Sunday, March 29, 2009

Camellia Sinensis Meets Master Gardener

Spring has arrived, and it’s that time of year when Dan & I stare at our yard, and discuss a game plan for the planting season. We yearn for a great looking yard- one that you can sit back and enjoy at the end of your day with a chilled glass of rosé in hand. Doesn't everyone strive for this? Wine time on the patio is just not the same when you are staring at dead plants, and weeds. A colorful array of plants or a patio that is tidy, gives you a sense of accomplishment. When your outdoor living space is not done, or overgrown, or “hodge podgey”- which is how I describe our yard- you feel frustrated, and grumpy!

This year instead of throwing plants at the yard, seeing what sticks, and what whithers and dies, we hired a Master Gardener to come over for a consultation. At 8am on Saturday morning, the door bell rang. There was Sue- with clip board in hand. My palms began to sweat; I felt like she could see through us, and peer into our souls. Thinking...these people haven't a clue about taking care of plants. But, she opened her mouth, and said, “Hey, you’re the tea man!” Yep, that’s right, we may not know diddly about plants, but we certainly know our Camellia sinensis, Drink the Leaf's mother plant. So, we offered her a cup of one of our best green teas- Organic Lu' An Melon Seed, and set out the front door.

Sue was wonderful. She complimented us on how our yard looked, and told us that the plants that we had were healthy and beautiful. She praised Dan’s pruning abilities. And then, she took out her pencil, tape measure, and got to work. With in an hour, she had helped us design our front and back yard. We will be removing only one plant, and moving two others to a more suited spot. She worked with what we had and inserted her recommendations, which resulted on paper ,a transformed yard, that we could not wait to see. The best part is that she gave us a list of plants that are easy to find at our local nursery, MidCity. I was impressed that Sue rattled off all of the plants by calling them by their Latin name. Thank heavens, she wrote them all down. And gave us a key of where each plant went in the diagram.

We spent the rest of the afternoon, researching our new plants on-line. This week, we hope to head to the nursery to view them in person. Next step, we need to convince someone else to plant them. No kidding, I am not doing yard work. Obviously, this is how we got into this predicament in the first place!

Check out our soon to be new friends in the yard:

Coleonema Pulchrum- An evergreen shrub with soft needles, pink flowers, that sways in the breeze.

Polygala myrtifolia 'Grandiflora' - Sweet Pea Shrub. -An evergreen shrub that grows 5 to 7 feet tall. Perfect for under our dining room window. Rich purple, pink flowers.

Escallonia Compacta- A small shrub with tiny pink flowers. We already have two of these, and we plan to plant a couple more to even out the landscape.

Viburnum Spring Bouquet- showy, clusters of pink and white flowers.

Lamium & Lithodora Ground Cover- Lamium is a low growing, trailing perennial. silvery white leaves, with pink flowers. Lithodora is low growing, with a beautiful contrast of bright blue flowers, and dark green foliage.

Gestrum Nocturnum- Night blooming jasmine. Need I say more? Perfect for under our bedroom window.

Gestrum Elegans- Same thing, but with stunning red flowers.

Sarcoccoca- low growing, with flowers, and stays green all year. This plant will brighten up our garden bed that is the veiw from our kitchen window.

P.S. Another great source and handbook is the trusty Sunset Western Garden Book. Ours is mostly circled and marked with the plants that did not make it through a growing season. Hopefully, we can can turn this book into a celebration of the "living", instead of an homage to all the plants that have been sacrificed in our yard.

No comments: