Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This Can't be Normal, Can It? And an Ode to a Renowned Garden Designer

Pin It So, we bought this house knowing that a 100 year old home comes with it's own set of maintenance issues. We said to ourselves "Okay, well.... we are:  ready, willing, able, optimistic and are no strangers to DIY projects, so we can take this on. Wallpaper? Check. Painting miles of millwork? Check. Knocking down walls? Check. " Bring it, baby. Bring it.

As time would tell us, we were so smitten with the whole package and so in love with the
secret-gardenesque yard that apparently our eyeballs glazed right over THIS:

My nemesis. The Morning Glory. We have lived here just over a year-and-a-half, and we have had to do this type of major overhaul three times to date. I mean, who can keep up with that???

When I asked around last year about what to do with this mammoth of a problem, I was told to destroy the root system. I thought to myself "How am I going to even do that??? There are literally thousands of these vines everywhere and they are hidden beneath the other plants! How on earth am I going to get to all of them??"  But I trudged on, and ripped out what I could, bagged up 15 bags and to my utter dismay, had the giant overtake yet again a few short weeks later. I think I cried and sobbed and cried again and then fell on the ground and kicked my legs a bit, stood up and repeated the scene.  Back at square one. How frustrating.

So yesterday, after more kicking and screaming, grumbling and WWIII with the yard, pulling up thousands more of these things, I found out that I had not only wasted my time and energy by ripping them out, I also did the very thing that makes them thrive. What I thought was a problem has now exacerbated itself to monstrous proportions. The solution? An eyedropper and roundup on just the leaves. Never, ever rip them up. No way, that's what they LIKE. So you rip one out, and six sprout right back up. Gawd, I can't win for losing these days!

It's no secret that I have a gangrene thumb. A black thumb. Nowhere near a green thumb. See here. This is the only potted plant that I have, and let me tell you: The planter came with the house, has been in that same spot since we bought the house, and I highly doubt that anyone purposely planted the elephant ears in there.  I forget to feed my dog and cats sometimes, so watering plants hasn't exactly made the cut yet. What is that brick doing right there????? How embarrassing!

My botanical masterpiece (MW, I hear you cackling right now!) :

If you are in to gardening/landscaping at all, I admire you. I myself? I desire a simple, manicured yard with green, green and more green.

I LOVE the Australian garden designer Paul Bangay. I love that he is pared down, refined, simplistic yet his work has a strong point of view.  I just want to go and spend hours in his landscape masterpieces. I want our yard to embody this whole feel and as soon as I can get a handle on it's wild ways, I will be ripping up the existing landscaping and doing my best to imitate some of the boxwood palaces that he has created.  Now, obviously our yard is not a fraction as large as some of these places, but I think that boxwood hedges, a sculpture or two and a few strategically placed citrus trees in large planters will do me just right.

Photo via Paul Bangay

Photo via Paul Bangay

Photo via Paul Bangay

Photo via Paul Bangay

I would be in heaven if our yard looked like this! I would want to have people over all of the time, throw garden parties, do picnics. All of it.  So I'd better get cracking. Add it to the list of the 15,000 other things that we have to do around here! For now, let me go and bask in a few weeks of vineless freedom. That is until, victory is mine and I win this war for real.

Here are a few more images of ornamental boxwood gardens. I am always in awe of the amount of planning, the symmetry, the edited manner that a boxwood garden is arranged in. To me, this is the highest level of precision and the results are just breathtaking.

Till next time,



1 comment:

celeste.white said...

Oh, so neat! Exactly that adjective, in fact. You know I love it kind of messy but I can appreciate the artistry here. I also admire those gardeners who train vines to make patterns using wire and such. So patient and so beautiful the outcome!

And I love morning glories! But those look like a headache for sure, ma cher.