A Good Day to Be in the Garden


A very good day. Summer at its best. I ate my first summer nectarine and it did not disappoint. The weather is warm, breezy, not too sultry yet, and I’m smart enough to stay out of the height of afternoon heat. The sunshine, the breeze, the green grass. It all has me thinking about gardening.

I have to confess. I am an outstanding visualizer. I can imagine and envision the most amazing gardens. I love flowers. I love beautiful foliage. I love perennials. I have learned not to be charmed by voracious bunnies and deer. And don’t get me started on mosquitoes.

But I digress. The visualizations are sheer perfection. The actual execution…not so much.

The photos here document my most earnest attempts to establish a perennial garden of some beauty to approximate in my front yard what I can see in my dreams. It was nice. I was happy with what I planted. The little beauties did okay for me.

Here is the before photo, long view. You can just see the astilbe near the center that is pictured in close up above.

Before garden

Then I made a mistake, as I am prone to do, and planted an invasive ground cover. I admit my ignorance. I admit my impulsiveness when I am charmed by a little beauty in a pot at the nursery. So, I planted ajuga. Lovely ajuga, with pretty bronze and green leaves and gorgeous blue purple spikes of flowers.

Ajuga is the beast of the perennial garden. It is a killer. It is selfish and domineering and it just takes over and destroys lovely, civilized blossoms like my astilbes and those other charming pink blooming things in the photo. They are all gone. The ajuga, bully that it is, is laughing its way all over my front garden.

To make things worse, I’ve had some health issues that kept me out of the garden for a couple of years and weeds and grass moved in also. The ajuga seems to have welcomed its buddy bullies. Here is the after picture: a close up of the area where those beautiful flowers above used to live (with the addition of a bird feeder pole). I call it Decrepit Garden.

Decrepit garden


So I am taking action. Enough is enough. I am resisting. And hiring help! Smartest move ever.

My gardener Jim will help me banish the ajuga (I really still like it during it’s blooming season) to two contained, raised planting areas along the foundation in back of my house. There I will welcome them and invite them to run riot and be fruitful and multiply. Today Jim moved all the garden soil we brought in and spread it out in the two back planting areas and filled all my containers (for annuals) with soil leftover from that.

Tomorrow he will come back and start evicting the ajuga and replanting it in the back gardens. Yet one more day he will return and clean all the weeds and invading grass from my front perennial garden. And then, oh joy, some refined, civilized and quite genteel blooming perennials will be brought back and welcomed into my front garden. Astilbes, more bleeding hearts, perhaps some Canterbury bells and more columbine. Maybe hostas.

I can’t wait. I can see it all now in its sheer perfection. When it’s complete, I will take a photo and report back and you will all be incredibly forgiving and nod your heads and say, “Ah, yes. Progress, not perfection!”


5 thoughts on “A Good Day to Be in the Garden

  1. Jean – I’m sorry to say that you will have ajuga popping up in your astilbes for a couple of years yet, because of its underground runners. You may need some sort of herbicide (you can mix up an organic one) handy when you see the first signs. However, you’re learning what all gardeners know. It IS a process, discovering the perfect plants for the perfect area. It takes awhile. Good luck, and enjoy your beautiful new blossoms.


    1. Thanks for visiting and reading. So sorry the link was glitchy first time. Sometimes technology stumps me, but there’s always a work around.


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