Monday, March 22, 2010
The work in the garden on Saturday was a bit overwhelming. I say "a bit" because I countered the weeding, planting, and mulch delivering with long moments spent sitting. When tired, I sat down on a local bench or step, and I just took in the garden.
This isn't called lazy gardening. It's called observing. Studying the plant, its growth, examining buds, flowers and stems. Seeing how the wind blows through the plant, how its color plays with its neighbor's color and texture. How scenes from one angle look different from another. Views and vistas, and the checklists that go with everything I'm seeing. "Prune that rose, see right there that tiny new growth? Prune right above that." The list is long. Especially this time of year.
During one of my observation moments this Saturday (also known as one of those times I was sitting on my ass while AdRi hauled a load of mulch by herself), I had an epiphany. Bleeding hearts. Bleeding hearts are a classic mainstay in a cottage garden, a style that heavily influences our garden. We have a huge stand of them in a back door bed, and last year, we planted another underneath the lilac.
As I drank some water and rested my feet, I admired the beautiful bleeding heart. It requires no care, and comes back every year, more beautiful than ever. It blooms for months, and its growth structure is open and airy. The foliage is lovely, and overall, the plant plays well with others. It goes completely dormant in late summer, allowing for summer classics to shine. I give it a little water when it's hot, but cut it to the ground when it's looking ratty in August. It's easy.
And that was the epiphany. Plant. More. Easy.
I've been thinking more and more about steering our garden towards lower maintenance. I love it out there, but a little less maintenance wouldn't be a bad thing. And bleeding hearts are on my list of easy plants. For the lazy gardener? No. For the gardener who wants to balance enjoyment and work in the garden. So I'm on a mission to find more plants like the wonderous bleeding heart. Easy, breezy, beautiful: bleeding heart.