But I have a battle going on with what I want my garden to look like and the work involved in getting it to look that way. For years now, I have been adding on. And adding on. And adding a little more. And in my dreams, I still have areas that I want to add.
Take, for instance, a meadow.
Don't you think that my garden needs a meadow? I do.
And I especially do after reading
The American Meadow Garden:
Creating a Natural Alternative to the Traditional Lawn
by John Greenlee
Need a book on grasses? Thinking of putting in ornamental grasses instead of a lawn? Do you want a meadow? I heartily recommend this book, especially if you live in the United States. (If you outside the United States, you may find this book useful, but it is specifically geared toward those of us living in the U.S.)
I have a couple of books on grasses, but in my opinion, this one is the absolute best. He breaks down everything you might need to know in order to plant grasses. No matter if you have a large area or a small one, there is information and inspiration to be found.
In this book, he has thought of everything. Location. Soil. Temperatures. (Those apply to the U.S.) But he also talks about themed meadows. Pathways. Hillsides. And how to make it look like a meadow, not a yard that needs mowing.
He covers putting in a meadow, maintenance, weed control, purchasing plants, timing, and even a formula for making your meadow look natural.
There are fun lists that pop up in each chapter. Lists such as "Grasses with Good Flowerheads", "Best Daisies for Meadows", "Best Fragrant Grasses", and "Irises and Cousins for Meadows", to name just a few. These lists made my imagination go wild!
In addition, he has a list of more than 50 grasses for groundcovers, fillers, backgrounds, accents, and natural lawns. He tells not only the zones and plant size, but he gives a detailed description of each, with additional information from experience.
This book answered all the questions I have had on grasses, and I had a lot! But what I loved most of all was the love of grasses that was imparted through the words of each page. The author's passion comes through clearly in this book, and I found that his love of meadows was quite infectious.
Oh, yes, I definitely want a meadow!
Unfortunately, my meadow dream will have to be put on hold. I've decided this next year will be the Year of Maintenance. I finally agree with my husband that I need to maintain what I have before I add on even more. I'll continue to dream, and one day I'll have that meadow. Just not this year.
So, what's my news? Well, I'm going to be putting this blog on maintenance, too. I will have one more Garden Book Review meme on December 20th (and I hope you join me), then I will no longer host the meme. I will post when I have the time, which may be quite irregular. I don't want to quit blogging entirely - I get much too much from it by being able to look back at my records from year to year through it. But, I won't be consistent. And for my blogging friends: I will continue to read your blogs - I've learned so much and love hearing about each of you - but I won't be commenting much.
This year will be The Year of Maintenance or The Year of Catching Up or The Year of Doing What Needs To Be Done. It all means the same. Less talking, less writing, and more getting out there and doing! My dreams of a meadow may have to be postponed for a year or so. But my garden will be a much better one for it. I can live with that.
Now it's your turn! I hope you will join in this month, and for the last Garden Book Review meme on December 20th.
I also want to express my appreciation to each and every participant, and to the readers, of the Garden Book Review meme over the past couple of years. The books you have recommended are a very valuable resource for me. Thank you.
Maintenance is a demanding job. But I totally agree that it is a priority. I was blogging pretty irregularly for the past couple of months and I got TONS done around here. Wishing you alot of productivity in the maintenance department! :)ReplyDelete
It really is amazing how much time blogging can take. I'm hoping that if I just blog a little, I'll be able to work in the garden a lot! I'm also hoping I can finally get the weeds under control!Delete
It should be an exciting year! I know that as you're doing those tasks that need to be done, your mind will still be thinking, dreaming, planning and anticipating. You won't be able to help it. And then you'll look around with satisfaction and be ready to take the next steps. I'll miss reading your blog so often, but think how much more you'll have to blog about when you do manage it. I hope it's a wonderful year.ReplyDelete
Lyn, you are absolutely right - while I'm outside doing the things that "need" doing, I'll be dreaming of things I "want" done! Maybe once I get things under control, I'll feel freer to add on to the areas I have dreams for already!Delete
I agree, Holley, garden maintenance is very important. One can have tonnes of plants and all they could be in bad condition, what is that garden? I see you're very busy now having your plans. Happy week!ReplyDelete
Nadezda, you make a great point. No garden is pretty without some needed maintenance! Hopefully I'll be able to get things under control. My plants will be happier for it!Delete
Keeping that meadow in your dreams will keep the interest alive, and something to look forward to. If we had the space we would love a meadow section too. We'll miss your regular blogging but glad to know you'll still pop round and update yours from time to time :)ReplyDelete
Oh, yes, I'll still update it at least monthly. I have to have a record of my garden! And I will still be reading blogs, even if I don't comment much. Bloggers are such wonderful sources of information and I've found some great plants that I wouldn't have known about otherwise.Delete
Holley I think I do have this book or it may be on my wish list, but it is wonderful and I love your dream. I am dreaming of adding more grasses instead of lawn. I have not announced my projects for the year, but this is also my Year of Maintenance...of living with my garden before I continue with any big projects. I have learned so much from this meme and I will continue to review garden books because I love them.ReplyDelete
I will miss your regular blogging but glad to know you will stay in touch. Good luck and enjoy your extra time in the garden my friend!
I think things got so out of hand in my garden when I was gone and had so much company this past summer. It seemed I just didn't get out in the garden much, and now it's gotten to the point of do or the plants will die. Hopefully in a few months I'll be able to look at my garden and smile, instead of seeing all the chores that need so desperately to be done.Delete
Good for you! I too am always full of dreams, and huge, ambitious plans. Which then take too much time. I am also really good at starting things and not so good at finishing them before moving on to the next exciting project. I could probably do with a year of maintenance myself, but I am not quite ready to face that. I applaud your self restraint and wish you luck in your new project! And that sounds like a great book for inspiring the project after that...ReplyDelete
I'm like that, too, Janet. I'm good at starting things, not so good at finishing. I thought I could do both maintenance and add on, but now I realize that I just can't. Better for me to do it now before I have to dig it all up and start all over again!Delete
I understand your decision to devote time to maintenance. I have also decided to "say no to more flowerbeds" We all need to step back at times and reevaluate our space. I will miss your pics and posts!ReplyDelete
Reevaluate. I like that word. I will remember it when I'm outside doing chores. I'm not "working", I'm reevaluating!Delete
In the last year I had my dear husband with me, he told me not to plant any more gardens as I had enough to handle. What, no more gardens? But since he left this planet last December 9th, I see the wisdom in his words. He was thinking of me and all of the work involved.ReplyDelete
He said this to me when we did not know he was ill, but before. Since losing him it has been all I can do to keep up with things and I have lost some plants because I couldn't keep up, etc. I am slowly getting into the new routines created by my loss, life goes on.
Enjoy your time of maintenance, your gardens will appreciate the care and you will enjoy all the more the gardens you already have. You have much beauty surrounding you.
I too will miss your blog posts yet look forward to the times you share your life and gardens with us.
Have a wonderful holiday season and a great new year.
Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady
Your husband was very smart to know that gardens always need maintenance - and we gardeners always seem to forget how much, especially when we are plant shopping! I know it hasn't been easy without him. My husband helps me a LOT in my numerous garden areas, and without him, keeping them would not be easy. I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving.Delete
I will miss your regular postings. I'm always envious of all you've done in your gardens. I too have felt the need to stick to what I have and not expand. I came to that realization last year. It was too tempting to take those volunteers and start a new bed but then that means mulching weeding, caring and I have too many other interests to be a constant gardener. I will stick with what I have and help them stay beautiful year round.ReplyDelete
Good luck with your year.
Yes, new plants always call out for a new garden bed. But, like you, I think I'm going to have to say no - at least until I get the ones I already have under control!Delete
I will miss your garden book reviews as I've discovered some lovely books through it. I've enjoyed participating and will probably continue doing a garden book review every now and then. I fully understand where you are coming from. Last year was a downsizing year for gardens ... moving away from a huge one into smaller ones throughout the garden. Enjoy the day.ReplyDelete
linda - I'm so sorry I couldn't comment on your blog. I loved the book you reviewed, and really need it! For some reason, the captcha kept coming up as an error. Surely I know that 5 + 2 = 7 (and all the other easy equations it asked me)!! Anyway, thanks for joining in the meme this month!Delete
Oh, Holley, I'm going to miss you. I read many blogs for info or for a bit of a laugh. Some bloggers have become dear to my heart and you are one of those. Like a wise neigbour whose garden I can wander over to for advice. Along with advice will be a cup of tea or lemonade and a sit in the garden or a walk down a path all with the scent of roses wafting over us. Although I understand completely the way blogging takes up time best spent in the garden. A book I thought of as soon as I read your post was Gardening for a Lifetime by Sydney Eddison. Have you read it? It is about adapting our gardens as we age and can no longer keep up the heavy duty maintenance. Even though I'm just starting a garden I'm following many of her suggestions so what I create one year can take care of itself while I move on to the next thing. I'll miss the meme too. Would you let someone else take it over? Not me, but I think there is a blogger we both know who's site would be perfect for it.ReplyDelete
Susan, I would love for someone else to take over the meme! I have found the best books that way, ones I would have never found myself. And yes, I have read Gardening for a Lifetime. Stick to the plan. I veered away from it and now I am paying the price. I need to go back to those principles. And thank you for the sweet, melodic words! They made my day! :)Delete
A meadow would be a lovely long-term project. I've enjoyed all the book reviews, so thank you. And I wish you lots of precious time in your garden for the coming year - I know how it is trying to fit everything in!ReplyDelete
Time is one of those things that seems so abundant, until we start using it up. Then we realize what a precious resource it truly is!Delete
Holley!!! I will miss you friend!!!! You are an inspiration and I hope that the year ahead brings you great joy!!! When you pop in I will be sure to visit to get my bloom fix!!!! And thank you for the book....I have recently added more grasses to the front after taking out more grass! All the best to you and good luck doing!!!!! NicoleReplyDelete
Thanks for the warm wishes, Nicole. I recently started adding some grasses to my flowerbeds, and so far I just love them. But an entire meadow sounds so - romantic! I do hope that one day I'll be able to realize my dreams.Delete
Sounds like you have a great plan. And I'm glad you won't be abandoning the blog entirely. We all go through phases, and as they say, "To everything there is a season." Good luck during the maintenance year ahead, and I'll always be a fan. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks, Beth. I hope the plan works out the way it is formed in my mind. After the year of maintenance (in my mind, at least) I will be able to add and add and add! :O)Delete
Oh, I need that book! I have an area that I am turning into a meadow, as it is not able to be used for anything else (it's a detention pond area that must be accessible to the town). It will be a project, especially as it sometimes has standing water in part of it. This fall we mowed down all the brush, so next year I will be starting planting things.ReplyDelete
Good luck with your maintenance year. It is good sometimes to take a break. It helps refresh and do other things that you enjoy. I'm glad we'll hear from you still! You are a great part of the garden blogging community, and I always enjoy your posts!
Oh, good luck with your new project! You must be so excited to have a new garden - a fresh slate! I hope the book helps, but that standing water issue doesn't sound easy to work around.Delete
You are very wise, Holley, to prioritize the way in which you spend your time. I wish you all the very best! You will be sorely missed, but I am glad you will post sometimes -- I don't often comment, but I read most of your postings. I love your book review meme, and I am glad to contribute again before it ends. Take care, P. xReplyDelete
I plan to post once or twice a month. I think that will give me enough of a record of my garden without taking up too much of my time. However, you know, plans can always change - either way! I appreciate you so much, Pam, because you introduced me to the gardening community, and were one of the first (maybe even the very first) person to ever comment on my blog. :)Delete
I am in exactly the same position. I dream of adding more garden, yet I can hardly keep up with what I have! I missed this month's book review, but I'll do my best to come up with a great one for your next and last book review meme.ReplyDelete
Jennifer - good luck to us both. May we get all that maintenance under control so we can continue to add on until our dreams are fulfilled.Delete
Holley, I've enjoyed seeing the progress of your gardens. Please don't stop dreaming or gardening! I always looked forward to your posts, so sincerely written with warmth and humor. Thank you for hosting the book reviews, too. I now have a long list of books to read! I don't have a review ready for this month, but hopefully will be able to join in next time. Best wishes to you! John Greenlee's book sounds like valuable reference. He spoke in our city a few years ago and I missed it!ReplyDelete
I bet he would be a great speaker. He is so passionate about grasses - it comes across even in the written word - and I know it would be reflected in his talks. I'm glad you've enjoyed the meme. I have loved hearing about the books others recommend. And think the book you recommended, "Founding Fathers" is one of the best I've read so far!Delete
Please don't give up posting entirely! I'd miss your writing.ReplyDelete
But yes, maintenance sounds like a good plan :)
(I'm still in the adding mode myself -- but trying to add plants that don't require TOO much in the way of maintenance!) ;-)
Enjoy the adding phase! But beware! It can become quite addicting to keep adding! :)Delete
I recently read a post...I think Cote de Texas which highlighted the meadows of Prince Charles home...I was smitten!ReplyDelete
Now that would be something I would love to read!Delete
I dream about a lot of things for my garden – a bigger garden for a start! Then I could have a meadow or a poppy field. I will miss your frequent posts but good to hear you will be around! I am actually planning something similar for next year, just haven’t announced it yet so here is a pre announcement…I will be taking time off to write another book next year and I am planning to only write the GBBD posts every 15th of the month – if I can manage to stay away :-) So much to do, so little time! Good luck with all your projects!ReplyDelete
Oh, Helene, good luck with your book! How exciting! I will look for your posts every GBBD.Delete
comes the time when I realise I have to change from hours at the computer, to hours in the garden. Pruned 3 trees today, earned my computer evening.ReplyDelete
Now, that's a smart system! I used to do my children that way - study time equaled t.v. time! They were so eager to start their studies every afternoon! :)Delete
Hi Holley, I hear your regarding the maintenance of the garden. Even though my garden is much smaller than yours I have a hard time to keep up with the maintenance and take care of what I have already achieved. It is so sad when a garden falls into neglect, which has just happened to my garden! So I completely understand your decision to blog less and to garden more. On the other hand blogging is so much fun... Hope you find a good balance of both in the future. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!ReplyDelete
Balance. I think that's harder to achieve than it seems. I don't think blogging overtook my time, but it just became low priority after family, other obligations, and my garden, so that's where I decided the time should be taken from. Maybe in the future I'll feel like I have more time and I will blog more then. Happy Thanksgiving to you!Delete
I will definitely put The American Meadow on my shopping list. Hey! I still have a gift card from last Christmas!ReplyDelete
I started my blog to keep in touch with my husband as he had moved to his new job here in DFW. Then I met you and many other great garden bloggers that kept me sane through my move. Since then you and others have taught me so many great things about gardening and much more. I totally understand maintenance. Been doing a lot of that in the loft garden this year. Be aware, once getting out of the blogging habit it is hard to jump back in. I am having a bit of a time trying to decide how I managed doing this all before. Perhaps it was all those days of watering that put me out of the loop.
I have so enjoyed your gardens, being the rose geek that I am. Hope to see more of them again. BTW, I am not so far away. We could meet up at a garden center? I would love to know where those hidden gems are out your way.
Oh, I would LOVE to meet up - and at a garden center would be so much fun!!! Email me (my email link should be under my profile) and we can set a date - (it'll have to be after Christmas). :)Delete
Hi Holley, I've been thinking seriously about removing my two backyard lawn patches. They're small but the grass can't handle the heat and always looks gross by July. I'm thinking of a groundcover like, Sedum 'Angelina' or Thyme. Something that can take a little foot traffic. There is always something and these books are so inspiring, aren't they? Great post.ReplyDelete
Grace - I have the perfect book for you! It's "Covering Ground" by Barbara W. Ellis. She has so many ideas - I think you'll really enjoy it. Good luck with your lawn removal. I think that is a smart idea, and it will mean much less maintenance in the long run.Delete
Hi Holley, I know how hard it is to be a consistent blogger. It's important not to overextend oneself, in the garden or in the blogosphere. I think those who blog often, participate in Memes, and frequently comment must have time to give to blogging every day. I have never been able to do this. Blogging is important to me, but after four years I find that blogging once a week is about the most I can do. In the beginning I decided not to participate in Memes, but I always try to comment on those blogs who have commented on mine. I sometimes enjoy the luxury of visiting other blogs that don't necessarily visit my own blog, but I have no set time for this. As for the garden, with the amount of space I have, low maintenance has always been key. That is why I put so much emphasis on flowering trees and shrubs and beautiful foliage rather than annuals and perennials, though I do have some of those, but just as accents. I have dreamed of a meadow and have the place to do it, but I hesitate, like you, to add another area that will need upkeep. Happy Thanksgiving, and good luck with all your future endeavors!ReplyDelete
It's hard to realize how much one is getting overextended, in blogging or in the garden, until it's done! But you're right - it's important to realize it and to stop. I need to start working on getting my garden a little more low maintenance. You were very smart to concentrate on that. Happy Thanksgiving!Delete
I enjoy your postings but understand about the time commitment. We really can't "do it all" so best wishes on your garden endeavors! I, like many others, will still be checking in to see what you post when you are able.ReplyDelete
And stop by for a visit if you're ever in Dallas. Maybe you can put RoseDango on your spring 2014 calendar. :)
I am going to put RoseDango on my calendar! I would love to go. Even in the short time I've cut back on my blogging, my house has become cleaner - and my garden is going to finally get in shape, I truly believe that! Thanks for stopping by my blog, and I hope you continue to do so, even with my non-consistent postings. :)Delete
Ack! I just checked my calendar, and I already have an obligation for May 3 - the date of RoseDango. :( So sad to miss it again this year! :((Delete
Ah, phooey. Well, if you're in the neighborhood you should check the gardens out any time in the spring. There are several other venues in the Dallas area with roses. And you're always welcome to my cul-de-sac for a visit. :)Delete
I'll miss you but I understand as well - even my little ol' blog has become more time consuming than I ever could've imagined. It seems I spend more time blogging than crafting, which is backwards, in my opinion. Knowing you from your blog, you will accomplish so much and I hope you have fun too! Merry Christmas, Holley!ReplyDelete
Dear Holley, I feel just the same, only instead of saying it clearly I have just been posting less and less often. I am so pleased you are keeping the blog going, though, because the beauty of a longterm relationship is that we can drop in and out, but still keep in touch. I much prefer grasses to lawn. With some Australian native grasses, you need to burn them periodically to maintain them. Intimidates me.ReplyDelete
Balancing blogging and real life is a trick. Until my husband retired I had no idea how much time I was giving to blogging. Now I read through my favorites every two or three weeks and I post when I can. Enjoy your life, Sweetie!ReplyDelete
Hi Holley, I am sorry that you will no longer host the book meme. But I understand. Blogging takes up so much time. There are just not enough hours in a day to do everything. I only participated six times, but I really enjoyed reading the book reviews.Thank you.ReplyDelete
I love that meadow gardening book. I tried a meadow here, early on, but the gophers had other ideas, sadly. It's now a pasture for the goats!ReplyDelete
I don't blame you for taking a break. I didn't intend to, but blogging got put on the back burner for me this year. There are only so many hours in a day, and this year at least, I've had to spend more time 'doing', and less time writing. I am hoping to get back in the swing of things next year, but we'll see. Sometimes planting, and maintaining, just takes up a lot of time. I do thank you for all your support, and stopping by to comment, even when I've barely had to time to write. Enjoy your break, and happy holidays!
I'm increasingly finding a need to work on some projects that I've left undone and prioritizing my time is becoming a necessity. Blogging - and especially the networking that goes along with it - does take a huge block of time that could be spent in the garden (or elsewhere), that's for sure! I'm so glad you won't stop blogging entirely - I always enjoy reading your posts! Thank you so much for hosting the book review meme all this time - I really had fun participating and found a whole bunch of new (or new-to-me) titles to check out. Sheryl @ Flowery ProseReplyDelete