Friday, November 6, 2009

Too Many Straight Bladed Plants-Time for a Redesign & Blue Star Memorial

From In the Garden

Too many straight bladed plants? Can you have too many? This is how my 'Rear Sidewalk Garden' looked in May of this year. It is not too bad really, but when you look at it now can you see the problem?
From In the Garden
You don't have to look too hard to see it, that's for sure. The issue is with all the straight bladed plants-too many of them so there is no contrast and interest in this garden and other plants are crowded. Back in May the straight bladed plants were well behaved and actually did not look half bad, but now they don't look so good. They've had a really good year and have grown beyond their bounds and are crowding one another and other plants in this garden. Believe it or not these are not all the same types of plants. Starting from the left next to the peony there is a mystery iris, then gladiolus, scads of 'Lucifer' crocosmia, and finally an ornamental plume grass. Too much straight blade overload for me so it was time for a rework. I will not even tell you the story of how this mess occurred but it had something to do with trying to plant the right plant in the right spot-namely a sunny area. I forgot about the surrounding plants being the same type:( Fortunately the situation can be fixed rather simply.

From In the Garden
I dug divided and replanted the irises a bit further away from the peony. I'll be posting on them Monday because I need some help identifying them. I completely removed the glads and the crocosmia. They have found homes in pots for the time being. I then added a catmint plant and stood back to look at my work. I like it so much more now that most of the straight bladed plants are gone. I did leave the ornamental plume grass as a focal point in the center of the bed as a divider. This garden looks completely different on the other side of it but we'll perhaps save that picture for another post.

From In the Garden

What you don't see are the pink lady bulbs under the soil. If you look in the first picture you can see the foliage that looks pretty nice in May. The picture above actually shows the pink lady bulbs in bloom in July. They are a bit crowded and lost aren't they? Yes, it was indeed time for a rework and redesign in this 'Rear Sidewalk Garden'. Now that the straight bladed plants have been removed all the remaining plants have some breathing room and room to shine....

in the garden....

Any gardening design issues you are working on this fall?

Remember when I posted on the Blue Star Memorial Marker in January?
Monday marks the dedication of Clarksville's very own Blue Star Memorial Marker. All three garden clubs will be represented. The bugler and color guard from Fort Campbell will also be present. As a veteran of three wars and a member of one of these garden clubs (Beachaven) I am most proud this dedication has come to fruition. Many thanks to all who worked on the project in all three (Beachaven, Clarksville, and Les Candides) garden clubs. As a personal note I'd like to thank Peggy, Lola and Sandy for working on the project as part of the committee to plan the dedication. I'd also like to thank Lola's husband (Harold) for getting the bugler and color guard to participate. Hope to see you all there, Monday 10:30 at the Montgomery County Courthouse. Come show your support for the veterans AND the gardeners (us!) just in time for Veteran's Day.

Speaking of veterans, it is with great sadness we learn of the shootings at Fort Hood. I remember when this happened at Fort Bragg in 1995 (one killed and 20 wounded) and I can tell you it is a terrible thing for soldiers everywhere to think they can be targeted while on base and doing normal everyday activities. It is an especially horrific thing for these days in this time of war. Such a senseless loss for us all.


  1. Congrats on the memorial!
    Straight blades....hummm, I've not heard of that as being a problem but I can see how it is by your pictures.

  2. Hi Tina girl .. I see what you mean .. too many similar foliage structures .. I would be tempted to add some little shrubs to break it up .. but then I am always tempted by shrubs ? LOL
    I love those Pink Ladies ? what a gorgeous colour !

  3. I have this same issue in parts of my garden too. It's nice to get a nice combination of shapes. I think the first shot was gorgeous, so full & lush. :) I've been moving things about too.

  4. Dawn, It took me a while to see the problem myself.

    Joy, There is a 'Vanhoutte' bridal wreath shrub in this garden. You can just make it out toward the deck. There is a matching one in the garden across the walkway around the oak tree. It is little leafed and surely does break up the textures-especially when in bloom. I love shrubs.

    Thank you Racquel. I was going thru some pictures late last night when I came upon this. It really looks good in May but bedraggled now. Like all our gardens. Time for moving the plants now for sure. Perfect timing.

  5. A nice fluffy 'Powis Castle' Artemisia would love a home there I think! I have some heucheras that need dividing but I'll probably wait until spring for that job. My front sidewalk garden has become a little overgrown and needs replanted too, more evergreens this time.

  6. I have too much strappiness in my front garden. That's where the daylilies live. Other beds in this garden have little leaf syndrome and I keep adding bigger leafed plants to the mix!

    It was shocking to hear about the Fort Hood shootings...


  7. I had a place in my front garden had too many spires in it....looked messy. Still trying to re-do some areas of it.

    Our nephew is stationed at Hood, took hours last night to find out he was in fact at selection school at Bragg. (typical kid, doesn't keep in good contact)

  8. Hi Tina, I have the same problem in my garden. Iris, Siberian Iris, miniature iris, daylilies--not to mention the strappy foliage of tulips and narcissus in the spring... All increase quickly and soon there are just too many. This is something I needed to do last year and didn't get around to. Big overhaul next spring.

  9. Now, I have the other problem in one of my flowerbeds--too many mounds:) I know that for me, at least, I don't always realize how things will eventually look. I'm thinking about sun/shade, color, height, etc. It isn't until everything begins to mature that you notice the foliage similarities. Ah well, it gives you a chance to redecorate, so to speak!

    I read about the shootings at Fort Hood, too, just about the time I returned from visitation for our local soldier. You don't think about such things happening on American soil. Such a tragedy for everyone.

  10. My schedule is so busy I would like to combine my gardens and eliminate some to allow more time to have the ones I keep look better - when is the best time of year to do that? Jennifer in MD

  11. There are so many design issues with my garden, it would bore you to tears to delve into all of them. Biggest issue, finding a fence that looks good and keeps out animals.
    Such sad news about Fort Hood and I hope and pray that the families of those affected will find solace and comfort.
    I think today is going to be a sad day for me. Waste of make-up, they say. I have to go to a family friend's funeral this afternoon.
    Take care,

  12. Too many straight blades can become an eyesore, found out the hard way too. Congrats on the Memorial!

  13. Fling in some cannas. Big broad leaves break up spikes well.

  14. I know what you mean, I had the same problem, in the reverse, in my front yard. I looked around and everything was a knee high rounded mound. No variation in texture and size was really killing the overall look. I've been trying to add in more straight leaved plants to break it up. We need to take your straight leaved and my non-straight leaved beds in a bag and shake them up together to get it right.

  15. Tina, you so planted them there on purpose so you could take them out and plant them again. You like doing that dont you? hee hee. Ah the pretty flower in the July summer heat got me to not wanting the heat on this morning. Nip in the house and had to turn it on but your picture warmed me up a bit...

    Congrats on the Blue Star Project. I saw it in the paper and was looking to see if your face was among the pictured...

    We lived in Killeen (Ft Hood) when the Luby's Cafeteria massacre happened. I was a block away from the restaurant in my living room as the helicopters hovered above me. A scary thing for me to endure. Seeing this unfold on the news last night brought back all those horrible memories... Sigh...

  16. LOL, damn monocots! Seriosuly, I love straight-leaved plants but I understand your concern... I'm definitely going to need to think of some foliage shapes to accent all my yuccas in my new bed. I have my rattlesnake master planted very near Russian sage and that's a foliage combo I really like. Peonies are nice foliage, too, even after they bloom. :)

  17. We'll call the new syndrome "Tina's Straight Blade Overload" - good name for a cocktail, too. I'll have to keep this in mind when I plant my bulbs this weekend.

    Hey, I hope you'll post at least some of those 357 photos taken at your birdfeeder, Tina!!

  18. First of all I just love seeing pictures of your garden! They are really pretty and I love the rock edging.
    I've been noticing the same thing with too much foliage that looks the same in part of my garden. I actually bought iris to add some different foliage texture.
    Will you share pictures of the memorial?

  19. Dave, I almost added one in from another close by spot but changed it to catmint. Both are similar with gray foliage but I like those blue flowers. We think alike indeed. P.S. Now is the time to take cuttings for spring planting. I've finally gotten mine from Powis.

    Gail, Strappiness indeed. Now that is a perfect name for it. Much better than straight blades. It can be syndrome for sure.

    Janet, That is the thing with gardens-always needing a redo. I can't decide if I like this part or not. Glad your nephew is alright. Sometimes soldiers have difficulty keeping in touch.

    Marnie, Glad I'm not the only one. Irises sure do have a way of taking over. Have fun with the redo. Something to look forward to in the lovely spring.

    Rose, It is always one thing or another with gardens and they sure change in a short span. I can't believe the difference between May and now in this particular garden. Big change but we adjust. A good thing. So sad about the fort and our society indeed.

    Jenn, I think fall is the best time to rework and move perennials and woodies. It is when I do most of mine. Make sure the plants have a few weeks to get adjusted before a solid freeze. We here in my area don't usually freeze solid for the winter so I've even moved things in January with no ill effects.

    Rosey, I tell you I'd have to have some huge fences around my garden if I lived in your place but it seems there is no good solution. I just got back from walking and saw a stag and doe-rutting season of course. They were huge so I cannot even imagine how big the elk would be. A big electric fence? So sorry for the loss of your friend. Waste of make up indeed. Take care.

    Darla, Thanks!

    Nell Jean, They are there just on the back side of the bed and across the grass in the sunny perennial border. They are wonderful plants! Thanks!

    Megan, I still have those glads and croscosmia-too bad we couldn't get together and swap! I never find plant nuts around here that I can do this with-well maybe a few for you local friends-yes occasionally. I'd gladly shake them up for sure.

    Skeeter, Ha! Not! Reworking is kind of fun indeed but no, I like to plant for time and for design and not to rework. Someday I must be able to rest ya know. Yup, they did two big write ups in the paper. I had a background role that started when our club became federated and we began the project when I was president. Other than starting it, pushing for it and contributing I have not been involved. Annette and Helene started the whole thing for Clarksville and included the other two clubs. A nice thing that shows unity. No longer president and not on committees and not into the publicity so no pic of me. I'll be there Monday with some friends and maybe even hubby and Jimmy. Such a shame about the Fort Hood shootings.

    Monica, I hear you-between grass and these glads they take over the world! Artemesia is perfect with yucca. The gray shows off the green and the artemesia is usually evergreen.

    Jen, It will have to be a cocktail of grape juice and sprite-a perfect blend for me indeed. Not sure about the bird video. Too many pics though they do go thru quickly. I'm still working with that thing. Maybe next year.

  20. So true, we need to remember our veterans and the families of the shootings.

  21. My garden design problems are usually overcrowding. I just keep cramming things in together!

  22. Your backyard garden looks lovely. It's amazing how often sections of gardens need re-dos.

  23. You did great with your rework project.

    I have trouble finding large-leaved plants and dark leaves for full sun that are also deer resistant! I have too many small-leaved plants in my outer gardens. Large leaves tend to get burned in full sun all day long and want more water than I can provide.


  24. Great about the memorial.

    Terrible news out of Ft. Hood. It always makes me sad and angry when things like this happen. I guess for the families it makes no difference if they are military or not, but for me it just seems so much worse. To top it off the horrid person was a darn Major and was a psyc. Unreal.

  25. You always impress me when you explain how you remedy something you don't like. I always struggle with just what to do to fix it! Can't wait to see it next year~

  26. You own a gr8 space in & around your home.... I can feel.... It must be very kicking.... But yes, that comes with a gr8 responsibility of maintenance.... I love your I wish I could visit u... just to enjoy that space of yours... How I Wish!!!!!!!!!


  27. It is kind of like 'fall cleaning' isn't it? I don't like doing it, but feel so much better when I am done and I can see the results :)

  28. Good luck with the garden remodeling! I have plans for a lot of changes to my front yard in the spring. I feel a little apprehensive about how it will all work out, so maybe that's why I'm shirking my gardening this fall. The garden is just doing it's fall dying thing while I hang out inside.

  29. I can absolutely relate to this post. I usually call them sword-shaped leaves, but so many of my favorite plants - tough, low water, full sun, long blooming - that it is very easy for me to overload a garden with them. Nice to know I'm not the only gardener battling this syndrome. Should we start a support group?

  30. Hi, Tina, Congratulations on the Memorial! As a mother of a soldier, (82nd Airborn), and daughter of a soldier (Daddy was a Timberwolf in WWII), I appreciate your service to our country.

    The straight blades are indeed a problem, and sometimes they are really hard to dig. I have a couple of huge clumps of Bi-colored Iris (Morea), that need digging. I don't know when we will get to it, but soon. Maybe.

  31. You are so right about the Fort Hood incident. Completely senseless and tragic.

    Great project you've been working on. I see what you mean (now that you've pointed it out) but I bet it still looked pretty when in bloom? I feel like I lost the fall (when my daughter got sick) but that's okay, hopefully there will be many more falls for projects. I'm feeling good just to get my bulbs planted this year. Are you going to post pictures of the rework next season?

  32. In case you didn't subscribe to Skeeter's follow up comments, I want to thank you and your husband for your service for the country. I have been following the news about the shootings at Fort Hood. What a horrible thing to have happen!

    I enjoyed seeing the changes you made to your planting area. I wanted to move some things around this fall, but wasn't able to because of my knee and ankle injuries. I'd say I'm 97% healed. I'm planning on finding a different place for my Joe Pye weed and spiderworts. I want to get more milkweed plants for the monarchs.