Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Post for Paula

Paula and I met through Freeshare (an offshoot of Freecycle) when I posted a WANTED: Perennial Plants post a few years ago. Paula responded “Come on over and let’s dig.” (You probably have a Freecycle chapter in your area. It's a great way to get rid of your unwanted stuff and get the stuff you need- and no money ever changes hands!)

Every beginning gardener needs a friend like Paula. I was setting up my shade garden in the backyard, and she gave me some divided lungwort, snow on the mountain and lily of the valley – all of them have taken off and become well established in the land of Pace e Bene.

Visiting Paula is like getting a gardening tutorial. She led me around her incredibly gorgeous garden pointing at each plant and identifying it. Then she’d say “You want some of that?” and I’d answer, “Sure.” Before I knew it I had bucketsful of roots, runners and seedlings. I wish my camera was working better on my last visit - I gotta go back and take more photos, but here are a few snaps of Paula’s place:

They turned the former site of their above ground pool into corn rows!
She’s putting her potatoes in a tire tower -- she has even more growing out back in some straw.
This amazing corkscrew tree is no longer putting out leaves, but Paula will be growing flowering vines on it. Strange and beautiful.
Isn’t this a pretty shed?

As you may have guessed, the plants in Paula’s garden are so comfortable that they’re not happy to stay in their corner. They’re out to make friends and claim new territory, often growing out of their designated spaces. Isn't it lucky I came along?

Paula likes to know how things are faring, and I promised her a report, so here we go (Please do let me know if I have any of these identies wrong!)

Trumpet Vine – I put the two red runners in a deck container along with the yellow one I bought.
One got damaged somehow and didn’t make it, but the other seems to be putting out new leaves. I know they may not have enough room, but if it climbs the arbor, I’ll be fine with it.

Foxglove – very content - sending up new leaves!
Forget Me Nots – appears to have taken root. Bloom time has passed but they're putting out the seeds. Catmint
– hanging out happily with the rest of the herbs.

Chinese lantern – wilted at first, but sprung right up again. .I thought that Paula said this was Datura, but when I looked at photos of it on the web, the foliage was different. Can anyone help identify? In any case, it's doing just fine!
Wild Carnation (?)– put out a few tiny blooms.
Lilies – were standing at attention next to my stargazers – that is until the deer came.
Now the tops and all the buds are gone. Oh well, at least the roots are intact and there’s hope for next year.

Paula thought this might be Horehound (?)– definitely smells like Root Beer! Looking green growing. Now, lest you think I am content to have the deer invade us, here is my current act of desperation.
It took awhile, but I finally found a use for those extra bamboo poles!

The Paulas of the world are special people. I'm not sure if I'm more impressed by her garden or her generosity. Maybe you know someone who’s been generous with their recipes or books? Or someone who’s taken the time to teach you some special skills? Do you have a Paula in your life?


Lzyjo said...

OMG! That is so cool! I wish I had a Paula! I really should join freecycle, I looked at it before, but never joined because I don't have a Yahoo! email address!

Joanne said...

What a great way to establish a garden, with the expertise and history of another successful garden! And I love her shed, it looks straight out of a fairy tale. Now I'll have to go out and give ours a onceover, see what I can do to give it some of this charm.

Anonymous said...

How very very special. It truly is a blessing when there is a Paula. She has a grand garden. What's she going to do with that many tomatoes? Love that her pool is now a garden.

And you my dear have a good chance of scaring the deer away. I know it scared me.

I have several Paula's and cherish each one.

I know you went book shopping today. ;)

tina said...

What a sweet and lovely post in honor of Paula. I think all gardeners need this type of mentor and gardeners are just the best for it! Her garden is lovely. I especially like the corn rows and tire towers. Too cool!

Brigit said...

It certainly looks as though Paula knows what she's doing...but you're doing pretty well yourself, you know.