It seems odd to be discussing lessons learned from the spring, when springtime weather is long-gone. For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, I know some of you, too, have reported unusual weather this past season. I can't believe tomorrow is the first full day of summer here—we've had hot weather for weeks!
We're in a bit of a drought here in Dane County, Wisconsin. It has rained north, south, east, and west of here, but the soil here is cracking and crops are languishing. Dane County is among the most bountiful agricultural counties in the Midwest. But the farmers are more nervous with each passing day without rain. Adding high winds and 90+ temperatures for several days makes the outlook even more concerning.
I don't know if you can tell from this photo, but the grass has gone dormant. That's OK, but some of the new plants need a deep drink. The Cotoneaster in the foreground is doing just fine and I haven't watered it at all. But it likes to dry out between waterings.
The established perennials in the backyard look like they typically do this time of year, but they're in deep shade. Unfortunately, they're showing signs of stress, too. I'll keep you posted on the rainfall, but in the meantime I've been watering potted plants, new perennials, and the kitchen garden regularly—to stay ahead of the drought.
And yet, this post is about garden lessons learned in the crazy season we're just now exiting. Thank you to those who participated in the meme! Bloggers who linked in included:
Karin at Southern Meadows. I thought spring was early here, but Karin says her spring weather began in February and quickly morphed to the 90s in early May. Her No.1 advice rings true for me: Don't think you can outsmart Mother Nature! Karin's plans for a late harvest of cool season vegetables didn't work out exactly as planned. Karin's post also includes some excellent lessons and photo captures of caterpillars and snakes!
Girl Sprout NM. She offers a creative take on combining memes in one post. And she cautions: If you decide to plant fussy trees, be ready for the consequences. Unfortunately, one of her Aspens has a canker disease. She advises being grateful for the benefits of weather anomalies, and preparing for the extra care plants need during a drought. Take a look at her impressive square-foot garden.
Michelle at The Sage Butterfly. I must admit, her advice is so important, but sometimes quite difficult to do: Breathe purposefully. The ground never froze in Michelle's garden during the winter, so spring was on hyper drive when it hit. She advises us to accept what comes, realize nature rules, and acknowledge that change is good!
Holley at Roses and Other Gardening Joys. Sunflowers are the highlight of Holley's lessons. It's the first year she has planted them, and she can't wait to get out in the vegetable garden each day. Holley's advice: Grow something fun in your vegetable garden. And make sure you drink a soda now and then. To find out why, check out her post!
Donna at Garden's Eye View. Donna also covered several memes in her post. Among her lessons: Even an experienced gardener like Donna can admit that she doesn't have it all under control. "I am now convinced that I don't know what a typical spring means anymore," she says. "I need to be more like the frog and just go with it." Donna has also discovered the joys of early morning gardening—out of necessity because of the heat.
Rose at Prairie Rose's Garden. The most encouraging part of Rose's post is the lesson about individual creativity and personality in the garden. She attended the Garden Bloggers' Fling in Asheville, N.C., and says the most important lesson she learned there is that no two gardens are the same, and it's OK to bend the "rules" to reflect your own personal style. "It took seeing so many different gardens over the course of a few short days, each with their own special style," she says, "to realize that I don't have to copy someone else's garden, and that my small and often chaotic garden is just fine."
Please visit these excellent posts—I guarantee you'll enjoy them, and you'll learn something new in the process. And check out the comments section on the "lessons learned" post for more garden suggestions and observations. Did I miss anyone? If so, let me know and I'll add you in.
I'm a little distracted and worried about my garden and the local farmers' crops. We need rain. I realize this drought can't compare with the one in the south last year, but I can see it must have been tough. As I write this, a thunderstorm is about to hit, but we'll need more. It's too early in the summer for the plants to dry out...