The gardening season is over for 2007. It seems like just a few weeks ago that it began and now we've had our first killing frost (last night). Much of what was vibrant and alive yesterday is black and hanging limp today. Oh, there's plenty of green out there yet, but I feel like I can now sit back and look back and say, "It was a good year."
'Zowie' zinnias were new to my garden this year and while I wasn't all that impressed with them at the start, as the season progressed 'Zowie' proved to live up to its name. Color definitely made them a winner and was the reason I planted them in the first place. But beyond that, I was impressed with the germination rate of the seeds (100%), the staying power of the blooms (each bloom looked good for weeks), and the health of the foliage from one end of the main stem to the other.
I also grew other cultivars ('Whirligig', 'Chippendale', and 'Candy Cane') so I was able to compare 'Zowie with these and overall, 'Zowie' outperformed the others. I don't know if I've ever grown a zinnia that didn't have foliage afflicted with mildew until 'Zowie' came along. I'll definitely grow them again next year.
The hellebore seeds that I planted last fall germinated and are slowly growing in the shaded bed behind the trellis. Hopefully by next spring I can transplant them to other locations. The seeds were complimentary from Winterwoods, so I'm happy to have experienced success with them.
We finally got that small pond put in this summer. It still needs more rocks around it, but there's plenty of time to find those by next spring. I think the cats and Simba (our dog) liked the pond as much as we did because I found them helping themselves to a drink from it quite often.
Another project that was completed was the wood deck over the part of the cement surrounding the pool that had settled creating a discrepancy between it and an adjacent section. We extended that to the nearby existing deck around a large oak tree.
A flagstone walkway was set in from the patio to the pool. Irish moss and creeping thyme now grow in between the flagstones and the walkway is well on its way to looking like it's always been there.
We discovered wild grapes growing behind our house along Cunningham's Ditch. I wish I'd kown before that they were there, because I would have learned how to make wild grape jelly long ago. We are just now finishing up the last jar of it and I've already got plans to make strawberry jelly as well as more grape jelly next year.
I planted several English roses for the first time. While they are strong growers and have an amazing fragrance and form, one thing I don't like is that they generally are weak-stemmed. Maybe as they continue to grow over time they'll overcome that.
The garden was once again host to several swallowtail and Monarch caterpillars, so the garden earned its designation as a Certified Monarch Waystation. One of the Monarch cats was brought into the house and metamorphosed into a butterfly there.
We started a compost pile at the end of July and we're watching it grow and shrink and grow and shrink as time goes on. No finished compost yet, but it's well on its way. Each time I turn it, I can see the progression of decomposition from bottom to top. It's looking good on the bottom, but it needs more time in order for it to be worthwhile to harvest for the garden. We will add to it with leaves we're in the process of raking and other dead plant material from the garden as that continues to wind down for the year. On the agenda for next spring is for Romie to construct a bin for the compost. I don't like looking at just a heap of dead stuff, even if it is located in the back corner of the property.
The bed in front of the porch was replanted this summer due to the death of everything that was planted there previously (vinca and flowering almond). Variegated euonymus and several grasses were used and all are looking good.
Several new hydrangeas were planted around the oak tree deck, including a variegated, both cultivars of Endless Summer, and Forever and Ever. A couple of them are still blooming now. I'd like to have an oak leaf hydrangea although I don't think I'd plant that with these.
Mom and I had lots of wonderful adventures visiting flower shows and botanical gardens. Grand total for the year: 9
Romie and I made our second trip to Marie Selby Gardens in Sarasota in March, and I visited Gene Stratton Porter's Limberlost in July.
Yes, it was a good gardening season. Time for the garden and gardener to rest and think about plans for next year.