Friday, June 12, 2009

It’s all wrong

I’m having one of those weeks where I look at my garden and I’m not happy with what I see, it’s just all wrong! It’s the first pause since spring blew into town with an explosion of growth and color. Take the Rhodys (above) their blossoms have faded they are back to being a green lump in the landscape, they were gorgeous for a couple of weeks and I got used it.

This area is a constant thorn in my side:
The peeling paint doesn't help, of course. I inherited the Hebes when we moved in, along with a large Rosemary shrub. The largest of the Hebe’s is dying out in the center, the Rosemary up and died a couple of years ago. We purchased the Trachycarpus fortunei. It went it in a pot because I was having a hard time with the placement and getting over the absence of the huge Rosemary, in the pot the small palm had more substance. We were supposed to put it in the ground later that year; it’s still in the pot. Now my rational is that when we paint our house (in the fall? In the spring? Soon!) we will also paint this wall, which is the side of our neighbors garage, and the palm will go in the ground then. Until then…I try not to look too close.

The Euphorbias are but a mere shadow of their former glorious selves as I finally cut the fading seed spewing bloom stalks off, boring:
In the back where a Euphorbia was (and still is – but the new growth is so small it disappeared) I’m waiting for the Colocasia and Banana to kick it into fourth gear to give height back to the space. But for now it’s all wrong.
When this mood hits I start mentally reworking things. Maybe it’s time to tear out this Euphorbia (I’ve got plenty of others) and get something new? Something with height and substance, perhaps another Tetrapanax like below, a current fav – how could it not be? look at loose leaves! Or I’ve been admiring a Cotinus (smoke bush) on my drive to work…maybe I need to take the plunge and get one of those?
Yikes what am I saying! This is not something I want to do right now. I just wrapped up all of my reworking/recovery from last winter’s destruction.

So I decided to stop by Garden Fever on my way home last night. I only had a half hour until they closed, enough time to look around and maybe find a “pick me up plant” but not enough time to get into real trouble. Well, the gods were smiling on me!! Look what I found:
They had more Colocasia Gigantea, the same fabulous monster plant that Megan posted about earlier in the week. I was green with envy at her find but now I have one too! Yea! Plant lust fulfilled.

So what’s your solution when you look around your garden and are not pleased with what you see (assuming this happens to all of us at some point, god I hope it’s not just me…) Do you just deal with it, knowing it will pass? Do you go to the nursery, buy more plants and come home and start tearing things out and rearranging? Do you pour yourself a glass of wine and try to forget about it?


  1. Oh, Loree, are we twins of the brain or WHAT???
    Ever since I came back from Lotusland, I have been SO dissatisfied with my garden! I just think it is too dinky - I feel like I've respected the traditional size limits too much. I want more BIG BIG plants - things that get all dramatic and in your face. I have some, but I MUST have more - so the way I deal with that desire is ... getting more.

    I've already planted clumps of otatea (the beautiful mexican weeping bamboo) in selected locations, and I am also buying a bunch of Giant Birds of Paradise to give some instant big-leaved gratification. I also have my eyes on some AWESOME tilt-head aloes. And I've decided that I need a bunch of vertical elements - big narrow columnar cactus. So I'm just going for it. When you have a garden jones, you HAVE to deal with it, or you'll go crazy! or is that just me?

    I wish I could just pour a glass of wine and not look too closely, but my desire is overwhelming!

    And by the way - your garden is BEAUTIFUL! You are seeing it with a critical gardener's eye ... I see so much color and texture and so many gorgeous plant combinations - your work is SUPER lovely! It's just that little pause between spring and summer that can make us a little antsy. Whatever you choose to do, I know it is going to continue to evolve and grow as a kick-ass garden!

  2. Oh you are so lucky to find Megan's Colocasia Gigantea plant.
    When I hate what I see I do both; head to the nursery and buy plants, then start drinking! Preferably red wine!

  3. Oh god, what gardener HASN'T had that dissatisfied feeling, Loree? Mine usually hits in the summer (i.e. now) when temps heat up, spring's beauty has faded, and it's much too hot and muggy to even think about actual physical work in the garden. So I spend a tremendous amount of time just staring at it, brow creased in critical thought---but now, in the new-baby garden, I'm doing all that thinking in the pool, and I can't tell you how happy that makes me. It was totally worth starting over with a new garden to have a place to get out of the heat of the Death Star and still be outdoors. ;-)

    Enough about my laziness in the pool, however. So after a summer of sketching and planning and plotting, I usually start fall raring to tear things out and start replanting. With your mild climate, I bet you can do that all year. What fun! I can't wait to see what you do to make these spaces better because, frankly, I'd be delighted to have any of them in my garden as is. You go, girl!

  4. Loree, this is that period in the year that you've described so well: spring is over and summer growth is not yet here. Your garden is absolutely lovely - you're just too close to it to appreciate how successful and lovely your decisions and combinations are. Of course as a designer you will always be looking for a better combination or a newer plant to set off the existing ones, but that's exactly what makes gardening the thrill (and frustration) it is.

    And it's a good thing your address isn't on your blog or I, for one, would be inviting myself to turn up to share a bottle of wine with you on your delightful patio (leaving my proto-garden on its own to do its maturation thing for the next several years.) That's my solution to the "it's all wrong" blues.)

  5. Hey, many pep talks here already but I will add to the chorus - WTF? Your garden looks like a magazine spread! Geez! You should see mine - messy messy weeds bad design previous owner monsters etc. Lord. If I even had one corner that looked so tidy and well thought out, I would be over the moon. Give yourself a break! Then go buy some more plants if you feel like it (good call on the smoke bush, they are so lovely and would maybe screen that garage a bit, but not be too hard to paint around), don't if you don't. I think you've set the bar pretty high for yourself and also with a fairly modern garden style (is that how you'd describe it?) the design is more rigorous so there is more pressure. I am lazy, so I let wandering plants come in and stay if I like them.

  6. I have the same feeling. I really need to just rip up the front garden and start over. I'll say this, when I get that feeling, I try to ignore it for a while, but the only thing that really makes me feel better is to actually take some drastic action. However, in your case, I think things look terrific, so not so fast for you. That stretch of black mondo grass with the hakonechloa and banana? Perfection.
    I should show you this tetrapanax I walked by tonight. I think it was on 8th and stanton, but I was being dragged by a 90 pound dog, so I don't remember exactly where. These leaves were crazy big. At least 2 feet across, but maybe bigger. I almost snuck in the back yard for a close up.
    I'm so glad you found that colocasia, I feel much less like a bad blog buddy.

  7. Karen, modern was my goal so I'll certainly take the tag, thank you. I really do need to find a place for a smoke bush, it's been a long time love affair. I appreciate your kind words too, the camera lies though you be here is to really see. Still, I do appreciate hearing that all these people whose gardens look so lovely (that is all of you!) sometimes feel the same.

    Megan, yes please. I need to see a Terapanax that is in its full glory - hoping that it will scare me because right now I want to put them everywhere! There is safety in numbers...we could sneak together. You are not a bad blog buddy! Oh ya...and perfection? We'll see how you feel tomorrow when you see it in person!

  8. "So what’s your solution when you look around your garden and are not pleased with what you see"
    I drink heavily until it all blurs together.

  9. OK something fishy is going on...I replied to Germi, Kim and Victoria, Pam, and Jane and now my reply is gone. Blogspot is not playing nice tonight! I'm sleepy so I'll wait and see if my reply is back in the a.m., before I do it all over again1

  10. is what I think I said...

    Germi, I can certainly see how Lotusland would do that to a person, especially someone who has the same climate. I can't wait to see what you create, although personally I would like to see more pictures of what you already have! I can't say that I know what a tilt-head aloe is, I'm going to have to look that one up!

    Kim and Victoria, we are of the same mind....definitely red! Thanks for stopping by - I need to go check out your blog!

    Pam, I love that you get to think about your garden while soaking in the pool! That sounds lovely. There are a lot of folks who feel that fall planting here is best. I embraced the idea last year and lost everything except the Tetrapanax. Last winter was extreme but still, it's kind of turned me off the idea.

    Jane, I like how you skip over the glass of wine and go right for the bottle, I'm going to have to look you up! You are right though, about constantly seeking a better combo or new plant. I guess gardening wouldn't be half the fun if things were static.

    Oh Deviant! Is that how you come up with all those fabulous combinations and wild plantings? I like it...

  11. Phyllis MooreJune 13, 2009

    What do Mom's know, but I think your gardren is wonderful. Why would you want to change it. Maybe so you can buy more plants. By the way thanks to all who idenified my mystery plant. I found it on line and it is a Plumonaria Roy Davidson : Lungwort. Mom

  12. Thanks Mom...turns out mom's are actually pretty knowledgeable - but you didn't hear that from me.


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