Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Gardens Gone Wild

I have a terrible case of "Garden Envy". I envy those people that have those beautiful landscaped yards with the perfectly clipped poodle shrubs and several inches of colored bark color coordinated to match their house of course.

My garden style however is totally different. My closets may be sorted by color  and my OCD in high gear inside my house but my flower beds are a totally different thing. I love that cottage garden feel. With roses tumbling over the sidewalks and violets peeking out from under the bushes. Chives mixed in with the daisies and peppers growing along the sidewalk to take advantage of the heat. Herbs out the front door mixed with day lilies and roses.

The downside to this garden is that every spring it must be chopped and dug and cut back into submission. Yes indeed girls it is "Gardens Gone Wild" .....

And some of my favorite plants are the most unruly! You might even say down right invasive if left to their own devices.

Have you ever smelled "Sweet Annie". A little Amish lady traded me this for a start of my Rugosa Rose years ago. And yes it still comes up every year from seeds that self sow. In the Artemesia family it is sometimes also called sweet wormwood. It has a wonderful sweet smell and when dried can be used for potpourri, wreaths and dried arrangements.  Although considered an herb I cut it in the fall when it forms small yellow bead like flowers and dry it.  The smell is wonderful so every year I let a few reseed and pull any that I don't want the following spring. The kids say it smells like bubble gum.  I was also surprised to learn that it has both antimalarial properties and is being research for it's anti cancer properties. However if you like nice neat gardens and don't like to weed this is not the plant for you .

I love the small purple blooms of chives. I originally started growing them to add to my food as a flavoring but fell in love with those little purple flowers. Just a word of warning if you let them go to seed you better like them alot. They will grow in between the stones of your walks and even in the gravel in the drive.

Years ago O Wise One's... Aunt Ruth,  gave me a start of her favorite plant. The Woodland Columbine. Actually a native plant this makes little red and yellow flowers on a lacy small bush. The hummingbirds adore these blossoms and I allow a few to go to seed every year just to attract them. After they bloom I cut them down even with the ground as they tend to get mildew on the leaves if you don't.  If all the blossoms were allowed to go to seed I would have acres of these.

Woodland Violets bring back such fond memories of my childhood and gathering small bouquets of them each spring. What little girl hasn't gathered violets to go in her tea set or to decorate the table of that special tea party. It is a perfect centerpiece to go with mud pies : ) As an adult I still love the smell of these little purple gems the beginning of every spring. I also pull them from all over my flower garden by the hundreds. Put them in really fertile soil and watch them multiply. Just a warning ladies. Even knowing this I always leave a few behind just for next spring and those early first blooms. Now some enterprising souls coat these in sugar and decorate cakes with them or make jelly.  

A pot of this was a gift many years ago from a dear friend who later died of breast cancer. She definitely got the last laugh on me . This is a form of Yarrow ( Achillea millefolium var. rubrum). Now you can buy 30 ml of the essence of this on the internet for 12.95 or you can clean out my flower beds and I'll give you at least a ton of it. Pink Yarrow flower essence supposedly "imparts greater objectivity and containment. It teaches that true compassion comes from the heart which is in touch with its own spiritual strength. Such a person learns to give love that does not absorb, but radiates; that heals not by sympathetic merging, but by compassionate presence".

Hmmmm....maybe that's why I keep that or maybe it is the beautiful pink flowers that smell divine! Like mint, yarrow has an extensive underground root system that must be dug out and sprayed to eradicate or maybe just learn to love it...... 

For now I hoe, chop, weed and prune. Unlike most I find beauty in the lack of line and admire rather simple leaf or flower. I collect a hodge podge of plants some given to me by relatives and others by old friends. Some by neighbors and others carted across the prairie in a UHaul many years ago from the South. Each unique, many unruly but all loved. 

Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter


  1. Thanks for sharing your lovely garden. I have a packet of pink yarrow seeds. Didn't know it was so " prolific". Thanks for the warning.

  2. I love the violets and chive flowers too, I planted chives last year and didn't even realize they would come back and OH MY how they have, LOL!!!!! I can't wait to add those blooms to my simple tabletop bouquets:D

  3. I like your way, too. I could never do the neat ones like my brother has. :)


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