Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I swear, I don't know how the pioneers did it. The unrelenting wind over the prairie and cold dips that have kept me from planting, still, are crazy-making. I'm an Illinois girl. I like thunderstorms and that kind of wind, but I really hadn't realized just how much wind blows over this prairie all spring and summer and fall. It's hard to think about gardens, which seem so fragile. I know they're not-- the greenery of the lilies are coming up, and the irises. But there's just never a day they can stand tall in the sun and be warmed and look pretty. My peas are hanging onto the fencing for dear life, and hanging on admirably. The tomatoes are fusing to the sticks I put in their pots to keep them steady and upright, and the stems are thickening. I put hollowed-out coffee cans over the two I did plant in the garden and though they're buffeted against the sides of the can, they're also keeping their leaves. Last year I lost half my tomato plants to wind damage-- but the others did do quite well, cherry tomatoes all. Downstairs I see I do have some quite sturdy-looking plants, especially the brussel sprouts. And someone said that zucchini and squash are hardy plants and can go in, but I can't bear to do it to them! And the three I set out in pots had lots of breakage after a day, and two of the three died. I'm thinking I might get two or three to survive, and will plant seeds.

It is spring, so this is part of the mix of weather, I'm sure. But I remember putting in the terraced flower garden along the side of the house here last June, before we got married, and thinking quite often that I don't know how those flowers are holding on against the wind. And they were dusty and a bit tattered looking, most of them, by the time of the wedding in late July. I'll give it a go one more time with the flats of annuals. But next year it might be time to look at the sedum and the fescues, with maybe some tulips, and just turn it over to "landscaping" instead of a garden.

Does anyone have suggestions for something that is like alyssum for borders, flowering, but a perennial, that would do well in this zone?

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