Vatican BeeGardening Diary 2000

I have thought about starting a garden for a number of years now, but reality just seemed to get in the way; not having a yard was a problem, for example. I've had trouble keeping house plants alive, tried raising herbs from seed with pathetic results, and always remembered to water the plants a day too late.

Now a garden is not only a possibility, but a responsibility. We are now homeowners, with a front and a back garden to deal with. Since I have now managed to keep an avocado and two African violets alive in my office for over five years, I am feeling dangerously confident.

The front garden has a good number of legacy plants in it. The long green fronds, I am told, are day lilies, and the dark green rippled heart-shaped leaves on long stems are hostas. I also have a few struggling hyacinths that popped up earlier this year, and some mint that was on its way from one place to another. The back yard is more complicated: there are some overgrown roses, a weigelia, lilac bushes, and a host of unidentified plant life. I am afraid of pulling up anything (unless it is a junior box elder or goldenrod: those I know) iin case it turns out to be phlox, or some other interesting, legitimate garden dweller. John has set up a vegetable garden at the bottom of the back yard, behind the garage, which is looking good.

So far, as of the beginning of June, I haven't done much with the front. I have turned over the soil, dug out a large number of tree roots from the dying maple further down the yard, and moved the decorative rocks and stump around. The hostas and day lilies are at the back to the right, and the stump looks quite nice with the lily fronds hanging over it. I have put in some forget-me-nots, and my office mate, Charley LaRose, has thoughtfully given me some ostrich ferns and some lady's mantle as well. My mother-in-law has provided me with fuki, an edible hosta-like plant from Japan, and some orange marigolds. I have an awful lot of green, and need some annuals to brighten the place up.

The back yard has been hardly touched by me at all. I am feeling somewhat intimidated by the roses, although I have to find out what kind of rose my neighbours have; it is the most beautiful rambler, with the faintest touch of pink to it. I want something like that in the back garden too. The roses I have are also ramblers, and seem to be quite red. They are only just started blooming, and so I'm still learning about them. The back yard also now has daisies and a hops vine growing up to hide the nasty wire fence separating our yard from that of our next door neighbours.

John's forte is vegetables, and so I have decided to go the decorative route. The front garden is now my baliwick, and we are dividing the back yard.