Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Plant Parking Lot by Donna Duffy

Currently in the parking lot are two daylilies, a variety of mums, one peony, and a volunteer staghorn sumac.

In my backyard, along an old fence, there’s a sunny strip garden that has been there since we moved in. For ten years, I’ve resisted working on it as I merrily added flower beds, sculptures, sitting areas and improvements in other parts of the yard. I finally figured out the purpose for this strip – it’s a plant parking lot.

When I divide perennials, I typically put them in a pot and nurse them back to health for a couple of weeks, then I plant them in this strip garden. When someone gives me a lily or mum as a gift, it ends up in that strip. Later, I tend to move those plants to better, more permanent spots in existing beds, or I dig them up and give them to friends. I’ve done this for years without really realizing the usefulness of this otherwise neglected area.

My plant parking lot serves a very practical purpose for me. It’s an ever-changing palette of colors, textures, heights and shapes. It’s a holding zone, a place where friends can “shop” for plants they’d like to add to their gardens. I don’t have to worry if the plants look good together, because they won’t stay together. I love being able to ignore it and focus on my more purposeful garden projects. Now if I could just figure out where to put a shady parking lot…