On the left there is overgrown Russian Sage. On the right is a giant weed (Goldenrod). Everywhere else is overrun with relentlessly spreading Lily-of-the Valley, an aggressively self-seeding pale yellow Scabiosa, an invasive grass, and another invasive weed whose name I don't remember.
How did it get this way? Well, there are several reasons. When we first moved here, the kids were young, and not involved in very many activities. They were content to play in the yard and pool with friends and neighbors. While they played, I gardened. I had a lot of time, so the gardens became extensive. Then the kids became more involved in other activities, and I was always in the car driving them, time became very short, the gardens suffered.
On top of the time issue, in the last couple of years, I have been having issues with arthritis in my hands, which has increasingly limited my weeding time.
Another factor in this messy garden situation is all the pass-along plants that I brought in in the early years. If friends want to give away plants, be very wary. There is a reason they want to give them away. Once the plants settle in, they will probably be invasive. In this particular garden, the emotional aspect of this makes the situation even trickier. The Lily-of -the Valley originally came from my Husband's Grandmother's house. The fact that they were one of the few plants left in her garden at the time should have warned me.
I'm pretty sure the invasive grass came from a bag of (cheap) grass seed that guaranteed grass anywhere. And the invasive weeds? Let's just say that a Husband who wants to practice organic lawn care really needs to spend much more time working on the lawn. These weeds aren't even something useful, like Dandelion!
A nasty situation, definitely. I have started trying to remedy the problem. In the middle of this next picture, you can see part of the same garden, where I have rescued a daylily from the clutches of the evil grass. I also dug out an entire bucket of Lily-of-the-Valley. I used to love it, but it has to go.
In this picture, the Black-Eyed Susan, and the pale yellow Scabiosa are self-sown. Originally there was also a well-behaved blue scabiosa, but that was choked out by the yellow one. I'm not sure how much of this will stay. The pink phlox in the background is a keeper.
Farther along in the same garden is a phlox called Laura, that I love. It will definitely stay. Behind it, the Rose-of-Sharon is in need of pruning, as it is overgrowing its space.
I have a love/hate thing with this shrub. As you can see, the double white blossoms are beautiful.
Until they fade, at which point, they look like dirty, crumpled, tissues. There are too many of them to deadhead. I try to use my special Gardener's Vision, and only see the pretty ones.
As for that overgrown Russian Sage in the first picture, it will get moved to some of the perimeter gardens, which will become mostly shrub beds. Perennials that I want to save from those areas will get moved to this garden. And that giant clump of Goldenrod? It's outta here!