This has been the best gardening year I can remember. Until a dry spell arrived in September, we enjoyed consistent rainfall and moderate temperatures. There is nothing like moist soil and a cool morning to draw a gardener into the garden, and that’s where I went, leaving my blog behind me. Here are some of the things that have been delighting me.
Two hot-blooded plants finally take off
I’ve always grown cannas in pots. It seemed to make sense since I was just going to have to dig them up or let them die. But they rarely bloomed and never got very big. Quite possibly I didn’t realize how big they could get. This year, a friend gave me some and all the pots were spoken for, so I planted in them in the roadside bed in a spot where a peony would go in the fall.
I’ve also grown dahlias in pots for many years. It just seemed so easy to store them in the basement that way. But I had grown dahlias in the ground, too, and never seen them get like this:They still didn’t bloom until September. As a matter of fact, my other dahlia, Karma Prospero, still hasn’t bloomed. Both of these dahlias were sent to me by Craig Levy, a CCG contributor, in 2011. They had spent several years in pots and didn’t really grow well last year. So I planted them in the ground, and boy, did they appreciate it!
The Slope Garden Renovated
The Slope Garden was the only garden bed here when we moved in. Unamended clay, lots of rock, and no level ground made it difficult to weed–and since it was left to its own devices for more than a year before we moved in four years ago, the weeds had a very big head start, not to mention some of the more opportunistic perennials. This was the first year I managed to weed the entire thing, and, thanks to my son Evan, it was mulched as well. I was so-o-o-o happy to achieve this milestone.“Go big or go home” is my motto for the Slope Garden, and hardy hibiscus fit the bill. The hotter the summer, the faster they grow, so none of them bloomed before September this year. The ornamental grass above was already in the Slope Garden when we moved in and I have no idea what it is. Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica ‘Rubra’) is considered invasive in warmer climates–at least, the taller, green form is. For years I though it wasn’t hardy here, but Deborah Banks, who gardens in a colder climate than mine, gave me some from her garden, and it is slowly knitting together. These colchicums are blooming in the Slope Garden. Lots of colchicums are blooming now, but I’ll save the rest of them for a post of their own.
Still more delightsTesselaar Roses sent the Pink Supreme Flower Carpet rose for me to trial. Once they got going (they were small plants when shipped), they’ve been blooming non-stop. The alyssum is a sample from Renee’s Garden Seeds, and the golden feverfew is a passalong plant. It took the alyssum all summer to get to any size, as I just sprinkled it on the ground instead of starting it indoors, and I didn’t even get the feverfew until mid-July, so this tableau is just coming into its own. You can see the rose and the feverfew in the photo of the roadside bed at the beginning of the post. Three plants of this Calibrachoa, sent by Proven Winner to trial, nicely filled a 20-inch container. It won’t be available in garden centers until next year. As with the alyssum, direct-sown cosmos don’t really start blooming until September. Kind of a bummer, since they will shrivel up in the first frost. But these Double Click cosmos from Renee’s Garden were worth waiting for!
I can’t remember when I’ve been able to immerse myself in gardening as I have this year. I know non-gardeners consider gardening to be work, but I get so absorbed in what I’m doing that I don’t even notice getting scratched or banged until hours later when I’m cleaning up. I hope that you’ve been able to enjoy this gardening year as well.
Inspired by the words of Elizabeth Lawrence, “We can have flowers nearly every month of the year,” Carol of May Dreams Gardens started Garden Bloggers Bloom Day. On the 15th of every month, garden bloggers from all over the world publish what is currently blooming in their gardens, and leave a link in Mr. Linky and the comments of May Dreams Gardens.