Floral futility

When my parents visited, they bought a rose bush for Greg and I. A nice gesture, right? But we weren’t sure what to do with it. I should say that I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Greg always defers to me when it comes to gardening issues because he seems to think I have some expertise in this area (I do not).

Aside from a little flower garden in front of the house, our yard is an expanse of grass. I debated plunking the bush into a a big pot and leaving it on the porch, but I knew it would quickly outgrow a container. Instead, I hatched a plan to begin landscaping the backyard. Yes, there would be more rose bushes and native grasses and wildflowers, and soon our backyard would be a nature preserve!

So off we went to Home Depot, where all great nature preserves begin. I selected two more rose bushes that were the same species as what we had. But when we got them home, they weren’t the same. I selected some plumbago because it is heat tolerant. I thought we could put that in front of the roses as a low ground cover. Got home and checked the tag. Plumbago grows to four feet and gets really bushy.

We also bought some pampas grass to put at both ends of our garden as a sort of frame for the whole thing. The grass we bought is a little less than a foot high, but we thought it would look great when it got a little taller. Checked the Internet and learned that it sends out flowers as high as 12 feet. Is that possible? Twelve feet high! The Web site warned that if you plant pampas near other plants it will block the sun from reaching them.

But we already had the plants and had cleared the sod from a portion of our backyard. We decided to stick with our plan despite all the information warning us not to. Roses in back. Plumbago in front. Pampas on either end. We planted everything fairly close together and agreed that we can transplant things in a year or two if they get too big. But we still have the mindset of Midwesterners, thinking it will take years for these plants to grow. We’ll probably be transplanting by July.

And Abe, who has never participated in a gardening project before, finally unleashed his inner terrier. He began a frantic attempt to dig up our rose bushes. This is, of course, exactly what terriers are supposed to do. It’s instinct. Or maybe it’s wisdom.