Before I moved to Oklahoma I believed in garden planning. I had spent years in California surrounded by pretty landscaping and carefully designed gardens. I had the mistaken idea that if you planted something in the ground and met its needs for water and sun, you would be rewarded with predictable growth and performance. I seldom had any pest problems because of all the agricultural controls in place in the county where we lived. The weather was fairly stable and irrigation expected. I never had a big garden, but I enjoyed it.
Then I moved to this amazing prairie where the weather changes by the hour and the wind is a force to be reckoned with on a daily basis! The summer heat is unbearable and the rain non-existent, but the humidity is overwhelming. Winters can be mild or a tormenting combination of snow and ice. All creatures great and small attack my flowers and vegetables with haughty indifference to my needs or wishes. The soil in one area is totally different from the soil a hundred yards away. Rocks loom just beneath the surface. Sometimes it seems that every aspect of nature is against the orderly design of artificial landscaping.
So I gave up planning long ago. As I worked in the garden yesterday I realized that my garden just seems to evolve…adjusting each season to whatever happens. And I have learned to adjust with it. If something does well I try to let it spread or I buy more seeds and plants of the same type. If something doesn’t thrive I don’t go to great lengths to try to keep it in my garden. There are a dozen plants at Lowe’s that I gaze at longingly, but never bring home. I am resigned to the fact that I just can’t grow roses. I can’t keep heather because the rabbits eat it. I can’t seem to maintain anything that needs weekly attention or fertilizer or shade or moisture. My garden seems happier with native plants that are tough and drought resistant.
Oh, I know there are Master Gardeners who could lend me a hand and tell me what to grow where and when. My garden could be more orderly and undoubtedly more attractive. There are probably many more plants that could adapt to the drought and wind and rocks. But I think I’ll just stick with puttering around and enjoying it the way it is…wild and crazy!