June 28, 2009

Can You Have Too Many Flowers?

I was planting yet another wheelbarrow full of flowers. I do that a lot. A person passing by drove down the long driveway to chat with me. She jumped out of her car and exclaimed... you have too many flowers!

What went through my head, although I didn't say it out loud was... Really? Isn't that like saying that the sky is too blue?

And so it goes with those of us who dare to garden out front, in the open for all to see!

We live on 4.5 acres of land in a rural setting. Still, we are in a neighborhood and have to abide by covenants. If I could plant it up, the two acre grass meadow out front would also be filled with flowers. But, the grass must remain and it must be kept mowed per our rules.

The south-facing exposure of the front is great for full sun flowers, but during the summer and times of drought, it can be a harsh environment.

We have no backyard space for gardening. Our wooded area of 2.5 acres comes right up to our back deck. We built the house in 2005, so all the garden areas are young. There's still much tweaking to be done.

Sharing land with wildlife is part of the gardening equation. I've learned to garden with the deer. Everything outside our cottage garden fence has to be deer resistant. There's too much garden to use repellents, so I select accordingly.

I keep the birds and butterflies in mind, too. With both a NWF Backyard Habitat and a Monarch Waystation certification, all of the gardens include nectar, host and habitat plantings.

In addition to the front gardens, the butterfly garden wraps around the east side of the house. There is also a waterfall garden with a patio, as well as a fragrance garden with a dining patio, on the east side. Nothing has been done on the west side of the house, other than a few shrubs and perennials to soften the guest parking area. A dry stream garden was also built there to manage the runoff from the meadow and downspouts.

Inside the cottage garden fence, I grow full sun plants that I love, without concern for the deer. However, I've come to prefer the deer resistant perennials of agastache, salvia and monarda. I recently pulled out shrubs and added a mass planting of those right in front of our porch.

Too many flowers? After the spring and early summer rush of weeding, planting and gardening, I start to feel like I have too many flowers for one person to manage. But, as for how it looks... I still have a very long wish list of more flowers for the front gardens!

Story and photos by Freda Cameron for Gardening Gone Wild Design Workshop; June 2009
Freelance travel writer. My current fiction writing projects include a completed manuscript and several works in progress.

By the way, my name is pronounced fred-ah, not freed-ah. Thank you.

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