A Gardening Ooops

Anyone can over-plant–by accident or design. In downsizing from a rural six acres to a town one-third acre, I forgot to think small(er) in the garden. After all, we had already taken 13 pickup truckloads’ of yard trimmings and debris to the vegetation recycling area of the landfill. There would be plenty of room to add the CA natives, Mediterranean, and other drought-tolerant plants that I love. I insist on color, too. (See “Color My Garden” a couple of posts ago.)  Although always impatient to put in flowers and shrubs, I drew up plans for the various “rooms” on the property and waited until fall before early Lav & Santoplanting. It’s smart to see what will pop up out of the ground following your purchase–like oxalis, mint, and borage!  Along the stone wall on the side of the house was thick, burned out grass and weeds with no obvious source of water. We got rid of that mess, amended the soil, and planted a long row of alternating lavender and Santolina. We also put in a drip irrigation line with one emitter to each plant. Next summer that strip would be a beautiful row of gray-green foliage with purple wands and yellow button flowers–a lovely designer color combination. But I couldn’t Flanders poppiestolerate the sparse look and the bare ground in between and so decided to toss among the plants “some” Flanders poppy seeds for bright red early spring flowers. Uh oh! The poppies were gorgeous–all the neighbors said so–but where the heck were the lavender and Santolina plants? I was certain I’d snuffed them out with so many poppies, which lasted for at least six weeks. I was sick thinking of the work and the expense of planting the lavender and Santolina. Finally, once the poppies were finished blooming, I pulled them out and, bingo, tiny  lavenders and Santolinas were still there, barely hanging on. They’re tough Mediterranean plants that need little water and lots of sun. And once the poppies were gone, they got plenty of the latter. Now in Lav & SantolinaAugust, the plants have had a growth spurt and look robust and  healthy after being so overshadowed by the 2-3′ tall poppies. They are happy one-year olds and by next summer will fill out to become larger mature plants. But here’s the thing–did I pull out the poppy plants before they spewed their seeds all over? When I prune back the lavender and Santolina in April, will the poppies take over again? Will I  have the same glorious poppy display and  wonder what happened to the lavender and Santolina? I must wait eight months to find out. But what I do know is when and if the poppy plants start sprouting, I am going to be brutal as I thin them out. It’s the only way! (This is what can happen when you buy bulk poppy seeds and broadcast them! Be careful what you wish for, as one of my wise Master Gardener friends once told me.)


About writersandy

Writer, Gardener, Crafter
This entry was posted in Drought Tolerant Perennials, Gardening and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to A Gardening Ooops

  1. VERY GREAT POST! The bed looks AWESOME and I love the stone wall!

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