Sunday, March 30, 2008

Plant Me a River

My latest design kick is to design some rivers into my landscape. Rivers of plants because actually installing a river in my garden would be out of the question for me. Actually, designing a river is not my latest kick, just one that has finally come to fruition of late.

Rivers can be planted with any type of plant and the plant need not be blue, as in the first picture of the Muscari armeniacum, aka Grape Hyacinths. I also like my river planted with 'Ice Follies' Narcissus, as pictured in the second picture. The daffodils look a little weak on the right side because they have recently been divided and replanted. I do this while they are in bloom as it works best for me so I can see the effect. It is probably best to wait until they are done blooming but dividing while the bulb is in bloom does not hurt the bulb. Be sure to add some bulb booster to the hole.

I have lived here for six and one half years. I have always envied the established gardens I see in various places. I could never figure out how to get mine that way in a short time on a limited budget. In the readings I have done I've found some information on how long it takes to establish gardens. Some estimate 3-5 years, some even longer. I set my sights on 3 years on the basis that a perennial sleeps the first year, creeps the second year, and leaps the third year.

Since I really started this garden in late 2003 when I came back from Iraq and was able to fully dedicate my time to the garden, I have gardened here intensely for about five years. When 2006 came and my garden was not established, I set my sights on the five year mark. 2008 marks five years and I can honestly say it is getting established. Done, no, but established and always changing still. So I am thinking it will take at LEAST five years plus to fully realize your garden's potential with fully grown perennials and design elements in place simply based on what I have done. Remember though, I do garden intensely so if you do not garden as much, it may take longer. I only say this to hopefully help others to avoid disappointment when the magic number comes and goes with little observed progress.

The last picture is of Chionodoxa luciliae, aka Glory of the Snow. I love this little bulb. I planted it in 2002 on a built up hill on the southern side of Mr. Fix-it's garage. The area is seriously neglected and grows nothing but weeds, mainly moss, wild strawberries and who knows what else. Each spring this bulb rewards me with tons of small wildflower like blooms. The foliage actually emerges in the fall, just like with the established muscari. I divided these bulbs this year and planted a new river along the lower edge of the hill. Whenever I divide bulbs or anything really, my rule is to move the plants only within that area. I don't know why but it works for me to add to the fullness of the gardens. I look forward to a nice 'river' growing here next year.

in the garden....


  1. Good morning Tina, I love your river of daffs – what a great idea! How funny to find another Mainer in cyberspace gardening of all places! Your family is more than welcome at my blog. I love hearing from home while I’m so far away.

    I’ve enjoyed poking around your blog. You were a lobsterman as well as a gardener? It sounds like you’ve stepped out of the pages of the novel (S.A.D.) I’m revising now.

    I have some questions for you or your family about a gardening scene in my novel. I’ll add it as a comment to my post Rousham: A Secret Garden. It’s hard to remember a Maine spring while in England.

  2. Good morning Tina! You know I love the daffodils:) Looks like a pretty decent day albeit foggy out this way this morning. My sidekick and I will attempt to spread more mulch while the other kiddos are at Sunday school. I hope the rain stays north of us today:) Catch you later!

  3. Sorry, I posted a dead link above. I'll try again:
    My gardening question is in the 5th comment on that post. Thanks!

  4. good morning all!
    sarah, i responded but i honestly don't remember specific blooms in maine in june-that is hard! my mother and sister can help more and add some in. your book sounds cool, i will have to check it out. S.A.D it is called? published already?

    anonymous, looks like the rain will hold off. have fun spreading mulch. i have to 'plant' some stepping stones-about 100. i have a post prepared explaining. ttyl

  5. Hi Sarah,
    I am Tina's mother and I live in Harpswell and I just spent 3 hours looking at your blog. Lotta nice pics of my town and I will say hi to Bobby and Marolyn. However I am an implant but married a Harpswell man and my 4 daughters all went to Mt. Ararat and when we still lived in Brunswick had them in Coffin, Longfellow and Jorday Acres at various times. Indeed it is a small world.

    Tina there are also pics of young David Merryman (Dick and Karen's son) in his boat and coming in to the town landing at Potts Point, Allen's at Lookout Point, Bobby and Marolyn at Bibber's Lobster.
    I only know of 2 Bobby Bibber's.
    The father and the son. Also did you read enough to realize that her second book, "S.A.D" is after S.A.D. 75 and Seasonal Affective
    Disorder. Neat huh?

    Gee where is everyone today? Good ole faithful Anonymou is here but so far that is all. Anyway when you all come on today I say hi to all.

  6. Tina,

    The rivers are a neat idea. You could have all sorts of ideas to utilize that concept! Foliage and flowers etc. I'm not sure how long it takes to establish a garden only, that a gardener's work is never finished. I think it is also dependent on the time you have to contribute to your garden and the money you can spend on it. Five years might be a good target.

  7. I too am doing soemthing similar. I've a low spot inthe yard. I thought abouta dry rock bed that would fill when it rains, but then I thought why make a rain garden river of sorts with some moist loving iris and such? A path splits it in two places, but I think in a few years the idea that there is SOMETIMES a real stream there will come across.

  8. hi mom, sarah sure does bring back memories. i would've thought the s.a.d. for the seasonal affective disorder, not many folks would know of of school administrative district in the boonies in good ole maine. isn't it lovely this cyberworld? did you leave her some comments? i don't know any bobby bibbers, but there are a lot of bobby's and alot of bibbers so i assumed more than one. it is sunday, some people take breaks. i have been working in the rain and i am dog tired now. gardening is never done. what did i get myself into? i love it when it is done but never really done!

    right dave? gardens are never really done. i only mentioned the timeframe because this is like the first year the 'river' has showed up anywhere in my garden. like blogging, sometimes we want instant gratification and it took me quite a while to realize some progress in the garden and on here too!:) sometimes i find it hard to prioritize as well. blog? garden? blog? garden?

    benjamin vogt-hello and thanks for commenting. i think a river is just what you need-maybe a real one? with an arched bridge over it so you don't get wet. i do like irises though and i think it is yellow flag that grows like crazy. thanks for stopping by and i enjoyed your blog too-lots of philosophy and thinking? we all need that. about life again.

  9. Tina: I commend you for a 5 year plan. I've been gardening in the same place for 24 years and I'm still not done. HA. Of course you didn't say done... just established --which is a good plan. Established sort of creates the bones for the garden and then you go on from there for a very long and wonderful time.

    I like your idea of creating rivers with foliage and bloom. I guess I've done that and not really thought of it that way.

    I want to say thanks for serving in the military also. Our family is very, very thankful for folks like you.
    Meems @Hoe&Shovel

  10. hi meems! yes, you had it right-not done-just established. it has taken me forever. i am still not sure it is established. the average age of all gardens is about 3 years, but since some are older, and look good and i've gardened intensively for 5 years-that is my count.

    you have a lovely garden and blog. my sister lives there in palm harbor which i think is close to you. my mother will be beside herself finding so many in cyberspace with links. it makes you realize just how small this world is.

    i appreciate you thanking me for serving. it was a job for 20 years! hard to believe i made it but i sure am happy to get a little pension and time to garden now. sooner or later-it is back to work-per hubby. he is still serving, a recruiter. that is a hard job, i think the hardest in the army. anyhow, i look forward to reading more of your blog and maybe visiting one day if i ever go that way to see my sister. it would have to be in the winter since it is so hot and humid in the summer! no wonder your yard is shady. btw. i envy you the ruella. people here love it but it of course is not hardy. hard to believe it is so invasive down there.

  11. Tina you are too much. I got a chuckle out of your definition as to how a garden does--Sleeps, Creeps & Leaps. I really like the river in your garden. It looks so natural. I could see part of privacy fence. Looks good. I, like Anonymous, want to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for you & people like you to ensure our freedom to garden or whatever we choose to do. Bless you for your courage.

    Anonymous I hope the rain stays away so you & side kick can get some more mulch put out. That's a job in itself.

    Hi Sarah Laurence, will have to check out your blog from jolly ole' England. Nice to have you on board. Lots of real nice folks here.

    Dave you have a great place to have rivers running through you gardens. Down hill would be perfect. Bury a watering trough at bottom & fill with more of the flowers. Good pic in my mind.

    Hi Jean, I'm here just been lazy today. I do something one day & look out the next day I'm laid up. Drats, I hate it. Real cloudy here today & turned quite a bit cooler. Makes me afraid to put anything out. But the bush beans I planted at the first of the month are looking good. Onion I set out a week ago are peeking through, what the squirrels didn't dig up. Only a couple.

    Hi Benjamin Vogt, welcome. Sounds as though you already have the perfect place.

    Hi Meems, welcome also. I've been here since '91 & I haven't got it down pat yet. Guess I'm just slow, plus I don't know what I'm doing. Guess sooner or later I may get it. I'll have to check out you site too.

  12. Hi Tina, we did it!! I spread all two yards full of mulch that we had --I still need 3 more yards worth to complete the entire yard. It is time consuming but looks great when it is finished. We also pulled out the tree stump from the white pine --our neighbor Mr. Mac helped us --we dug, hacked and chopped to get it out --took three of us. I wasn't doing the hacking just digging and putting pressure on the stump with the pitchfork. We all joked about how it tilted so bad but those roots were so established!! Amazing I tell you --and several tulips are open now --in the backyard and one new one that I planted in front by the mailbox --too exciting. Yes, it rained here today but we were outside since it was warm:) Have to get off here and get things ready for back to school tomorrow. See you later! Hi y'all and nighty night --although it won't be nighty night until I get the school stuff ready, lol.

  13. Hi Guys,
    My third year here was pretty good, I started alot of annuals and got my beds planted. Just today... I hung 2 prints of pressed flowers from that time period. Titled "our flowers" and "more flowers". Made good feelings. (my sister and mom must know why)
    Boy, I like the glory of the snow, kinda looks like spiderwort.
    Sara, lots bloom here in june, some hybrid lillies, peonies, roses-lots and lots of roses, iris (i think) and the list goes on.
    Anyway, tired, and must get ready for beddy bye. Goodnight all.

  14. lola, i wish i could take credit for the sleep, creep, leap saying. it is one that has been around a long time. it is true too. funny you mention the privacy fence. i have a post ready to go. now that i don't have the worry of the blog being deleted i prepared a bunch of posts ahead of time. i even have a raised bed one too with some of the pics you sent. thanks!

    anonymous, i thought about you today while i was working in the rain. did you get wet too? thank goodness it was warm. i never work in the cold and wet, but warm, yes indeed. it was fun-rain or not. we still need it. what color tulips? guess i was WAY off on my guess. back to school, yes. can't wait until it is over for the year. love the ease of summer.

    dawn, you must be really busy. we haven't seen you so much lately. is the mobile cleaned yet? do you have it sold? i am not sure about the good feelings your third year there. what does that mean? mom must know.

    do you like spiderwort? it grows wild down here alongside roads. i dug a bunch last year and hope for lots of flowers this year. the glory of the snow does look a bit like it. and i think it would do well up there no problem. you really must come visit so we can share! i don't think it will be up when i come up there.

    wonder how skeeter is doing? i haven't heard or i would tell you guys. ttyl

  15. Yup this thing called cyber world is just amazing, to the point that it boggles the mind.

    Tina you know who Bobby and Marolyn
    are. They own Bibber's Lobster and she was the Girl Scout leader when the twins were in scouts.

    Was'nt that really very nice of meems to thank you like that. Musy be a really nice person. I will have to check her sight out. Oh dear, sigh and sigh again. Just what I need....another blog to read.

    Well folks have a good day tomorrow
    and will talk to you all when I get home. Going to town tomorrow and lord only knows when I will get home. Have a good one.

  16. mom, i don't know the bibbers. i really don't many up there.

    meems is in the tampa area, close to joanne. small world, yes.

    mom, you really don't have to read every blog on here. it would occupy every single minute of every day. come to think of it....sigh. g'night

  17. Mom does not have a clue either. Give us a hint Dawn.

    I know you would tell us if you had heard anything on Skeeter. I am getting worried, poor girl. I thought she would be on for at least a quick second by now. Maybe the Saint if being doubly saintly and she is enjoying it. She is not usually on as much on the weekends anyway. Or maybe she if feeling great and out having a grand ole belated birthday party.

  18. Tina, did you know that the Rue Anemone is Tn wildflower? I didn't.

  19. What a neat idea. It really is a never ending process with gardening. I guess I've never really had one longer than 5 years though, maybe third time's the charm?

  20. Hi Jean, Dawn and Lola! You are all too much. I feel like I’m back home hearing you chat about the Bibbers and all. And yes that is David Merryman. His sternman’s from his wife’s family, but I think the lad’s off in some place like India with his church. Do say hi from me. Thanks for the bloom list too.

    Right you are: my S.A.D. is indeed for seasonal affective disorder and school administrative district, but I’ve created my own one with Harpswell and Brunswick. I heard at one point they had been linked. You’ll find a lot of familiar details in my novel. The plot and characters are totally fictional, but the setting is not.

    S.A.D. isn’t out yet because I’m still writing it! Then my agent needs to check it and find a publisher. From that point, it’s usually another year and a half before you’ll find it at a bookstore. It is a slow process. I will announce the news on my blog and website.

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  22. Lola, I keep forgetting to respond to your rue anemone question. I did not know until you mentioned it. I am not familiar with this flower. Dave at the Home Garden posted a website which has excellent pictures of wildflowers. The rue anemone is on there! Did you check out that website? And do you like this flower?