It would appear that my allergies are starting to kick in for spring. It may be that Pine Tree Bukkake season has started and we’ll be seeing drifts of chartreuse in the gutters soon, or it may be some other plant, but today the mild stuffed-up-ness of the last week has gone to eyewatering and sneezing.
Fortunately, I’m nearly done with the major spring gardening. I need one more bag of dirt, I’ve got a couple of plants left to get in the ground, and I picked up some bedding annuals to fill in the large gaps in the border. I am generally all about the perennials, but having added a whole new bed, the budget will not stretch to fill it completely with native/well-behaved immigrant perennials, so the gaps are getting annuals for now. It’s a depressing truth, but I realize why everybody plants the same crappy flowers…ONE good native plant costs me $8 at Niche Gardens, and I can get SIXTY assorted annuals for $9.95 at Lowes. Hard to resist. Sure, the perennial comes back every year…in theory…but I think I actually get maybe 60% of them returning. (Niche gardens does a lot better than Lowes on that front, mind you, and the numbers will rise over time as I learn what I absolutely cannot grow and what loves life with a passion, but nevertheless. If you figure a mounding annual fills the same space as a first year perennial, and each annual costs $0.15, and each perennial adds an annual’s worth of space a year…then…uh…this is one of those sequence problems, and my high-school algebra classes are long behind me, but I think it comes out to something like "in five years, the annuals will still be cheaper than your $8 plant." )
Still, perennials are just COOL. And you don’t get that ecstatic Christmas-morning feeling with annuals, unless they’ve decided to reseed, in which case your ecstasy may be tempered with a desire to kill.
So I’ve got marigolds, which I’d plant anyway because they repel bugs, and pink petunias because my mother once planted the front yard with Pepto-bismol pink petunias, so it has a strange nostalgia factor (although I’m not interplanting dusty miller as she did) and begonias in the shade area. I’m not a huge fan of begonias in general, but I’ll try them as a border in the part-shade area, and if they work, great, and if they don’t, no great loss.
Obviously, gardening being what it is, I’ll be adding plants for weeks yet, but I’m hoping to be done with the serious back-breaking labor in the next day or two. Then it’s all just lurking and inventing excuses to go outside and yell "Grow, you bastards, grow!"