I have this little garden bed in the front of my house that I’ve never really done anything spectacular with. When we bought the place it had two giant holly bushes, a mass of half-dead ginger, and a sago palm, as seen in this spectacular cell-phone pic taken before we even had curtains!
We took everything out and replaced them with a couple of hydrangeas, which barely made it a year. I later tried gardenias, but they died too. Looking for something more low-maintenance, I planted some aspidistra. Also known as cast-iron plant, it’s kind of expensive to buy a lot of it at once but over time it fills in and creates a really lush mass that thrives on neglect (you can see it growing at the base of our oak tree in this photo). You can just barely see the little bit I planted in this picture taken two years ago.
I pretty much completely neglected the whole yard last year. I don’t remember planting anything. And until a few weeks ago this area was completely overrun with weeds (why did I not take a before picture to show off my weeding prowess????). I’ve finally resigned myself to the fact that I don’t have the patience or dedication to be babying non-native plants while they get established, so from now on my gardening philosophy is live free or die hard. Either you can survive in my “garden” on your own terms or you can’t. Toughen up, plants! I ain’t got time to be tending to your needs! You can see that the aspidistra and the ginger are both very well-suited to this arrangement. I have literally cut that ginger down to the ground and dug up as many of the roots as possible and still it grows back. Ginger is not exactly my cup of tea but I admire its perseverance so it can stay for now. And if you compare to the photo above you can see that the aspidistra has really gotten bigger and spread out! It’s a long way from where I want it to be but I’m okay with waiting. I’m patient when it means I can be lazy.
Clearing all the weeds was a major improvement, but I really wanted to fill in some of the empty space without spending any money on plants that may or may not survive. I dug up these plants from the side of my house, where they sprang up as volunteers a couple of years ago. They seem to do really well in the bright shade over there so I thought maybe they might work here. I think they’re maybe some sort of begonia?
I picked up the garden hose that’s been strewn through the garden for longer than I care to admit, dug a couple of holes, and popped those babies in there. Voila, free plants.
Then I turned my attention to these little purple things that are quite possibly the easiest thing anyone has ever grown. I literally cut a few pieces from some growing at my sister’s house, stuck them in these baskets with very little soil and absolutely no attention, and a year later they’re thriving.
I popped them out of those wire baskets and planted them, coco liners and all, alongside the begonias and the ginger. I probably should have dug the holes a little deeper so the coco liners weren’t so prominent but, eh, I was feeling lazy.
I don’t know if the begonias are going to make it. That middle one is looking pretty floppy. But I mean, what do I have to lose? They looked kind of weird growing on the side of my house and now I get to see whether they’ll survive over here instead. May the odds be ever in your favor, begonias.