At the tail end of the month of May, in which we honor the Virgin Mary, I renovated our Marian garden--an afternoon which was such a delight to me. Gardening is in my blood, born and bred (by father, mother, and aunt), but I have been unable to much get my hands in the dirt for these last couple of babies. My yard has slowly been dying of neglect for a few years.
In fact, all of my Pachysandra surrounding our Mary statue died--and Pachysandra is indestructible! I think we had a problem with that zone of our irrigation and, when one deprives a plant of all water and all sun (in our shaded back yard), even Pachysandra will die.
All that was left was a circle of rocks, two grasses, a few straggling Pachysandra up front, and the Lenten rose behind Our Lady.
The soil was incredibly challenging for me to break up. It is dense clay filled with a decade's worth of fibrous Pachysandra roots entangled in a web fit to stop the strongest of tools (and, in fact, it broke one of mine).
One can't see well in the "after" photo but I have high hopes for how the garden will fill out.
I was seeking plants that are hardy, love the shade, tolerant of drought, deer resistant, and bonus points for having a Marian symbolism.
I transplanted one of the grasses (the Liriope, "monkey grass") to the left of the statue so that it is flanked on both sides by a grass plant. Monkey grass, with its sweet purple bloom, is everywhere in the South, so I wasn't surprised to read in an article that it is "the South's favorite ground cover."
Those are full grown plants, then to either side of those is a Thriiller Alchemilla (Lady's Mantle--so appropriate!), which will grow 12-15" high (larger than the grasses), bloom small yellow flowers in late spring, and is very hardy and tolerant of different soil types and part sun.
In front of the statue are three Convallaria majalis (Lily of the Valley) plants: they are hardly to be seen right now, but will bloom in mid- to late-spring with "dainty white, fragrant, bell-shaped flowers followed by striking, tiny orange berries." They are tolerant of drought (if our irrigation malfunctions again) and clay soil, they resist deer and make an excellent naturalizing ground cover in sun or shade.
Lastly, I planted a dozen Pachysandra within the circle of stones--although I may buy some more to fill in the space better. Pacyhysandra grows in deep shade, is highly deer resistant, and is an aggressive ground cover. Even with a household full of children running over it every day, it doesn't die.
|Seventeen new plants to honor Our Lady|
|Lily of the Valley|
Maybe, just maybe, my hiatus from gardening is over, and I can resume this lovely hobby.