I had a beautiful Christmas cactus that bloomed every year, and I did nothing to it. I went away for a week or so, and no one watered it when I was gone, so that was the end of it.
It's been in the single digits here for the past few days. But today I went to a Md. Horticultural Society lecture by Kurt Blumel. Maryland is blessed with a great climate for gardening -- we can grow a huge variety of things. Kurt Blumel, originally from Czechoslovakia, then Switzerland, came here 40 years ago and started a nursery for perennials. Back then, there were so few perennial plants available on the market. In fact, to any of you who've been gardening for any length of time, you know that even in the late 80s and early 90s there wasn't the enormous variety we now have.
Blumel's nursery (in Harford County) hybridized hundreds of plants. He's the one who popularized ornamental grasses, for one thing.
Anyway, it was great to look at slides of gardens. He didn't have a whole lot of info that was new to me, but I was happy to hear him compare gardening to painting -- Before starting my garden design business 14 years ago, I painted portraits.
He also said that it was better to buy plants than to save money (of course he would -- this is his business) and that gardens are never finished, that you always need to practice.
Garden design is all about unexpected combinations of colors, shapes, textures...