A couple years ago our community club brought in three garden experts for an evening presentation. One of them, a fellow from Ohio, immediate caught my interest. He spoke clearly and plainly, with an obvious love and respect for plants and little or no interest in garden design trends. I held onto his business card, and last week made an appointment for him to come over for a garden consultation.
I was a concerned about what he might think of my garden, since I never seem to have enough time to apply all the special sprays and organic additives. But he liked it, and reassured me that the fungus that affected the pear tree this year was probably a result of the unusual spring weather and would not permanently damage the tree or threaten any other plans. His advice was to put plenty of Cedar Grove compost on the beds, and to use compost tea at least once a year. I've since made arrangements with the local compost tea person to have the whole garden treated later this month.
Calvin -- that's the gardener -- suggested two plants I might add to the garden: Sarcococca, also called "Christmas box," (a very small shrub with fragrant white flowers that bloom in the winter) and the hardy Geranium "Spinners," a particularly large and dramatic hardy Geranium with intense purple/blue flowers. I've had up to 40 varieties of hardy Geranium, but have never grown "Spinners."
It was a pleasure to be around someone who knows plants and enjoys gardens. He made improving the garden seem very do-able. Calvin will be back in January to prune the pear tree and execute a major remodeling of the gigantic camellia. Stay tuned for my upcoming adventures with the compost tea guy.