I dream of a large, beautifully landscaped garden, but unfortunately that requires an awful lot of maintenance. So, I have a little flower patch instead. All gardens started with that first patch, right? It is small, but manageable, which is perfect for me. Every year I add one or two things, so it is growing slowly and steadily. This year I have added a Nikko Blue hydrangea and some creeping phlox, and I have a carnation (dianthus) and an Easter lily waiting in the wings to be planted. So far, it contains peonies (which aren't blooming and will probably have to be moved), a couple of varieties of hosta, Japanese painted ferns, Moses in the cradle, and some mysterious lillies in a pot given to me last year by my mother-in-law. I am waiting to find out what color they are going to be before I commit them to the soil. This is a very tricky spot, too. It is underneath the southeast facing eave of our house, so it gets too much sun for the shade lovers (the hostas get singed by the hot midday sun) but not enough sun for the sun lovers (i.e. the aforementioned peonies). In our climate, full-sun does not really mean full sun. If I planted the peonies in the full sun they would burn up before they had a chance to bloom. Even the most sun-loving plants like tomatoes require afternoon shade here. It's hot people - really hot. So, garden success is a constant struggle for the right balance of sun and shade, and of course, soil amendments. Don't get me started on the nutrient-poor, rocky clay soil. Sheesh. It's a wonder and amazement that I even try at all! But, alas, the temptative possibility of decadent peonies and lush hostas and ferns bewitches me and keeps me trying year after year to get it right.