW,

    Very nice photos, and lots to see! I can’t wait for more photos of everything in bloom :)

    I suffer the same illness it would seem… I collect, rather than design and I’m trying my hardest to ensure I now buy in groups of 3/5 etc… It’s a definite learning curve but it’s also something which comes with experience… For me, I suspect the cause was living in houses with small concrete gardens, so I always planted in pots – which also meant I could move my garden with me. So there was never any need to buy multiples because most perennials would fill a pot on their own.
    I’m also beginning to branch out into shade loving and creeping plants to cover those unsightly aspects of the garden – yet another lesson I’ve never had to learn! Oh and not to mention using shrubs too!

    So much to learn and so many beautiful new plants to buy! :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I confess to a tendency to be a collector...but after gardening for a long time, my onesies have grown to patches, swaths and groups anyway. It seems like sometimes that happens so fast! Or maybe the summers are just flying by. Great photos, I am sure your garden will look spectacular!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm not a collector, but since I research and trial what deer will not eat, I often have a few onsies and twosies. I try to plant those with their kind (agastache with different agastache) to avoid the lonely look. Sometimes, one plant is large enough. One nepeta 'Six Hills Giant' is so large that you don't need more than one!

    ReplyDelete
  8. More than one plant at a time sure makes for a lovely design. My cure for collectoritis though has been the fact that now I have to divide and move everything and have no room-it happened faster than I thought.

    I noticed your 'Purplelicious' post below. I have those same 'Banbury Ruffles' and love them! Mine are in shade so they don't multiply fast. I'm with you on the blues and purples, for some reason that is the direction I'm taking. Love all of yours!

    ReplyDelete
  9. You are my hero. I wish I could plant in pairs like you. LOL! Your lilies are just so pretty.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You have made so much progress on your garden since last year...it is just wonderful, and sounds like it's going to look beautiful when the plants are in bloom! It's exciting to always have something to look forward to when you visit the garden centers! I know the feeling well;-) Depending on what I'm getting, I buy singly or pairs/groups. With some native plants I've been adding, I get usually just one of each. Stuff for my front yard on either side of the driveway has to be the same for both sides. Well, at least it's a FUN addiction;-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. VW~~ I believe you've touched on the perennial [pun intended] quandary of gardeners/plant people. There's the irresistible need to collect vs. designing a pleasing garden. I think it takes lots of practice to get the balance figured out. Since, in this case, practice rarely achieves perfect, one has to keep buying and trying--a tough job but somebody's gotta do it. :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. So, you buy multiple collections? Brilliant!! Design wise it is better large sweeping paths of one plant variety moves the eye. Now, if only I can hold to that plan..........I am good right up to when I read someone's blog and see (for example) those lovely lilies at the top of the page.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I love your 'collection'. I love to collect, and not just plants ;-) I love the delicate shades of your lilies.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Your 'May Night' Salvia is beautiful and I love your photo of it... I too tend to collect and my designs so to speak have just happened. Your hosta photo is great too. Having six or more of one variety is as you say a good way to plant... rather like brush strokes in a painting. Hope you finally have warm weather or at least not freezing. Have a great weekend.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for leaving a comment! I have comment moderation turned on to catch spam, so your comment will show up as soon as I can read and approve it.