Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Shopping Spree Starts Dressing a Naked Garden

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Shopping Spree Starts Dressing a Naked Garden

Article excerpt

Many years ago, a play called "The Women" by Claire Boothe Luce delighted audiences with what was considered a very naughty line at the time. Several of the all-woman cast were on a shopping trip when one of them exclaimed to the others, "Oh, to be naked with a checkbook."

This is somewhat the feeling I have this year as I start a new garden and fill in all the empty spaces - actually a naked garden - dressing it up with as many pretty things as my checkbook and credit card will allow.

As I wrote in a previous column, the former owner of my house, Verna Dierkes, was obviously a dedicated gardener. The unfolding of spring has brought a succession of bloom - a legacy from Dierkes. Ferns in profusion, Virginia bluebells, a pink rhododendron, a white azalea, much ajuga ground cover and a handsome border of hosta are among the happy surprises I've had.

I might have coasted on what was already planted, but there was that long stretch along the fence calling to be planted. Yes, there had been a garden border there, I was told, but as the gardener lived into her 90s she gradually gardened less, and the area was grassed over.

Two pine trees had been planted too close together, one knowledgeable inspector told me, and one should be moved or cut down. It's against my instincts to discard any plant that's green, so moving seemed indicated. Bill Morgan, Sappington Garden Shop's landscaper, came over with several husky lads to move the tree. Anything else I'd like done while they were there?

Well yes, there was that long grassy stretch that could be a flower border, I said. Of course. Just outline the border with a hose, Bill told me, and they'd dig it up.

They did more than just digging, turning over and amending the soil. They absolutely sculptured a gracefully undulating border along the fence. There it was - my naked garden waiting to be clothed. …

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