I Planted, the Garden Replanted

April 1, 2012 b 036 (2)
It all began so neatly arranged and organized. (Photo: April 2012)

Plants were placed very carefully in neat rows of edging or perfect isosceles triangles and zig zags. There was open space between each plant as it went into the ground, measured to allow for the growth detailed on the labels and tags. Colors were well thought out to avoid the dreadful clashing. Blooming sequences were written on a chart according to month. (Photo: April 2001)

May 26, 2008 3) (2)
Time moves ever onward, and the garden planting began to shift according to the ideas of its own inherent design instead of those of the well meaning but naive gardener’s paper plans. Any idea of absolute control was soon discarded when wind, rain and serendipity regained control. All I could do was sit back and watch, pulling the occasional weed. Weed is a relative term, it has been learned. Just because I want a particular plant to grow in a certain place is unimportant to the greater forces of nature. Those forces choose what will grow where, rendering my efforts futile and temporary, at best. (Photo: May 2008)

Learning to obey rather than resist what nature has wrought, working with rather than against the lay of the land and the ever changing climatic conditions has turned the steeply sloping back gardens into masterpieces of wild mixtures. Groundcovers, herbacous perennials, woody shrubbery and trees have blended themselves and filled in every bare bit of soil. I make the minor cut here, the miniscule edit there, but it, the garden is now out of my hands. As it should be. (Photo: April 2012)


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25 Responses to I Planted, the Garden Replanted

  1. Valerie says:

    It is wonderful to see how the garden filled in over the years and is now a riot of color. Valerie

    Hi Valerie, thanks for visiting. It is when looking at old photos, as is often done in winter that the changes in the garden are noticed. The plantings have stirred and blended themselves in ways that I had nothing to do with, and I love it!

  2. Isn’t it a wonderful feeling to have a garden that has accepted your offerings and is growing beautifullly.

    Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping by. It does make for warm and fuzzy insides to look at the garden and see how it has taken my beginnings and made something nice from them, entirely different that my initial intent.

  3. Barbara H. says:

    It’s beautiful, Frances. Your description of it has planted itself seems kind of like life, to me. I have my thoughts and plans, but events greater than me shape it, too.

    Hi Barbara, thanks so much. I do believe that gardening is very much like life itself, and the older I get, the more it seems to be so.

  4. gail says:

    It’s pretty fantastic Frances and wonderfully beautiful. I love it and could spend days there and still discover new things to look at and gain inspiration from. You and Mother Nature have created a masterpiece indeed. xoxogail

    Thanks Gail. Since the garden likes to rearrange things when my back is turned, I discover new things every single time I go out there and really look carefully.

  5. You have been wise to make serendipity such a welcome resident at Fairegarden. She (somehow the feminine pronoun came naturally to mind…must be a reason for that) has been generous and artful in her contributions and has proven herself worthy of the partnership. However, your creative mind, judicious editing and guiding hand has made Fairegarden the delight it is….hmmm, that is so true for the blog, also.

    Hi Michaele, thanks for your kind thoughts. It does seem that Nature is female sometimes, if not all the time. She is sort of bossy, so that does make sense. HA

  6. jean says:

    Hi Frances,

    It is amazing to see how once again, we think we have a handle on our gardens and plan and plan and then plant only to find Mother Nature knows best and moves those plants around until she has them the way she wants them. It will be hard to leave my 20 year periannual gardens and start over, but as long as I get a bit of the plants that were given me by people that are no longer on this earth and get them started in the new garden, it will flourish. They have been moved twice so one more time probably won’t hurt them! They will be the “elders” of the garden and get all the new plants adjusted in the right place so that it too will be a “calm, serene place to hang out and enjoy nature’s beauty. You and Mother Nature have outdone yourselves. Now it is time to enjoy.

    Hi Jean, thanks so much for sharing your story. I agree that your passalong plants will guide the way for the younger set in your new garden. I have plants that have been moved several times as well, they are the most special things growing in my gardens.


  7. Layanee says:

    Mother Nature is the perfect editor, don’t you think? Love the color especially when all is stark here.

    Oh yes, Layanee, I do so agree. It is humbling to see how Nature has taken over here, despite my protestations, and done such a beautiful job. My vision cannot compare to hers.

  8. gardengeri says:

    enjoyed your post!

    Thanks, Geri!

  9. Marcia says:

    I know just what you mean. My pond garden is way past my control. The water irises had other plans in mind and the cattails? Who invited them to join in anyway? Not me. I will do a bit of taming coming early spring but there’s no controlling it on my part.

    Hi Marcia, thanks for adding in here. I love when plants just show up to the party, uninvited. It keeps things interesting, doesn’t it?

  10. Karen says:

    I love your blog… please never stop posting 🙂
    Makes me want to get outside and work in my gardens.

    Hi Karen, thanks so much for those kind words. I am honored to be able to write the blog posts, and even more so for anyone to read them. Working in the gardens is so fulfilling, may we always be able to do some kind of work out there.

  11. A fabulous message to go with the flow of nature…and we can use your stunning gardens as a wonderful example of how it does work!

    Hi Donna, thanks for stopping by. Go with the flow, yes, that is the message. When I look at what Nature has done out in the countryside, where the tractors have left the ground alone for a while, it nearly brings tears to my eyes, so much beauty and bounty.

  12. Lola says:

    Whether planned or natural your garden is lovely. I do enjoy seeing it through your camera lens. I can only dream how beautiful it would be in person.

    Hi Lola, you are sweet, thank you.

  13. You have achieved wisdom as a gardener. It is much more enjoyable to simply give in and let nature take the lead, but it requires your initial vision and artistry to lend nature a hand to end up with such a glorious result.

    Hi Barbara, thanks for that insightful comment. I spent many years fighting Nature by pulling her plantings and trying to force my own vision on the land. Now I know it is way better to follow her than lead.

  14. Cindy says:

    Frances, that first picture is just breathtaking, as is your garden!

    Hi Cindy, thanks. That photo makes me smile, even though it is out of focus. I think that is what I like about it, the garden as a blur, always changing, always moving.

  15. Alison says:

    Your top picture of the organized garden does have a certain soothing quality to it. There are some gardeners who would have worked constantly against nature to keep it that way, but the work required to do that would have been not so soothing. So I’m glad you didn’t. The organized chaos of the stairs in your last picture is lovely too, so lush and colorful! I don’t remember noticing your concrete swans before. They’re great!

    Hi Alison, thanks for your insight. I did work constantly for many years to try to regain control of the plantings on this steep slope, especially the step risers. The initial planting was various creeping thymes, which seemed like a good idea at the time, or thyme. The ajuga was the first to infiltrate, and I let it, then the creeping jenny came across from the other side, then a little weed called creeping Charlie came uninvited. I finally gave up and just keep those risers cut low to we can walk up and down them. I love those swans, too. They are difficult to plant, very shallow bowls, good for sedums.

  16. You are paying attention and observing. You are editing. You let the garden have more leeway, but you are still guiding it and it is your touch that makes it beautiful.

    Hi Kathy, thank you for those kind words. Sometimes my attention is on another part of the garden and things happen that are a complete surprise, like the seeding of the dianthus because I was too busy, or lazy to cut off the seedheads one year. Now I never even consider cutting them. Live and learn! My guidance is minimal for the steep slope now, thank goodness!

  17. You do have an exceptionally beautiful garden. I have had a similar experience with plants and I have come to feel similarly about the garden’s self adjustments. My garden reminds me of those historical maps of the kingdoms of Europe as they change over time, except these are dominions of plants.

    Hi Garden IAC, thanks so much. What a good analogy, the moving boundaries of kingdoms to the way a garden shifts and adjusts itself over time. I spent many hours and lots of treasure doing the planting on the slope in the beginning. Many things have disappeared, but those that remain, and newcomers blown in have made it a completely different space. So fun!

  18. Good to see how the garden has progressed. Self seeders and plants with a mind of their own provide an extra dimension.

    Hi Green Bench, thanks for stopping by. When I look back at all of the things planted that perished, expensive trees and shrubs among them, it is realized how much better Nature’s design is than mine would have been.

  19. debsgarden says:

    The best gardens allow nature to speak. Yours is gorgeous! I love the tapestry of plants that have woven together in your garden.

    Hi Deb, thanks so much. What a wonderful idea about allowing nature to speak, and so true!

  20. sweetbay says:

    Don’t you love it when the garden does that, especially when it does it so beautifully as it has in your garden?

    Hi Sweet Bay, thanks for visiting. I do love to see a garden designed by Nature, luckily for us, such gardens are all around us in the uncultivated countryside. I try to study what is going on there, the mixture of plants, trees and shrubs, and learn from it.

  21. entwinedlife says:

    Thanks for sharing… gardens are such a rich way of learning life lessons.

    Joy! JaymeB

    Hi Jayme, thanks for stopping by. I cannot imagine life without gardens, and gardening.

  22. catharinehoward says:

    Frances isn’t that just it? The spectacular thing about nature is the overriding of the best laid plans. But then what blows in on the wind or shifts sideways is infinitely superior to any planting plan – as you so rightly point out. For that reason, gardening becomes addictive and perhaps squashes controlling tendencies.

    Hi Catharine, thanks for adding to the conversation here. It truly is, that nature plants in infinitely better ways than mere humans. We can make our lives so much easier if we follow her lead.

  23. Lynn Hunt says:

    I thought I’d planned out which plants and wildflowers would line the new trail we built down to the stream but Mother Nature has surprised me with some beauties including a grouping of wild coneflowers that appeared in September.

    Hi Lynn, thanks for sharing here. Wow to the wild coneflowers! Mother Nature is quite the designer.

  24. ron says:

    I think your “regarden” looks amazing. Sometimes nature just takes over. Wish I could make the land I own look half this green and beautiful. Keep up the good work!

    Hi Ron, thanks so much. I have put in quite a few hours to help nature along here.

  25. Christy says:

    Hello! I am new to blogging and have been looking for blogs that interest me. Yours really stood out!! The flowers in your gardens last year looked absolutely amazing!! The “look” of your garden reminds me of my garden. I love gardening and can’t wait for spring! I look forward to following your blog and hope you check out mine too!

    Hi Christy, thanks and welcome! Good luck in all things garden and blogging!

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