Urban Garden Denver Blog

Reality Gardening

I had big plans for fall gardening this year. As I sat in the shade on hot days in August, I pictured the changes I was going to make on my long perennial bed in the back yard. I was going to move day lilies, take out the excess salvia, and try some new perennials as well. In the process I was going to do deep weeding to get rid of some persistent weed problems in the flower bed. The hot, shady dreams of August disappeared in September.

Besides the fact that Denver weather was much hotter than normal in September, I was in no shape to do deep digging, with my Labor Day excursion to the hospital to get my appendix removed. So big plans for September gardening faded into the reality of October. I knew that I didn’t have the time or energy for a major overhaul on my perennial beds, that dream can wait for next year (or the year after). But I did want to create some simple, seasonal focal points.

The result of my October reality gardening is a nice patch of mums and pansies on the front walkway and another focal point of mums near the back stairs, where I can see them every day on my way to and from the car. The beauty of these well-placed focal points outweighs my disappointment at not being able to take on a major project this fall. There are a couple of ways to think about reality gardening: I can be disappointed that I lowered my standards, or I can appreciate the small but lovely splashes of fall color in my yard. I’m choosing the latter. This reminds me of my friend Carol’s advice that sometimes C+ is good enough. Everything isn’t going to be perfect in my garden (or my life) but choosing a small project that is well-placed in the yard is a “good enough” alternative.

Maybe this weekend you can find a reality project in your garden. Buy a pot of mums and put it on your front porch — that will probably cost about $10 and only take a few minutes, but will give you over a month of color and enjoyment. Or buy two 6-packs of pansies and put them next to your front sidewalk. You will be treated to blossoms now and possibly through the winter and spring, depending on our snow coverage. A “good enough” reality gardening project can cheer up your yard, even if it isn’t an A+ project.

Pansies and mums for fall focal point

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  1. * Kathy Skipton says:

    I love your idea. I have a beautiful yellow mum outside my bedroom patio window. I think mums add a lot to the Fall color. Isn’t it great to have such nice weather in Oct. this year. You deserve to give yourself a A+ this year after what you have been through. See you soon. KS

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 7 months ago

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