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Jelly beans and flower beds

I have bought many pounds of “Jelly Belly” jelly beans. I rarely eat them but clients and staff seem to do away with them at a awesome pace. I usually keep a faux crystal jar on my desk. Every color in the rainbow is in there.

The profusion of color some how brings joy to those who are addicted.

What is true of Jelly Bellies is not necessarily true in flower beds. For many years I thought it was. I have wasted hundreds of dollars if not thousands buying one of a whole lot of different kinds of plants. The results was similar to the Jelly Bellies but not really. It more looked like that basket in the laundry where there are lots of sox but only one of each.

In looking at other gardens, I began to notice that the ones that I liked most planted in threes or fives or some odd number. It always frightened me the cost to buy more than one of a plant. Now all those years have passed and some of my ones have multiplied. Some of them are not just aggressive but dangerous. If you look south and you see a white mass moving north it is not mold it is worse, my goose necked loosestrife has escaped the farm. I could go on and on. On the other side and perhaps more tragic is the dozens of plants that I planted one at a time. Usually it was not long before it died for want of companionship or I finally was tired of the way it looked and killed it kind of like Dr Jack K.

Finally at last in a Master Gardeners class I was told the secret of a beautiful garden. Plant in groups of three or five or some multiple of those numbers. If you insist on one make sure it is a specimen worthy of the usage. The other aspect is to repeat the plant further down the bed. A bed made up in the main of a few colors has a peaceful harmony about it. Now wonder my garden had to go for counseling as it was stressed by all the ones.

The practical application: As you pursue the garden catalogs, keep telling yourself 3,5,7, etc. Resist the urge to buy one of each. Yes I know that $29.95 for three plants is a lot of money. Consider that it will make a good display that all of us will swoon over. On three you get a price break. If you order three different plants you get a disorganized planting that even the most charitable of us will grimace when we look.

Please take all this to heart. Otherwise the number police, the drift police and the color police will arrive at your house and ruin your repetition with your fellow Master Gardeners

John Acuff






Nov 2017
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