This is how my house looks, these days. The house is basically done. The garden is basically a wreck. I have a long way to go — okay, an expensive way to go — to be able to grade, pull up stumps and replace topsoil, all of which are needed to make this place the garden spot it so thoroughly deserves to be. However I have staked out a few spots where I am planting anyway. So far things are not going too badly. Mind you, I started from not being able to grow rosemary just outside my kitchen door. The bar was set pretty low. So, bearing in mind that my idea of incredible results (“they’re still alive!”) may not be yours, let me show you what I found.
Garden centers here in Vendee have boxes of seeds “for difficult terrain.” Of all the seeds in the couple of boxes I have scattered around, these are the ones that reliably sprout. I think we are looking a nicotiana — the pink one — black-eyed Susans — the yellow one — and I don’t know, some orange thing.
Of the bunch, the orange thing is the best. It self-seeds, even before it stops blooming. Pretty soon it might take over this whole planter, which will suit me just fine.
Mr. France — if that ever gets shortened to MF you’ll know the relationship is over — is rooting for the hollyhocks. He thinks the house needs tall plants. I can see his point. They self-seed too, and are even out there breaking through the gravel and fighting with the concrete.
I even have a few actual garden plants that are doing well. I went through the David Austin rose catalog and found a few where they basically dared you to kill them. Even I can’t do it. Give them some water and they’re good to go. Of all things I have what look to be yellow crocuses coming up now, in September. I know the weather has been crazy, but still.
Once upon a time I thought I’d plant hydrangeas at the house. They’re pretty tall. My grandmother hated hers and still couldn’t kill them. There are new varieties and a couple of nearby nurseries that specialize in them. I’m a little nervous about being any more intentional about this garden, though. The accidental, super-low expectations strategy has worked pretty well. Maybe I should stick with what works.