Saturday, October 3, 2009

Gardening Resolutions Check-Up


The combination of unprecedented amounts of rain and unanticipated life events combined to put the kibosh on this year’s gardening resolutions. The trunk of the 75-foot cherry tree still lies among the rhododendrons (perhaps I can make it a feature). It’s been tough to even keep this area weeded, although my Hay-scented ferns and Allegheny spurge have started to take off (this is their first year).

The lavender garden area has been expanded and the wall and stairs partially built, but there are no new plants, because Dan warned me that anything put there would likely get destroyed when more construction takes place. Blue Wild Rye Grass purchased for the wall planter and two Raspberry bushes that were to be moved will have to be overwintered in their pots. On the plus side, we harvested a bumper crop of lavender flowers and had time to shape the plants, cut out deadwood, etc.

We did get the Harleson and Winesap apple trees as planned, but decided it was better to plant them in the side yard, up on the berm and inside the deer fence.

Tomatoes, squash, and cucumbers were all dutifully started, but the cold and rain held blooms off until late July. It would be generous to say that the yield has been meager. Late blight attacked about half of the tomato plants at the beginning of September, even though I had grown them all from seed.

The end of the season was a bit more lively, with three varieties of Black-eyed Susans planted on the berm next to the Ligularia (yes, my Ligularia thrives in the sun, see http://loisdevries.blogspot.com/2008/09/bog-garden.html ), and Gentian borders in the Blue Garden and in front of the fountain.

I also fell in love with Heuchera Venus, which I used to put a spark of light into the White and Fern Garden. I knitted together the fountain border and a third flowerbed with this plant, which I anticipate will bring its own glow into three very shady areas.

We added a spot of color to our circular driveway with a Bartram-style cedar bench painted to match our front door.

Out front, we took down a juvenile Norway maple that was casting too much shade everywhere and replaced it with two lovely Serviceberry trees (Amelanchier grandiflora). While I would have preferred the native, these 5-foot tall nursery specimens are well-branched and were half-price at an end-of-season sale.

Eliminating the maple’s shade finally gave me a chance to fill up a rock-wall planter that Dan had made last year. We’re trying out some Scotch Broom, Heather, Flowering Kale, and Andorra Juniper, all of which are supposed to be deer-resistant. Sure hope those deer can read. Eventually, there will be some bulbs, as well.

Another end-of-season sale yielded four wonderful pots and a bird bath for just $80. The bird bath adorns the area opened up by removing the maple, so this space is finally beginning to look like it belongs to the rest of the garden.

I guess the lesson here is to recognize, with Robert Burns, that “The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men. Gang aft agley.” And then follow Jerome Kern’s advice to “Pick yourself up; dust yourself off; start all over again.”


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