I think it's fair to say that 2010 was an excellent year in my garden mainly because most everything was gaining some maturity. In other words the garden no longer looked like it should have been stamped 'Under Construction' (well, most of it anyway).
The year started out with outrageous hard freezes and is ending the same way. January's freezes gave me several 50-cent flats of dianthus and pots of plumbago courtesy of Lowe's clearance racks, and I think the freezes may be the ones I need to thank for almost no thrips last spring. This sad view from January 26th shows burned out liriope and barely visible rose bushes still fitting into their 2009-size clothes.
February and March brought my micro irrigation system which, if nothing else, taught me that even the most frustrating and painful experiences can be godsends. I lost my temper so many times while trying to punch holes in that 1/2" poly tubing. Arrrgh! But this year I have "a tool" that should make it easier to do the planned improvements to the system which absolutely made my roses happier with daily morning watering. Here's a photo of the front garden on March 15th. You can see the old soaker hoses waiting for the trash man and a few of the new sprinklers. You can also see the garden just waking up, having been fed, composted and mulched, but it seemed like last spring would never arrive!
On May 1st I had my first Open Garden, taking a week's vacation to get the garden meticulously prepared and as perfect as it had ever been. Very gratifying and very exhausting. During the week before absolutely everything was in bloom, on April 30th less was blooming, and on May 1st the temperature shot up over 90 - so much for a cool spring stroll through the garden. 'Louis Philippe' looked fabulous...the week before.As did the tea rose, 'Mrs. B. R. Cant'.
But it was a lovely day, and most of the garden was showing its stuff very prettily.
|The back garden didn't get enough attention or the right companion plants in 2010. It's hoping I'll treat it with more love next year.|
Later in May 'Red Cascade' was showing off, and Ellie is camera shy.The companion plants that I had set out before spring broke were my pride and joy this year. They filled the spaces between the roses perfectly and gave it the cottage garden look that I have come to love. I splurged on dozens of evergreen reblooming daylilies in the fall of '09. They were fantastic even in their first year. The mounding dianthus is a wonderful plant in my garden, effected not at all by 20 degree temps or even 95 degree days. They disguise the brown mulch with a lovely bright green. Very pleasing! The tall dianthus thrilled me by coming back in the spring and lasted well into the heat of summer, probably was still blooming into August. Of course, my fave is echinacea. Love, love, love them. I was overjoyed when they had added to their numbers in the spring, and I made a point of dropping their spent seed heads all around the ground so fingers are crossed that they'll pop up everywhere! Plus I managed to find 3 pots of them on the clearance rack in November.
June, of course, was lovely and naturally hot, but nothing seemed to mind as long as the garden was getting its daily morning misting. I was really surprised that even late in the afternoon it was moist a few inches under the mulch. That made me a very happy gardener! Below is an early hybrid tea, 'Madame Abel Chatenay', bred sometime before 1895.
The double Hollyhocks - one pink and one rose - that I started from seeds last winter were an absolute surprise - not just to me but to my friend who could not believe they were still blooming in July. They are my kind of frilly flower, and they looked striking, standing tall in the middle of the bed. I tried to start some more seeds this fall, but every single one of them failed to survive after sprouting. I'll try again in January. By the way one of the two plants is still green and not bothered at all by temps in the 20's. Amazing.
Another favorite (my, aren't they all!!) is this tea named 'Souvenir de Francois Gaulain from 1889. His silvery magenta flowers are rare for tea roses, most of them being of the pastel persuasion. Here he is a little over a year old and just full of buds in hot September. He seems to be a type of tea that grows slowly low and wide before it gets taller, and he has beautiful, healthy foliage!
The pale yellow rose above is a 'found' tea rose, 'Bermuda's Anna Olivier' shown as she looked on July 29th. Do you see any blackspot or are all those flowers just hiding it all? A very effective camouflage, wouldn't you say? 'BAO' absolutely loves the heat, so much so that she was a late starter to get going in spring. She is a fabulous shrub in my garden.
|This winter of 2010 brought me a greenhouse - a 5x6 pop-up greenhouse to be exact. Today I was watering the plants in it, and AAACK! A black snake was in there. I know they're friends, but truly they give me the willies!!!|
Yes, 2010 was a grand year for this gardener. Not to say everything is just the way I want it. No doubt, that will never happen! But I definitely got smarter, more savvy about what gardening is all about, less apt to make rash decisions and yet quicker to see when a plant is not working in the garden scene. Some have called me ruthless, but the fact is I'm not getting any younger, and my garden should be just that -- my garden.
P.S. Here's the list of roses that left us in 2010 (but some live elsewhere):
Don Juan (all but the stump)
Fortune's Double Yellow
Gartendirektor Otto Linne
Jean Bach Sisley
Climbing Madame Caroline Testout
Climbing White Maman Cochet
Marie Nabonnand (all but the stump)
Mrs Dudley Cross
R Roxburghii plena 'The Chestnut Rose'
Happy New Year, everybody!!