Thursday, May. 22, 2008
Dear Diary:

The spousal unit has never liked my long perennial border. Never. Unfortunately, he doesn't speak fluent garden, so he can't tell me why he doesn't like it.

"It's just not pretty," he said to me once.

Not pretty.

Excuse me while I take a moment to pull the knife out of my heart.

Last summer, as things bloomed, I asked him about particular plants. "How do you feel about astilbe? Delphinium? Monk's Hood? Monarda?" I'd ask. He'd tell me that he liked each and every one of them.

That was helpful.

This spring as I was tearing the bed down, I had a little epiphany. I set up that flower bed to be seen from the house. He mostly sees it, though, when he drives up into the yard. He sees a narrow side instead of the length of the bed.


So as I tore the bed down, I re-arranged things so that there will be about eight feet of that narrow side bed which I will fill almost completely with annuals. The nasturtium seeds won't come into flower until July, but the other stuff should be very colourful. I'm hoping that will tickle his sense of pretty.

If not, well, I give up.

The spousal unit grew up in a household with very conventional gardens. There was a lilac bush and a flowering crab. His father planted a crescent of marigolds in front of the house and planted rings of impatiens under trees. There were some daylilies and some phlox. There were red geraniums in flower boxes. Neighbours up the road grew morning glories and nasturtiums. His notion of pretty is shaped by that.

Pretty to him is a solid chunk of unchanging colour.

Pretty to me is a lot more complicated. Pretty is subtle gradations of colour in a hosta leaf. Pretty is the two week blaze of red as my Astilbe 'Fire' explodes on to the scene. Pretty is watching things switch on and off in the perennial border, almost as if different coloured lights were turned on and off over the season.

He wants constancy. I'm willing to trade that for the fun of juggling plant heights, textures of leaves, flowering times and blossom colours. That's pretty to me.

I hope that if I create an island of constant colour at the end of the long border that he'll see every time he drives into the yard, then our notions of pretty will intersect.

If not, then I give up.

In other happy news, it looks as if I won't have to murder my azaleas. As my three loyal readers know, I bought some azaleas a few years ago and they did absolutely nothing except sulk. Really, you have never seen so much peevishness in such a tiny collection of twigs and leaves.

Late last summer I moved them to the north side of the house above hostapalooza and told them that this was their last chance. If they did not flower this year they were going to the big compost pile in the sky because I just don't have the patience to deal with moody plants.

Well, I see several big fat flower buds on both of them. Plus, the really big azalea I bought five years ago, which has never flowered since its purchase, has one bud. If we don't get a frost, then I will get flowers.

Azalea flowers. This makes me alarmingly giddy.

Some might argue that this has a lot to do with me following the counsel of my loyal reader Carolynn in Australia, who advised on where to plant them and how to feed them.

Me, I prefer to think that it was my creative use of threats.

Which reminds me, I haven't seen any of my new lilies emerge yet from the ground. Time to head outside and threaten them, eh?


Mileage on the Marnometer: 189.11 miles.

Going Nowhere Collaboration

Goal for 2008: 500 miles

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