Pretty; Pretty Costly


Yes, I should have dovetailed a couple more drawers this morning, but I wanted a few hours of doing nothing with woodworking, my kitchen or early modern drama (yes, I’m actually working on my dissertation again, and time is short for me to complete and defend it…terrifyingly short, in fact).

So this morning I dropped far too much cash on my other hobby: gardening.

My yard, for the aforementioned reasons, has been woefully neglected this spring; it looked sad…and a bit scary. I’ve had a climbing rose on a trellis and wires between the windows on the front of the house for the last decade. It was about 20′ tall, and looked just gorgeous in the spring, then again in the fall with a second bloom. But last winter killed it, so for several months I’ve had a 20′-tall dead thing climbing up the front of my house.

After many scratches, countless embedded thorns and almost falling out of a second-story window, I got the poor thing cut down, dug up and bagged for yard-waste pickup.

The house looks naked.

Whilst dodging raindrops, I replaced the late rose with a clematis that will grow (according to the tag) to 8′-10′ tall; at the moment, it’s but 18″ tall, with one lonely looking climber and a few blooms at ground level. Around it, I transplanted some Sweet Woodruff from the corner of the yard, and planted three Scotch Moss plants (I plant those almost every year…and almost every year they die. I never learn).

But the bulk of my time and money was spent on annuals and herbs for planters on my porch. I find it soothing to come home to lots of blooms and various herbs suitable for  helping to create a delicious meal. (I never actually use the herbs.)

There are still three pots to populate, and a scar of bare patch in the tiny yard; I want the Scotch Moss to spread and take over there. But it won’t, because it will die. Again.


And I suppose I did actually do a bit of woodworking; I cut back the ornamental cherry so the sun can get to my hanging baskets.

Except that there is no sun today. The rain is now coming down in earnest, so I guess it’s back to the books, the remaining four drawers or both.


p.s. I need a tallish perennial(s) to plant under the right front window alongside a puny, low-growing hydrangea (which might do better now that the rose isn’t sucking up all the sun and soil nutrients) and possibly some lower-growing something or others in front of them. I do only blue, yellow or white and don’t really like shrubby things. Any suggestions? (Zone 6, well-drained soil – that could use some amendments – and late afternoon sun.)

p.p.s. Yeah, I’m still planning to sell the place, but I figure the plants add curb appeal. And anyway, I just like them.

About fitz

Woodworker, writer, editor, teacher, ailurophile, Shakespearean. Will write for air-dried walnut.
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5 Responses to Pretty; Pretty Costly

  1. I’m no gardener myself but I’m trying to keep my house up to snuff. We recently went looking and found Foxgloves or Dititails:

    They’re pretty and come in white. I’m in Cleveland and I’m assuming they should be fine slightly down south (in Northside)…or the irony of geography.

    Good luck Megan.


  2. steveschafer says:

    I can recommend catmint (Nepeta), particular the “Walker’s Low” cultivar. It grows to 30″ tall, and about equally wide. Unlike most of my perennials, it didn’t die this winter, and it is one of a very few plants that the deer absolutely will not touch.

    • fitz says:

      Plus, the cats would have Insta-Bed® (I thought catmint needed full sun – but I could well be wrong.) I lost at least a couple of most of my perennials, but only the rose died completely. The rest of the yard just has a case of mange. I do, however, have spiderwort (tradescantia) enough for two (or five) should you want any!

      • steveschafer says:

        It grows bigger in the sun, but I have some in partial shade at the corners of our driveway (where they also get sprayed by salt in the winter), and they’re doing fine, if not exactly rambunctious.

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