As summer comes to a close – complete with drenching rains, high humidity, more rain, and none of the September weather we loved in the olden days – here are a few lessons learned in the garden.
- Don’t use angel wing begonias in the window box on the railing, they are totally out of proportion there and far too upright despite the way the flowers droop.
- Choose a constant bloomer for the hanging basket by the bird feeder, maybe the dull but reliable impatiens. This year’s begonia was glorious for a few weeks, then stopped blooming entirely.
- Give the milkweed LOTS of room to spread out, and be prepared for the aphids to cover it and the caterpillars to decimate it. Plus: you might see Monarchs eventually!
- Plant the Shirley poppies in late winter and choose colors carefully. They will bloom for months and months, so be sure their color blends with other bloomers (pinky white viburnum, various dahlias and zinnias). Here’s the pale yellow in August, still in bloom.
- No more tomatoes unless they are cherries. The patio tomato sulked, produced half a dozen tomatoes, and proceeded to rot. Plant the tomato in the raised bed and stand back!
- Hanging plant in front – never again a geranium, it dries out too quickly and fades away. Calibrachoa or another reliable bloomer instead.
- Feed the hungry: get a weekly fertilizer plan and do it. Ditto the twice-monthly fish emulsion for the roses.
- The Joe Pye weed was magnificent this year, I only hope it doesn’t get much bigger. The Souvenir de Ste. Anne rose twirled around it, as did the white cosmos, in a very delightful way.
- Speaking of roses, both the Zepherine Drouhin and the other re-bloomed a couple times over the summer, well worth having them around, even though the St. Anne got Japanese beetles and the Zeph lost leaves and got leggy.
Next year will be even better!!!