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Gardening Through Grief

I feel sad, but my garden looks great!

The roses I still have in my garden are hardy and easy to keep alive, and they’re looking great this year. The catmint and aliums are thriving and spreading, and everything else is looking pretty good too. There was a 10′ shrubby rose that almost completely died over the winter though, and since it had murder thorns (seriously, it was a danger), I dug it out. I wanted to replace it with a flowering tree, and I spent days researching varieties that could be a good fit size and style-wise.

The Lovely Garden, June 2021 | Making it Lovely

My grandmother died in late April. We were close, and complicated family dynamics (I’m estranged from my father) has made an already sad and difficult time that much worse. When I realized soon after her passing that there was an Ann magnolia, her middle name, I immediately decided that I was done researching trees; I would be planting an Ann in her honor. A local nursery had them in stock and I brought one home.

My sister came to be here for the planting, but the old rose did not go easily! She’s having another baby this summer, so that lazy git didn’t even have to pick up a shovel. :) I got most of the hole dug that day, but digging it out to be as deep and twice as wide as the magnolia’s root ball was quite a feat. I continued to work on old root removal before planting the magnolia a few days later. I’ve mulched it and am watering it regularly with a low-profile watering bag because this thing needs to make it. It’s small, but it is lush and beautiful.

Ann Magnolia and Catmint with Garden Sphere Sculpture | Making it Lovely

I planted a pink dogwood tree sapling in back too, but it is not looking nearly as good. I ordered it online because I was having trouble finding one locally and the price was low, but it was crispy on arrival.

I’ve been making more changes throughout the front and back. I got three slowmound Mugo pines from someone who was changing up their garden, and I picked up three spartan junipers to create a hedge along part of the side fence. I want more evergreens, and I want to add dahlias, anemones, foxglove, columbine, rudbeckia, hollyhocks, and baptisia. I also want more lady’s mantle, heuchera, and salvia.

There is a yew between the house and the gate to the backyard that was overgrown. It was overgrown before we moved in, and I’ve never done anything to correct that until now. OFF WITH ITS HEAD, and a good portion of the branches to one side. Turns out I’m good with a chainsaw and a hedge trimmer. But oh, it looks terrible! It will either rebound over the next few years and I shall work to form a magnificent topiary, or it will continue to look sad and I’ll yank it out next spring. I have hope though!

Edward Scissorhands Topiary

I’m still sad. And sometimes angry. Even writing this little bit about my grandmother made me want to cry. But I do feel better when I’m out there gardening, and I am spending a lot of my time out there these days.

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