Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Like I was saying...in May sometime...

My predictions held true and it's basically just now that I'm finally back paying attention to things other than the bees.

Because wildflowers don't swarm into a scary buzzing mass on your shitty neighbors' fence and therefore require immediate containment so the reminder to deal with them is sorta less prevalent, let's say.

I imagine this is the reason more people plant wildflowers than keep bees, but what the hell do I know since I do both.

Plus, the other day, I made a failed attempt at fixing the light on my bike only to have to call Bubba away from his important Putting the New Grill Together project to help me twist a screw, so in addition to playing with 10,000 stinging insects and planting pretty flowers, I also dedicate time to pestering my  husband away from more pressing demands.

I'm just full of hobbies.

Anyway, I wanted to show you why my neighborhood thinks I'm bizarre. Also - give those of you who are interested in the progression of the front yard meadow an update on that mess. Handy that they are concepts one in the same.

Lawn, lawn, lawn, lawn, WILD ASS MEADOW SPILLING OVER THE SIDEWALK, lawn, lawn, lawn...
Yeah, the meadow is not what you might call restrained or orderly. You might call it pretty, whimsical, natural or xeric, but you definitely wouldn't call it tidy or organized.

That's in the backyard where I exercise my anal retentive side. I reserve the front yard for my I'm Off My Rocker side.

Back garden - neat and tidy
Front yard - WTF?! It's in my eyes! Is that a lady bug? Look at that big ass lizard!

Strangely enough, that's where the bees would rather hang out.

Want to attract bees to your yard? Throw a few borage seeds on the shittiest soil you have and watch the madness unfold.

They may not be honeybees but I have a definite soft spot for big, fuzzy, pollen hogging bumblebees in my poppies.

And this used to be the pee hole. We've come a long ways, y'all.
It may not have helped my neighborhood persona to be sitting on the sidewalk with my camera buried in the borage growing wild in the sidewalk patch for a solid half hour, but I sure did love seeing all my bees (every bee is MY bee, obviously) hogging down on the borage.

At least I'm not mowing a lawn. THAT is what real crazy people do.

Also new in the front yard - ALL THE GAURA MY MOM GAVE ME X100.

People, do you grow this stuff, Gaura? Because my mom does. And she has for as long as I can remember. And now that I think about it, she probably has no choice in the matter because as I'm coming to find out, this stuff will be right up there with cockroaches and Twinkies in the post-apocalyptic circle of life. Which, is kind of nice since it's pretty -  unlike cockroaches and what Twinkies do to your ass if you eat too many. Not that I know. I haven't had a Twinkie in probably 20 years, but I'm getting off topic.

See, last year, when I was all, "Mom, I have a bare patch in the front meadow, what should I put there that I can forget about forever without it dying?" she immediately ripped some Gaura from her yard, threw it into a pot WITHOUT DIRT and then let it sit on her back patio for, I'm guessing, weeks before handing it off to me to grow in my yard.

And you should know that when I got it, it did sort of look a bit ratty, but as soon as I planted it, it perked up and looked fine.

Which should have been my warning.

But, since that evidently did NOT serve as poignant enough warning for me, the one hundred little Gaura sproutlings that shot up in the front yard, gutter and sidewalk cracks this spring certainly should have.

Dudes - this stuff is bullet proof. And prolific. And it's a damn good thing it's nice looking and takes a brutal pruning like a champ because holy crap there's no stopping it now.

It's pink. It's white. It has green foliage. It has red foliage.
It's even man enough to fight back against the Mexican Feather grass and fescue. Whoa.

And against the patio you can see it beginning to take over UGHverywhere.
So, for those of you looking to plant something in Zone 9 or 10 that will be drought tolerant, abuse tolerant, frost tolerant, thrive through brutal prunings, reseed itself to cover all unplanted spaces, produce cute flowers, have a nice grassy effect AND outlive the End of Days - try Gaura.

And then begin sharpening your pruners.


  1. Sweet. I'm somewhat copying you on the front yard meadow thing, and I need something that's everything-tolerant. With a grassy effect.

  2. LOVE the meadow! and the big fat bumble bee :)

    I have some guara, 3 of them, and they have not reseeded themselves anywhere. WTH? They are doing great though and all I've done to them is pull off the shaggy looking stuff it made over the winter.

  3. I have no gardening skillz and Matt says I should give up. But no. I'm going to try to grow something in my weirdo oval shaped planting thing Matt built me. Eventually. But it's windy and stuff so I don't feel like going outside.

  4. Apparently, your mom's chard recommendation was not enough of a lesson for you.

  5. I love the meadow! If I had a smaller front yard I would totally do that. Who needs to mow? I like the gaura but it sounds almost like my perilla. That shit will EAT EVERYTHING in sight.

    I, in a moment of weakness, asked for some from my friend's garden because my mom always liked it (and my mom had just died so yeah..). She asked me if I was "sure." Who asks that about a plant? And THEN she laughed maniacally when I planted it SEVERAL places in my yard. BIG MISTAKE. It is the pumpkin vine of decorative plants.

  6. I was motivated after commenting to google Perilla. Ho-ly shit. Listen to this, from a gardener in NJ:
    "This plant is extremely invasive. Earlier this summer I completely cleared a bed of it and in a matter of 3 weeks it looked as if nothing had been done. This plant is right up there with mint in places where it isn't native. True the foliage is nice but I would never recommend this plant to anyone."


  7. Wildflowers and bees, a perfect combination! Your poppies look fabulous...ours are being cranky and stubborn this year, but maybe this week's rain will help. As for Gaura, I grew the 'Siskiyou Pink' variety at our last house. Never had more compliments on a plant in my life. I love watching their flowery stems sway in the breeze. Bees do love borage. Against my better judgment I planted one for the bees this year, but I have a feeling I may live to regret it as it's quite invasive. Funny how having bees makes one think a little differently about plants.

  8. Yeah, I'm back. I was just showing my husband your cost analysis spread sheet (like, "look! isn't this neat?!" and HE asks "does she include the water she uses in her analysis? Because if she doesn't, that's not a true analysis."

    I had to restrain myself from punching him in the face. How fucking annoying.

  9. Posted a pic of my guara on my blog for you.

  10. yep. i love this a thousand ways over but mainly because you don't care to have a perfect little lawn like all the others. No! You march to your own beat, are happy with it, celebrate it and then pour a gin and tonic to toast it.
    And that, my love, is why you are so awesome.

  11. I love the front yard meadow and it seems to be the popular choice in our hood--it's so pretty!

    So one day we will yank out the grass and put in a meadow and Leeor will be happy to never mow again . . .


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

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Sucks, right?

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But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.