The gardening season started with a total re-do of the brick. Thanks to some friendly donations of newspaper, the walkways turned out great with hardly any weedage seeping through the cracks! At the end of the season, the height and spacing appear to have made it through quite nicely. Here’s a pic just following the major leaf clean-up just before Thanksgiving:
And so it is the happiest moment when the beds are put to sleep. Richly productive manure wraps each bed in a protective, nutritious layer. Thanks to Jerry and Gail at North Shore Equestrian Center for the black gold!
In reviewing goals I had set out in early June,
Goal 1: creating a stronger visual barrier between the quad and the fence on the south side of the quadrant.
(look past the lovely Crocosmia and red tomato cages, dear Reader!) Work here was tough. Both KP and I were stung by nettles that had sprouted there! Ouch, ouch baby. Not only was it treacherous, but it was also major ugly. It resulted in uninspired photography. Here is one distant capture of the area with joe pye weed and hypericum.
With the close of the season, though, KP got a yen to clean out some vines and pesky locusts. Look forward to next season when I can fill in even more desired plantings that aren’t too tall. We want to preserve the view across the channel in hopes of having a viewing platform. Or, since it’s all fantastical at this point, a hot tub.
Goal 2: creating sequential and continual interest throughout the summer.
This year was better than previous. I believe the antidote was cutting some stuff back after blooming and filling in with later blooming annuals. Of particular note, loved the Catharanthus roseus (aka Vinca) so I must be sure to look for it next season. The two versions of Caladium were absolutely awesome and 100% worth the few bucks HD charged. Here’s one version (left). These dahlia (right) I picked up from the local nursery, also from a bag, were awesome. No idea (unfortunately) as to the varietal name. The photo on the package also indicated this was more of an orange-ish red, but grew to be a brilliant brick red.
Goal 3: I wanted to do less maintenance along the perimeter and front of house; move detail work to quad so that more of my time and attention is focused on plant maintenance in the quad. The outcome? I did less in those peripheral areas, simply because I didn’t have the time or energy. Essentially, I just ignored them. But with guilt. Some unseasonable weather had given me two sunny days in the 50s so I was able to rake and tidy the nautilus and the south border bed.
What didn’t do so well ?
- The anemone didn’t do so well, but that may be because it is year 1. The purple “Mr. Fokker” came up white. Hope springs eternal for better blooms next season!
- One practice I don’t want to repeat for next season is salvia in the quandrant. I edged the southern end of the quadrant with this tall beauty. You may recall the tiny babies (left) that grew huge and attracted many bees. It was a bit intimidating to walk through the gauntlet of nectar-collecting bees! No one was stung, but the size and magnitude of the salvia probably contributed to the tomato delay. Since the picture on the right, I’ve cut them back and mulched them. If any of the plants overwinter, I’ll move them to the perimeter.
- In mid May, I sowed directly two varieties of carrots and beans around a configured repurposed trellis. The beans were failures. Only one trailer ever reached the top of the trellis and bloomed. The carrots didn’t need the shaded, protected area I created by the lean-to’s. They too (like the tomatoes) didn’t produce fruit until late September. The Atomic red’s were somewhat disappointing but the Amarillo yellow’s were quite profuse. As directed on the seed packet, I planted a smattering late in the summer. I’ll check to see if they’ve matured and been fruitful when we’re back in Southampton.
- The tomatoes suffered from their late start. Almost exactly around mid-September, I noticed that the tomatoes were all of a sudden growing differently. I believe that because the sun was lowering, the tomato plants were missing the early morning sun, and then had to compete with the salvia for the afternoon sun. I didn’t see green fruit until late August, and no ripe fruit until late September. By that time, it was getting too late in the season for any profusion. While I neglected taking photos of the ripe fruit (drats!), the tomatoes were beautiful and very, very tasty. Here’s some shots of their evolution:
P.S… The tomato cages from Gardener.com lived up to their advertising. I didn’t have to tie any plants to the cages, and they cleaned up so nicely at the end of the season. Easy squeezy.
- The celery seeds and the celery seedling plants I bought were a disappointment. The seedlings I started didn’t survive, and the seedlings seemed a bit deformed. Out of a full flat, only 4-5 survived the early fall. I’m now wondering if their proximity to the hellebores caused that (given the density of anti-freeze the hellebores produces, maybe?)
Perhaps the annual and perennial lessons gardening teaches is to look to future seasons for future successes. It is with those hopes in mind that I first offer thanks to all friends and neighbors who contribute to my happy gardening experience. With love and peace to all,