Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Triumphs and Tragedies

Here we are in the final days of 2012 and I thought, let's take one last look at what was this past season.  Sometimes I struggle with thinking I have not accomplished very much.  Frustration sets in.

Then a glance through a season's photos, my but there's been some changes.  It wasn't all bad was it?

The flower bed that started out like this in April.  Weedy and bare.  Grass creeping in.


At the end of summer, although not complete, the flower bed actually had flowers.



I still have frustration that this bed isn't complete.  Part of me asks why it wasn't possible to finish the darn thing.  But then, what's the hurry?  Regardless of what I accomplish this season there will still be weeding, mulching and planting next season.

I was surprised and delighted to find how quickly columbine will grow from seed.  On the far right of this bed you can see a bare triangle of dirt.  I threw some columbine seed taken from my Bowen garden into that triangle patch.  Would they take hold?



Obviously columbine seed has a fairly good shelf life.  Several years and several moves later not only did the seed take hold they GREW.  


To the left and behind the hosta are the bright green leaves of columbine
By the end of August the plants were full size.  They did not bloom but they will next season, and what a surprise that will be.  Columbine like to party amongst themselves in the promiscuous sense (cross pollination is the technical term) and I had a collection of different varieties in my previous garden.  These seedlings should prove to be an interesting mix of sizes and colours.

I recently discovered a lovely triumph.  After a very hot and very dry summer I thought the transplanted spruce we put in the meadow and hedgerow might be done for.  The grass and plants grew up around them and we couldn't find them to water during the summer months.  They should have been toast.  But in November as the grass died and fell back we discovered lumps of green.  The shade of the weeds preserved these evergreens and they appear to be growing just fine thank you very much.

These tiny spruce were planted in spring and then disappeared under a wave of grass.
Not all was great this season.  I made some bad choices.  I moved the red elderberry from the flower bed and it choked.  I put it in the new mixed shrub border and I guess it doesn't want to mix?  Only one branch is alive now.  If it survives this winter I will have to try another location come spring.

Elderberry buds held such promise in spring.  Now most of the branches have died.
Another issue - that darn mock orange eludes me again.  I bought this shrub my first gardening season here and it sat for months in a pot while I looked for an appropriate location.  My first choice was by the shed in front of the house.  After languishing a year it looked half way dead.  This year I thought, try another spot, not enough sun, it will be happy.  Well the good news is it didn't die - yet.


This is a dreadful photo but there's no point dressing it up, this plant looks awful.  Buried in grass, some leaves at the base but otherwise dead branches poking everywhere.  I'll try and clear out around it next season and dump some compost but I get the feeling this plant just doesn't like me.  We were not meant for one another?

And then there's my never ending urge to dig things up out of the ditch and bring them home.  You can blame my mother for that tendency.  She never left home without a shovel.  The problem is I never seem to know what it is I'm digging up.  The Cornus alternafolia I was so gleeful about has turned out to be a Beech.  Nothing wrong with that particularly.  In fact, beech should be preserved as they are falling prey to canker and this one would otherwise have been taken out by roadwork that was completed shortly after I took it away.

Those ridged leaves mean beech not dogwood!
But it's not the flowering dogwood I so prized.  Identify, and then dig, girl!

32 comments:

  1. You have so much to be proud of. What a good job. Just keep on carrying on.

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    1. That's really all it is isn't it? Keep plugging away and one day I'll look back and a garden will be there.

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  2. There is so much forward movement in your garden, and a garden is about change, sometimes it changes quickly, and others slowly.

    I look at mine, and I chide myself, why didn't I, why not this, not that, when will this get done....it's silly. We all need to just be.

    Looking forward to the spring, that's me.

    Jen

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    1. The photos have been so good to have. When I think I haven't accomplished much all I need to do is check my photos and I can really see the changes. I worry too much about it I guess.

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  3. PS, thanks for the hint about the columbines, definitely on my spring list.

    Jen

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    1. Jen, if you have any shade these are such lovely plants. Part sun is good in my experience. Funny that I've never grown them from seed before as I had quite a pile of it. But most of my plants were gifts out of my mothers garden.

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  4. I absolutely love the mental image of a woman who never left home without a shovel. That's going to keep me smiling for a long time.

    Your triumph of the flower bed (even unfinished) is an inspiration --- see what you can do? The before and after photos are great. It will be fun to see the columbines come up. I found that my self sown columbines all tended to come purple after a few years.

    Have a happy new gardening year!

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    1. Laurrie, my parents were forever on road trips that usually involved getting out in the bush. A shovel and some plastic bags were always kept in the back of the truck and inevitably my mother would find something to dig up. It's one of those funny memories I have from childhood.

      I'm quite curious what these columbine will look like. I had the native red variety but also some double purples and pinks as well as a very large yellow variety. The seeds could be just about anything.

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  5. Your garden has shown some wonderful progress. I am looking forward to Spring already. LOL! Have a wonderful New Tear ahead.

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    1. Lona, I can't wait for spring either. Too bad winter is just getting started here!

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  6. I guess we all have our gardening ups and downs. That new bed looks great. Waiting to fill it in allows you to figure out what does really well and add more.

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    1. Good point Carolyn, I can see already that some plants have struggled while others have taken right off. I think that will definitely steer my garden plans.

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  7. I always carry a shovel in the back of my car so I had to smile at the comment about your mother. I think you have made immense progress in your garden. It is always a good idea to take before and after photos (something I often forget to do) because it really does show the vast change. Looking forward to reading more about your triumphs and tragedies (hopefully not too many) in 2013. Happy New Year!

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    1. LOL, so it's not just my mom who does this! I tend to be pretty careful where I find things, usually just our ditch or the field behind us but my mom was rather indiscriminate sometimes. One thing I have loved about blogging is the record I have of creating this garden. I sometimes find myself looking back at old posts and it's nice to see where I started from.

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  8. Hi Marguerite: I planted a mock orange bush here probably five yrs. ago and the number of blossoms I get is always disappointing but I planted it because it reminded me of my grandmother so I keep it..don't give up on yours, it may surprise you..you inspire a lot of people with your pictures, your gardening experiences, hopes and dreams..go easy on yourself, I think you are amazing..happy spring gardening..Lannie

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    1. Lannie, I really really hope that mock orange changes its mind but I'm willing to accept if it wants to die too. I hate fighting with plants ;-) Thank you for your kind words, hopefully one day you can come see the garden yourself.

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  9. Ha! My Mom used to swipe ditch plants, as well. And, I am carrying on the tradition. I have a similar area in my yard that I just get finished. It's frustrating. Not sure why I'm such a procrastinator. Ah well, there's always next season. :)

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Another ditch digger! hmmm, seems like I started a confessional here. maybe we need to start posting about all the things we've dug up.

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  10. Marguerite, you must have excellent conditions for columbine, mine do not grow nearly so fast. Although mine are all A. canadensis, maybe that makes a difference.

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    1. Jason, some of the seeds I planted should be canadensis so not sure what is making the difference. I was surprised to see the plants so big but figured they were just fast growing. In the past I've always planted full grown plants so this was the first time from seed.

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  11. It's a nice exercise to go back through the photos of the year and see what's been accomplished. You should be feeling very productive - you've made lots of progress! Hoping you have a wonderful 2013!

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    1. Thanks Cat. I'm hoping to really go through all my photos in the coming weeks. I need to weed out all the extras and I love going through the past season and seeing all the changes that have occurred. Best wishes to you in the new year!

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  12. My columbine don't grow that fast either! My wee bitty seedlings in the spring are still small by fall. It takes mine a few seasons to get very large. My heat/humidity might slow them down. Of course, so could being peed on by 4 dogs. ;o)

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    1. Okay Tammy, now I'm wondering if I just have superman style columbine. No idea what's going on here. The soil is newly amended with lots of compost and they're in part shade so it is ideal conditions. But the hosta planted beside them sure haven't grown this fast. Now I'm really curious what they will look like next spring.

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  13. Dear Marguerite, You show the importance of photographing our gardens throughout the year. Reviewing my pictures, I also found there were accomplishments in my garden when I thought I hadn't achieved much. Your new flower bed is amazing! Happy New Year! P. x

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    1. good point Pam, it's amazing when you look back at photos how different things are than what we remember in our minds eye. There is so much I forget about by seasons end. Have a great new year and best wishes.

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  14. You can feel very proud of your new flowerbed, Marguerite--the before and after photos really show what you accomplished. The late summer blooms are beautiful! I chuckled at your digging up plants from the ditch. I've done that before, with lots of curious stares from passersby, and rarely have I gotten what I thought I was getting:) Here's to a blooming good New Year!

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    1. Another digger! we need to start a club :) I'm always so leery of people seeing me dig things up. My mother had no shame whatsoever, she'd stop on the side of a highway if something caught her eye. Have a wonderful new year and best wishes to you and your family.

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  15. your garden is coming together beautifully, marguerite .. it really is an inch by inch process, isn't it .. and timing comes in there, too .. when the time's right the rest of that one bed will be done and you'll be on to the next thing ..
    wonderfull ..
    best of the new year to you ..

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    1. Thank you Jane, I think part of my frustration is that the next thing is already planned in my head and I want to get working on the next project and the next project. More ideas in my head than time :)

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    2. know what you mean .. the last part of any project is, to me, always the most difficult .. to finish something before starting the already envisioned next .. good luck with that! .. just kidding .. ;-) ..

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  16. I have this wonderful image of the womenfolk in your family travelling the globe with shovel in hand. Just in case... And hey, plenty of time for identification after rescue! As someone who shares your tendency to impatience on the "why haven't I managed to finish that yet?" front, can I just point out how great that "unfinished" border looks?! As to the mock orange, I wouldn't be surprised if, with a bit of clear ground around it, it didn't recover and reward you with that lovely fragrance.

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