Reflections on this summer in the gardens.
Admittedly I watered. A lot. We have a well. We have several rain barrels. We have two water outlets for hoses. We have 4 hoses which need re-configuring all the time to reach far off places.
We have a creek, which nearly dried up. Not good. There is a spring-fed pond where I can dip my watering can for a plant emergency drink. But we have shade areas as well as sunny spaces and that makes a huge difference as to how green some plants remained..
We have friends and a gardening neighbor to help when we must travel.
Since we couldn’t predict the future, we planted new apple trees this spring as well as Acer ‘Flame’, a Persian Parrotia shrub, a cutleaf Stephanandra, a Pearl Bush, Fallopia japonica variegata and more. These needed lots of attention and were a cause for anxiety. Repeatedly the nursery warned me NOT to drown them, that many people were over watering their new trees and killing them. Restraint was difficult.
The gardens began with an outstanding spring: Hellebores, Crocuses, Iris reticulata, Primulas, Tulips, Narcissus, Camassia – all did well. They flourished quickly and ended quickly with the early heat. Shasta Viburnum, Fringe Trees and Enkianthus all performed their best ever. The Solomon’s Seal of various kinds thrived. Poppies, Lupines and Columbines were outstanding. Hostas and Ferns were huge. Iris and Peonies were early.
Then came June: Dictamnus and Gillenia were lovely! The apricot foxgloves grown from seed last year bloomed splendidly.
The month of June was largely about roses and clematis though. They bloomed, sometimes intertwined, as never before! It was what everyone dreams of when they see photos of them. The dark Sambucus, in part sun, had lovely pale pink blooms. The variegated Sambucus bloomed for the first time in a decade! The delphiniums were tall and staked. No storms disturbed them.
July brought Echinaceas, Ornamental grasses, Euphorbias, Coreopsis, Baptisias, Yarrow, Amsonias, daylilies, Sedums, Hydrangeas, Solidago, and a fruiting artichoke I had grown from seed! Astrantias were fabulous as were Veronicastrum and Echinops. Ligularia is glorious by our creek, Amsonia hubrechtii superb as it changes over time. The ornamental grasses have hints of maroon and their influorescences have already appeared in many cases. Lavender has done well too.
The Astilbes were crisp as toast much of the time. The Phlox and Chocolate Eupatorium drooped by early afternoon every day, but recovered by late evening.
Already it is time to remove the spent Hosta blooms. Messy! The seedheads of clematis are lovely (not their browned foliage!) but the roses have needed to be deadheaded. They have new growth now. The Leucanthemum and Delphiniums were cut back and are showing their new growth as well.
The gardener is weary however. All the hose dragging has taken its toll. Seeing the gardens look very autumnal is odd in July. It is hard to know how to prepare for next year. I expect more odd weather patterns, but whether that means drought or storms with hail I cannot predict! The fact that we had almost no rain meant that storms did not knock over Peonies, Delphiniums or ornamental grasses, that Sedums did not open up in their centers until that one (hour long) storm finally arrived. Somehow the weeds thrived with heat alone, so the work was not easy in the sun. The bugs were not bad though. So for now, I’ll simply say” it was another year in the garden, different from any other, but with high points as well as the low.” What’s new?
We still have things to anticipate. I look forward to Fall. It is my favorite time of the gardening year! Our tree person (I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees…) will come to clean up a few large branch problems, safety issues. I love having the trees cared for. It is all a part of looking after our land.