“Garden” in the most generous sense of the word, that is.

In the previous D.C. rodeo I tended to an expansive rose garden; and surrounding the deck in our back garden were peonies and lilacs that I nurtured. We’re talking dinner plate sized peonies. Seriously.  Beyond that, it was all no-maintenance decorative grasses and the ginormous 60+ year old azaleas that had commandeered the front corner of the yard. I had no time, and even less interest in annuals or fussy perennials. Who are these people that choose to dig up and replant flower bulbs every year, anyway?

I successfully dodged most gardening in Vienna. The owner of the building our flat was in asked if we wanted them to remove the eight mature lavender bushes from the garden and I practically screamed, NO! Harvesting the lavender and sharing with our neighbors and friends was exactly my level of gardening.

The Tennessee house sat on an acre surrounded by more than 60 mature trees, so nothing grew beneath that canopy. My gardening extended to filling the terrace containers with brightly colored geraniums in the spring. That was followed by nearly a year’s reprieve from gardening during our time in the inside-the-Beltway “luxury” flat. I couldn’t even gets birds to visit the feeder on our balcony, much less grow something!

We are now once again owners of a home with, thankfully, a small yard. A small yard overflowing with all sorts of cra-cra. You name it, Seller has it planted somewhere in the yard. Hostas? I’ve discovered at least 30, none of which are organized in any meaningful way, and many of which desperately need to be split.

What is even going on here?

Or here? The mulberry tree on the left side has slime flux, so we had an arborist come to render a proper prognosis. The tree is going to be fine; it just needs a healthy pruning before winter.

Gladiolus, a perennial that I truly loathe, bursted forth with flowers in all corners of the property seemingly by the hour for a couple of weeks. At their peak bloom I had three vases with these wretched flowers that never seem to stand up straight. Our neighbor kindly informed me that these bulbs need to be dug up for the winter and then replanted. Right. 

Day Lilies, which I loathe even more than Gladiolus, are clustered around the mailbox at the street, now just gangly stalks of green (with gladiolus mixed in, of course). The Town has street, sewer and sidewalk improvement plans on the calendar for spring, so that mess will take care of itself.  Encroaching on the driveway is this hot mess of Black-Eyed Susans; Gladiolus 🙄; Yarrow; and Violets, I think, all being choked out by False Indigo. Much of the False Indigo has since fallen over and broken off because planting it there was not a smart idea.

And on it goes. A poor azalea is duking it out with something iNaturalist identified as “Astilbe” beneath the mulberry tree; Dahlias appear suddenly from amongst the weeds; and Virginia Creeper and Clematis are waging their own war on the split rail fence between our property and that of the neighbors, but once the new fence is constructed that matter shall take care of itself, too.

The side “garden” is the most miserable of all because it is the one I see most frequently, though the garden could be worse. Seller asked if we wanted her to plant runner beans to climb over the trellises she had in place; our neighbor shared a photo of the nightmare we could have been in for had we agreed. Dodged a bullet on this one!  In its current status this garden is just an overgrown mess of mums, purple stuff, and weeds. Soon it will be time to go scorched earth on the yard and transform it into something much calmer.

On the bright side, there is a lovely Crepe Myrtle on the side of the house, so not everything in this jungle is a disaster.