Garden Time

“Garden Time”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana  


This week I have been off work and have had some garden time.  Because my daughter had gall bladder surgery Monday, yesterday was the first day I was able to spend the whole day working in the garden.  Just about every thing I have done has been maintenance type chores.  I have been cutting back many plants and shrubs that have become overgrown.  Yesterday, I worked for a long time on one of the beds in the back garden.  It had become so overgrown with ruellia and pineapple sage that everything else was being choked out.

It amazes me how plants can look so great together for a few years, and then, all of a sudden, they become thugs and take over.  The ruellia is a prime example.  I got some from my mother, and you can’t beat free when starting a garden, right?  Hers does bloom nicely, but mine never did bloom all that well.  But, being the eternal optimist, I kept thinking they’ll do better next year and kept them in the garden.  Last year I trimmed them back thinking that would make them bushier and maybe better bloomers, but no luck.  Still just a few blooms.

This spring, I am trying to put into the ground all those plants I have bought that are still hanging around in pots.  I have made some progress, and when I looked at this ruellia bed, I realized they were taking up too much valuable real estate.  So I started pulling some out, and before I knew it, I was so annoyed at these plants, they all came out.  I trimmed back the pineapple sage, taking out the woody stems and letting the new shoots take over.  This will be in the back of the bed, so a large stand of it will not be a problem.

I added some good soil to the bed and put in some daylilies and amaryllis seedlings that were growing in containers in one section.  I topped it off with chopped up leaves and then some pine straw.  After taking out all the ruellia, I found some lilies that I planted last spring had returned.  I don’t think I would have known they were there if I hadn’t cleaned out that bed.




I wish I could remember to take “before” pictures.  I always forget until it is too late, and everything is ripped out.  Anyway, here is the “after” picture.  The daylilies are to the front with the amaryllis to the back.  I think now that these plants can stretch out their roots, they will do very well here.

The question I have to ask myself, is why do I allow plants that aren’t doing well or looking good remain in the garden?  It is almost as if once a plant goes in, I just can’t bring myself to take it out if it is still alive.  When I first started gardening, I received a lot of free plants that were fine to fill up space then, but now that I know more about gardening and want other plants, I need to get rid of some of those plants or limit the space they take up.  Even the volunteers, that showed up and had a purpose for a time, need to be reevaluated.  I am getting better about this, but I think I need to become a little more ruthless and make some hard decisions otherwise I’ll end up with a garden of plants I don’t want.   I wonder if I am I the only gardener with this problem.


  1. Janet said,

    April 17, 2009 at 7:00 am

    I think it is because we can’t bear to get rid of a plant. I have a couple areas that are overrun with some thuggish behaved plants. I should take them all out….save one or two…but I guess it won’t happen this year. though maybe it will. It is hard to remove them!!

  2. catmint said,

    April 17, 2009 at 7:12 am

    Dear Jan, I am usually quite a nice person I think but when it comes to plants I have always been ruthless. If they don’t thrive, or they need watering, or I don’t like them any more, out they go. Usually they get a few chances by being moved around. Sometimes they don’t survive that trauma. So they become compost. Cheers, catmint.

  3. Brenda Kula said,

    April 17, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    That’s one area where I don’t have a problem. If it doesn’t look up to snuff I just yank it out. When it starts looking leggy, I start chopping.

  4. Jan said,

    April 19, 2009 at 6:10 pm

    Janet, I think you are right esp. when we consider how bare a garden looks when we first start out. I am trying to decide what is not performing and needs to go. I’ll take it one step at a time.

    Catmint and Brenda, I need you to come over to my garden and help me yank stuff out. I need people who can be ruthless.

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