Carol Lang: Gardening can be frustrating sometimes

Published 9:00 am Sunday, June 5, 2016

Carol Hegel Lang is a green thumb residing in Albert Lea. Her column appears weekly. Email her at

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

Sometimes gardening can be so frustrating, and this past month sure has been for me. The temperatures have been up and down, I have been busy giving monarch talks to various groups and I have been trying to get flowers planted. It seems like there are just never enough hours in the day when the spring planting season arrives.

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As I walk through the gardens, I’ve noticed the weeds seem to be overtaking the flowers. It must look pretty bad to anyone passing by. Many of the self-seeding annuals are late to come up. I don’t want to till the area until the verbena bonariensis are up and I can decide how many I want to let grow in the gardens and where I should transplant others. They are finally peeking up above the soil so now I can get in there and take care of the rest of the weeds once I get all of the containers planted.

In the front entry garden the Miss Kim lilac is in full bloom and it sends a wonderful aroma all through my yard. Yesterday I picked a small bouquet for the house and now it, too, smells heavenly. A couple of irises that are in bloom were tumbled down by the rain, so I cut those and brought in the house to add to the lilac bouquet.

In garden one, the lemon lilies are just beginning to add a bit of color to that garden, while the Major Wheeler honeysuckle that scrambles over the fence are adding even more color to it, as well as a nectar source for my hummingbirds.

Carol Hegel Lang

Carol Hegel Lang

The wildflower garden still has red trilliums blooming and I see the cranesbill are also open.

On the arbor next to it, large buds will open very soon on the clematis that climbs up it. The fuchsia are finally at home on the hangers on the fence and large pergola, but there are no buds on them just yet. Once they start blooming the hummingbirds will swarm them seeking nectar. So far the only source of food for them are the columbines and the sugar water in the feeders.

The three hosta that were nipped by the frost still have wilted leaves. I should get those leaves pulled out so they don’t make the plants look so bad.

In the front of the house the two dragon wing begonias have been hung up and six other containers filled with even more of them to add color to the front of the house. This year, instead of flowers in the two large whiskey barrels, I planted grass. I like the look of it so will do that again next year.

Finally, all of the milkweed are up and growing so I should have plenty of food for the monarch caterpillars. Also, the meadow blazing star appear to be growing well along the driveway. These plants are monarch magnets and will be an excellent source of nectar for the butterflies in late summer. In the cutting perennial garden I now have space to add a few more native plants, so either this fall or next spring I will see what I would like to add for our pollinators. One of my favorite pollinator plants is the black adder agastache and I only have one of those, so perhaps that is what I will add to this empty spot.

This is a favorite quote of mine by Richard Bach: “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” One of my favorite garden pastimes is to sit and watch the butterflies as they wander from flower to flower on a sunny day, perusing the garden at their leisure while searching for nectar.

The gardens are a magical place to lose yourself and find pleasure in the small things. From the flowers to the birds, the butterflies and insects; it is amazing to see this whole ecosystem of life right in my own backyard. Life just seems to stand still and your worries get put on the backburner as you immerse yourself in this world of beauty that God has created for us.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every day we took the time to stop what we are doing and just meditate on all of this? Life is too short not to take it all in while we are able to. Stop and smell the roses and enjoy life’s gifts.

“With the rose the butterfly’s deep in love, a thousand times hovering round; but round himself, all tender like gold, the sun’s sweet ray is hovering found.” — Heinrich Heine