Thanks to everyone who gave us a taste of their tastes in the garden by taking the taste test (aka the "Chan S. Gardener's Index"—thanks, Robert!). Special thanks go to Kathy Purdy for spreading the word and encouraging her many friends in the garden blog world to join in the fun. The good sports who played along are listed below, alphabetically by blog name:
Cold Climate Gardening: Kathy Purdy and Judy Miller (updated July 18, 2004)
The Garden's Gift
Hands In the Dirt
Ilona's Garden Journal (updated July 20, 2004)
The Llama Butchers
Rant-O-Mat (updated July 23, 2004)
Since I enjoyed the annotations and explanations in these posts so much, here are mine:
1. Lilies: oriental or asiatic? The asiatics flower at an indispensable transition time and are less loved by the [dastardly creatures whose name I refuse to utter anymore today]...but the orientals are fragrant (sometimes excessively so, I admit), and a dozen rubrums were my wedding bouquet.
2. No-till or till? I've managed to do okay without having to till, just using generous amendments in a generous hole and lots of mulch. As a friend of the worm, the arguments against tilling ring true to me.
3. Bare hands or garden gloves? Gardening gloved doesn't feel right to me, although I don't quite feel that way on the one or two occasions each year that I grab hold of a stinging nettle plant while weeding.
4. Garden tchotchkes, no or yes? I'm not large with the tchotchkes, either inside the house or outside, but there will be one exception (to be revealed in a future post sometime in the next few weeks...how's that for a teaser!).
5. Clay or sand? The brief format of the test made this question more ambiguous than I'd intended. I'd meant to ask: if you had to choose between clay or sand for a hypothetical garden, which would you choose? I choose clay, as being more nutritive and water-retaining. Lauren Springer makes a pretty compelling case for clay (I believe it's in Passionate Gardening), pointing out that the hated crust on clay serves the same purpose as mulch, and that plants grow tougher and sturdier in clay than even in much-sought loam. I'll buy that!
6. Shrub roses or hybrid teas? Shrubs all the way for me. I love my rugosas (which I've had for a year), and am being led down the garden path (so to speak) by the new David Austins I've started growing this year. Hybrid teas don't work well in this climate, and I've always thought they look awkward as plants in the garden.
7. Hollyhocks: single or double? I've got a very strong preference for single hollyhocks. I saw some peach-colored doubles at the Rotary Gardens in Janesville last week, and while lots of folks oohed and aahed over them, I thought the blooms looked like the Kleenex flowers we used to make for our moms for Mother's Day.
8. Foliage: gray or glaucous? I like glaucous foliage well enough, but I've got a thing for gray right now, which is in heavy, heavy use in my new white garden.
9. Hemerocallis: flava or fulva? I like both these species daylilies for their stateliness and stature, but out in the roadside, not in my garden. Flava has a slight edge over fulva, but maybe that's because the hip-hoppy name makes me chuckle.
10. Impatiens: double or single? I don't like single impatiens unless they are New Guinea. I like double impatiens well enough, but they aren't in my garden this year. I am a big fan of the impatiens not on this list: the "touch-me-not" Impatiens balsam.
11. Calendula or tagetes? None of the calendula I grew last year self-seeded! So I'm trying again, but they're coming up slowly. I think they blend with other garden plants better than tagetes, and survive light frosts nicely. But I'm growing some tagetes too (the heirloom "Pinwheel", which has just started blooming).
12. Arborvitae or juniper? We inherited an arborvitae from the previous owners of our home, which has been cloud-pruned to nice effect. I see no redeeming aspects to juniper whatsoever.
13. Spaded edge or "edging"? I have to boast that I converted my better half to the aesthetic advantages of spaded edging after a diligent campaign to get him to agree to rip out the old black plastic edging that came with the house. It'll mean more work (but then again, I like weeding quackgrass. Yes, I'm seeking help.).
14. Asters or mums? I like asters, but the only ones I have are recovering in the raised bed "sick bay" after being mauled for the second year straight by the unmentionables. I am lukewarm at best about mums...I only like the very decorative, hothouse Korean mums, which needless to say are not growable under normal garden circumstances.
15. Reflecting pool or coursing waterfall? My garden can't afford to give up the space for a proper reflecting pool, but reflecting pools are often my favorite feature in botanical gardens that I visit. I have a sump pump discharge that sounds like a coursing waterfall several times a day (very glamorous!).
16. Morning glory blue or forget-me-not blue? There's not a blue that I don't like, but morning glory blue (particularly Brazilian morning glory blue, which is a tad richer than the annual morning glory) just grabs me and won't let go.
17. Lettuce: leaf or cos? Cos has its uses (tuna niçoise, yum), but the salad I like to sit down to every night is made from leaf lettuce.
18. Hyacinth bean or red runner bean? (Yes, I meant to say "scarlet" instead of "red"...sorry for the brain blurp.) Hyacinth bean is pleasing at every stage...from the black bean to the burgundy veined foliage to the pink flowers to the purple bean pods...it was a great success last year when the sweet peas gave up the ghost without really trying. This year, with the sweet peas doing so well (they are now taller than I am!), I'm trying the hyacinth beans as a ground cover in the new shrub border. So far, so good.
19. Orange or pink? In the garden, I use pink as an accessory, but I use orange to light my fire.
20. Garden bed shapes: formal or informal? Inspired by Dean Riddle: formal.
21. Garden bed planting schemes: informal or formal? Inspired by Dean Riddle: informal.
22. Hydrangeas: lace-cap or mophead? I thought I liked mophead (and I still do), but I'm a convert to lace-cap. They need winter protection here, but it's worth it to me. During the dog days of August last year, my lace-cap's graceful pink flowerheads had the same effect on me as a cool breeze.
23. Spirea japonica: dried flowerheads standing over the winter or in bloom? This is the only plant that I like only as a dried plant in winter. I dislike it in bloom as much as I like it the other way. (Hence, you will be unlikely to ever see it in my garden.)
24. Japanese beetle drowning medium: kerosene or dishsoap solution? Japanese beetle flambé! That's what I'm talking about! In reality, I have only used dishsoap solution in the past. This year, I'm more impatient and less squeamish: squish, crunch, toss.
25. Garden stroll time: dusk or dawn? Until I saw it for myself, I could not believe what happens to colors one-half hour before sunset: they glow while everything else is hushed. It's now my very favorite time of day to be with the garden.