The Suitcase Lady


June 22, 2010, 11:06 pm

The mint died. Those three word sum up our gardening abilities. How could two people who love plants so much have such tragically ungreen thumbs?

Nevertheless, our attempt to create a natural yard enters its fourteenth season with some glimmers of hope despite the empty spot the mint formerly occupied. More than three quarters of the prairie and meadow plants that we put in last summer have returned. Joe Pye Weed ( an excellent meadow plant despite its name) did take his own good time coming back, but one day he poked up his head. The milkweed patch is thriving thanks to my husband’s valiant efforts to remove the crown vetch that had invaded the milkweeds’ turf.

The biggest success and mystery is the return of the little blue stem. Several years back, we seeded the entire front patch with this lovely prairie grass. For some unknown reason, the grass came up in only one quarter of the place we planted it, but that quarter is gorgeous. We gladly will view this as the grass one quarter full as opposed to three quarters empty.

Buoyed by our horticultural successes, we visited The Flying Pig in Algoma, Wisconsin, to purchase more plants for the meadow. I am completely smitten by the Flying Pig. This lovely establishment combines an art gallery with a plant nursery, a truly inspired combination. If the ladies who run it charged admission, I would gladly pay. They have created an enchanted space, both indoors and out.

We loaded our car with plants recommended for their stalwartness with both lousy soil and bumbling gardeners. By the end of July and August we invite everyone up to see how our garden grows. Prairie plants peak at this time, but we don’t make any promises.

8 Comments for this entry

  • Jen

    No way, the mint? That stuff is taking over the pond and we rip it out every year. Thus year, however, we have discovered the pleasures of the mojito, made esp. well with local mint! So I guess I’ll let the rest be!

  • John

    Mint and died have never happened together for me either….seems ironic given the minty weather in Cleveland. Must be all the sandy soil…It is sandy in Annapolis and the mint must be purchased, which seems nuts.

    In Indiana the mint was easier to grow than Crabgrass. At Annapolis, our version of Jen’s mint takeover is wild strawberries. Would prefer the mint… short of scraping the soil down to clay, the strawberries are permanantly perennial… and the strawberries are too small to convert to daiquiris…


  • Mary

    It’s a good thing we have a Fleet Farm nearby. They sell replacement mint each spring.

  • Carol Langkabel

    Although my gardening abilities about equal my abilities with the computer, my mint has never died. Instead it took over the lawn. I am not familiar with little blue stem, but it sounds like something I would love. I, also love the Flying Pig. I am looking forward to making a day trip up there sometime this summer.

  • Mary

    Carol… We would love to go up to the Flying Pig with you – anytime.

  • Robyn Mulhaney

    I will put the end of July on my calendar for a visit – we can sort out the mint mystery together.

    Thanks for the kind words about our place. We love it, too!

  • evie

    Mary–Mint? Isn’t that the stuff that grows like a weed and takes over your entire garden if you’re not careful??? e

  • Donna Hammond

    I have also been enchanted with the Flying Pig…a true treasure for the gardener or the “looker”. One fun place filled with friendly good cheer (and Coffee!)