With the baby shower hosting gig just two days away, I had to be honest with myself about something I've been in denial about for quite some time. Our decorative grass plants that once gently graced our front flower bed weren't still in a winter slumber. No, they hadn't decided to morph from a lovely purple and green hue to that of autumnal straw. Sadly, they're dead, and they're not coming back to life.

We had lovingly cared for these plants, beginning our relationship with the utmost devotion, having planted them amid a torrential downpour.

We nurtured them through the long, hot summer months of 2012, ensuring their ideal level of hydration, and somehow managing to keep them safe from the harmful footfall of passing pedestrians and canine rain showers.

But by spring this year, as we alluded in an earlier post, things weren't looking too bright for our feathery friends. 

I attempted to trim them back in hopes they simply needed their dead ends to be pruned so they could flourish.

Now, with the passing of several months and the prime season for plants to make their post-winter debut, this is what we were left with. 

In other words, nada. As much as I didn't want to give up on them, I had no choice. With 20+ largely unknown guests coming to our home on Sunday for the big baby shower, I didn't want the first impression to be a lifeless, sparsely planted garden. 

In an effort to remedy the situation, I made a trip to our local Lowes to browse their garden selection. Admittedly plant care and gardening is well outside our wheelhouse, and it's almost as if Alex and I enter into a state of paralysis when entering a nursery. The choices seem overwhelming, our pulses quicken, and the shelves of flowers start to spin. How the heck, after all, are "Dumb and Dumber" going to make a successful selection? 

After way too much time, and hundreds of inspected plant tags later, I finally settled on three lavender plants as the replacements. 

I liked the silvery hue they would add to the space, and lavender is a personal favorite of Alex's. I may also have thrown away his clinging-to-life lavender plants from the back yard earlier this season, so it was only fair to bring this plant back in some way.

The project was relatively quick and easy. First, I brushed aside the mulch in order to dig up the old grass plants, being sure to dig a slightly larger hole than I needed. 

Then I sprinkled a bit of plant fertilizer in the hole, removed the new plants from their plastic tubs, and after loosening the roots, set them into their new locations.

After lightly tamping down the dirt, gently redistributing the mulch, and giving our new friends a nice healthy watering, we had a much more attractive and living addition to our front bed.

Though this isn't a project rivaling a kitchen or bathroom renovation, it's one of those little things that help to keep our house from looking like "that house" on the block. The jury's still out on how this front area of our home will ultimately transform, as Alex is still holding out hope he can find a reasonably priced fence that would look good for the surrounding area, but I'm quite happy with it and it's modest and open look. I'm very much looking forward to watching the lavender flourish over the summer. There's just something quite relaxing about a lush lavender bush.

Have you been working on any minor of major gardening projects lately? Since I've been up to my eyeballs with the shower planning and prep I was happy to get this little task checked off of my list. 

Comments 18

Comments

Sam
5/24/2013 at 1:48 PM
Looking good! Be warned though, lavender in the ground will basically grow as big as the whole earth given half the chance, which is no bad thing because it smells amazing but still!
Wendy
5/24/2013
Thanks, Sam! Does that means with my black thumb, they'll stay normal sized? ;-)
Margie
5/24/2013 at 2:02 PM
I love lavender. It prefers to be on the dry side though. I killed a few plants with too much water, thinking I was doing a good thing. I spent the majority of the day yesterday trying to rid my front hillside garden of thistle. Thistle doesn't care what the conditions are; once it takes hold be ready for a fight.
Wendy
5/24/2013
Good to know, thanks Margie! Maybe this means when we forget to water the flowers, the lavender will feel right at home? :-)
5/24/2013 at 3:35 PM
Cute. I love lavender, and I believe I was told it repels mosquitos? Maybe just oil? Either way - it looks great!
phyllis
5/24/2013 at 3:38 PM
I heard that too, Bekah, but I've never tried it. Maybe I should since I live in mosquito country here in TX. Lol.
Wendy
5/24/2013
I sure hope it repels mosquitos! They're already coming in droves to our home!
phyllis
5/24/2013 at 3:36 PM
It looks great! I concur with both Sam and Margie; lavender is prolific and likes it dry. However, it will play nicely with the Dianthus that you've planted alongside. Is that 'Firewitch' or 'Bath's Pink' you've planted? Both are good options and pretty hardy. I can't get either lavender or dianthus to live here in TX; it's too hot! Good luck with the shower!
Wendy
5/24/2013
Uhhh, fire who? Neither Dumb nor Dumber here has a clue! :-) (Where's our reader Thad when you need him?)

Thanks for the well wishes on the shower. The weather is supposed to be gorgeous!
5/24/2013 at 4:40 PM
Ha, I got suckered in by the same grass last year - bought it at Lowes, loved it all summer and fall, and this spring, nothing. So it's not just you, and I don't buy anything that doesn't say perennial (maybe it's perennial in California?)! The lavender will be beautiful . . .
Wendy
5/27/2013
So glad I'm not the only one that fell for the grass! I should have read the tag more carefully, but I think the lavender will be a better choice longterm. Did you replace your grass with another plant, Meg?
bfish
5/25/2013 at 7:14 AM
Lavendar is lovely and definitely should survive into next year and beyond!

Your experience with the grass (which I now remember is called purple fountain grass) tweaked a memory that I'd commented that it was an annual when you wrote about planting it last year (post was in June). And it turns out I did mention it -- sorry to be all "I told you so" but it's there in black and white. :)

Don't be daunted by gardening; I've been down the road many times of losing plants and am now pretty sanguine about the whole thing as the errors have contributed to what I know as much as the successes!
Wendy
5/27/2013
Wow, great memory! Clearly I should have read the tag more carefully before I purchased the purple fountain grass, but I'm really happy so far with how the lavender looks, so I'll consider it a happy accident! :-)
5/25/2013 at 10:30 PM
After reading the title, I thought you were going to say that grass was out of style this year. So glad to hear that my yard is not dated. ;)
Wendy
5/27/2013
Haha. Yes, grass is definitely sooo last season. :-)
5/26/2013 at 3:46 PM
Maybe the grass will make a comeback now just to be contrary! I think it looks gorgeous anyway what you are doing there in front of your lovely home.
Wendy
5/27/2013
Thanks, Jenny! :-) The lavender is looking good (and we haven't killed it yet), so fingers crossed it decides to stick around...unlike its tall, slender friend.
8/7/2013 at 10:55 PM
To get the most out of your lavender and keep it from getting woody at the bottom, you'll want to give it a good 'haircut' after it's done blooming--which is probably about now. If you're lucky, you'll get another bloom this year, but you'll definitely see it double in size over the next couple years if you vigorously cut it. You'll want to do what you tried to do with the grass when it was already dead. Just cut if off (scissors or clippers should do the job) about 2 inches above the base of the green part. It might seem drastic, but trust me--the lavender will love it.
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