August 19, 2019

Garden Coping Skills

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I was feeling a little depressed about the garden recently.

It's been a wet, messy, overgrown growing season. Everything looks lush and full, but for many reasons it's not "normal" and I haven't had the time to address all my garden problem areas.

So, I decided to focus on the positive: the plants that are performing well...the happy surprises...the basic, simple discovered joys.

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Starting in dappled shade: Fuchsia 'Marinka' (first photo) has successfully overwintered for several years now. It took a while to get going this spring, but it's blooming like crazy now.

The potted plants by the pond (above) are happy, too, anchored by an AAS Winner Canna 'South Pacific Orange.' It may never bloom in the shade, which is probably a good thing because the foliage looks great with the other plants, and the flowers would clash.

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The Naked Ladies, aka Resurrection Lilies, aka Assumption Lilies (Lycoris squamigera), seem to magically catch the limited dappled sunlight in a back corner of the garden. They survived a major neighborhood digging project for upgraded cable access. That entire back area was a mess, and I've simply let the plants repopulate and find their way.

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Here's another plant that really should be in more sun, but it's stunning in dappled shade: AAS winner Begonia 'Viking XL Red on Chocolate.' I mean it's flowering even in the shade, but the foliage is incredible! The leaves are huge and waxy and they really do look chocolaty and good enough to eat (but don't!).

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The Spotted Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) is blooming and attracting hummingbirds and other pollinators.

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In spite of its pot tumbling over several times in heavy storms (long story), this combination of Coleus 'Colorblaze Lime Time' and New Guinea Impatiens 'Sonic Light Pink' is still going strong. I love the color combination.

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I'm happy to see that the new Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa) I planted a few weeks ago seems to be taking off and filling in its areas. The rabbits don't seem to be eating it, as they've done with just about every other plant I've tried in this part of the garden. It won't bloom this year, but if it survives the winter and the rabbits, maybe it will bloom next summer.

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Now to the sun: The potager garden is a sloppy mess, but it's full of butterflies, bees, and other garden friends (and adversaries).

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I could spend hours watching bumbles hugging Cosmos (C. bipinnatus). There's just so much to like about Cosmos, and they just keep on giving throughout the growing season.

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The 'May Night' Salvia (Salvia x sylvestris) is on its fourth or fifth (or more?) bloom cycle after repeated deadheading.

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The Calamint (Calamintha nepeta) is blocking the rabbits from an uncaged part of the garden. Because it's a mint rabbits tend to stay away. Plus, the pollinators love it.

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It's nice to have a late-season flush of color from the Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa). I found quite a few monarch eggs and caterpillars on the buds of this plant this season. The goldenrod soldier beetle blends right in, (probably hunting for eggs...oh well).

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The Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata) has really filled in this year, and I like the way its "fingers" of seeds are reaching for the sun.

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This tiny assassin bug is waiting for a pollinator meal. Should I interfere with nature?

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'Goldfinger' Tithonia, grown from seed, took a little longer to bloom this season, but the flowers will open very soon (scratch that--they're blooming today, but I didn't have a chance to take another photo and upload it).

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'Zowie! Yellow Flame' Zinnias (also grown from seed) always brighten my day, and soon they'll have companion Blue Mistflowers (Conoclinium coelestinum) blooming by their sides.

It might be a messy, sloppy, overgrown season, but there are always garden surprises and successes to celebrate.

34 comments:

  1. It's hard not to get a little discouraged over the various car wrecks in the summer garden after the splendor that is spring but your garden clearly has a LOT going for it this season, Beth. I can only wish for splashy foliage and fabulous fuchsias such as those shown in your first photo. I'm been trying to focus on the positives this summer too, and let me eye casually slide over the various wreckage heaps.

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    1. Thank you, Kris. You brightened my day! I've made a little more progress lately than earlier in the summer, but the garden is pretty messy this year. But there are always bright spots.

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  2. The August garden is always a bit wild and woolly here but you have so much to enjoy in yours. Beautiful blooms, beautiful photos.

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    1. Thank you, Chloris. Yes, wild and woolly is a good way to describe it. ;-)

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  3. Good to remember the positives. Many wonderful things going on in your garden Beth. That begonia is amazing. Thank for the rabbit/Calamint tip.

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    1. Yes, the chocolate-foliage Begonia is really awesome. From the time it arrived until now, the Begonia (actually a group of them) has been a happy, healthy plant. If you like Begonias, this is a great one!

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  4. Isn't this the way it is supposed to be at this time of year? I think your garden looks great. There is always something we gardeners don't like about our garden. Just look how the pollinators and readers see your garden. Wonderful!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Lisa. True, this is a messier time of year. Although my garden has been messy all season--I've actually been making some progress lately, so that feels a little better.

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  5. P.S. I have orange and red right together in the garden, I think it beautiful. My Canna is in shade and blooms but it is slow to repeat. It is also a different type. It has red leaves and orange/red flowers.

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    1. Sometimes I do, too. This particular orange and red with the other surrounding colors wouldn't be the best. But I love the foliage! I've never grown Cannas before, but I love them!

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  6. Your garden looks amazing! I'm so glad you are focusing on the positive. Your photos are stunning and so much beauty in your August garden. P. x

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    1. Thanks, Pam. Focusing in helps. There are definitely many messy areas! But there are always bright spots to celebrate.

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  7. You are a 'Silver Lining Woman', finding the positive in the garden this time of year. So many tasks and so little time (or in my case, ambition). I love that attitude and the garden is lovely. Garden on.

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    1. Trying hard, Layanee. ;-) The garden will never be perfect, but it was really a mess until recently. Weird that I've been able to make some headway so late in the season. This growing season is wild...hoping next year will be a little more "tidy."

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  8. Thanks for mentioning the beautiful AAS winners. We appreciate your support.

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    1. Yes, of course. The AAS winner plants are all doing well. They were all so healthy and robust from the start. Thanks for allowing me to trial them!

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  9. My Verbena hastata is also very robust this year. I find that the rabbits leave it alone, and the Monarda too. I have those moments when the garden seems unsatisfying and more trouble than it's worth. Usually watching the bees and butterflies makes me feel better.

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    1. I had to cage my V. hastata originally because the rabbits were nibbling on it. Now it's surrounded by Calamintha nepeta and it's also pretty established, so they leave it alone. Yes, watching bees and butterflies definitely helps. ;-)

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  10. Hi Beth,
    I had trouble with squirrel this year. The family of squirrel had so many babies we had juvenile squirrel causing a terrible mess in my potted plants.
    Then we had terrible storms here in Barron County knocking so many of my plants down. And limbs falling on them.
    I do know how that feeling can creep into us gardeners. I always take a deep breath and remember, next year. :-)

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    1. So sorry to hear about the storms! That can be such a challenge! We have a squirrel and chipmunk zoo in the backyard--seriously. So I have to use lava rocks in any potted plants so they won't dig in them. It really works! Yes, here's to next year's garden!

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  11. Well if all the beauty is sloppy, I wonder how your garden looks when it isn't sloppy!

    Amazing 'Mai Nacht' Salvia is as impressive here in Southern California as it is in Southern Wisconsin--rebloom and rebloom here, too. Now that's a great plant.

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    1. Yes, the Salvia has been a lovely stalwart here since I planted a couple patches of it about 20 years ago. Love it! You are kind. The close-ups don't show the mess...and the weeds outside the frames. ;-)

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  12. I think your garden looks awesome! I should focus more on the positive and ignore the weeds...which is easier said than done.

    Jeannie@GetMeToTheCountry

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    1. It certainly is easier said than done, Jeannie! Thank you. Summer is winding down and I'm thinking of next year's garden. I don't know if I'll have more time for it, but I hope so!

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  13. By the end of August my garden is burned up and so dry. At least we are getting a little rain this weekend, but it is hard not to get discouraged this time of year. We all are hanging on and hoping for an early autumn. You have lots more in bloom than I have here. I love your chocolate begonia!

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    1. Usually, my garden would be much drier by now. So, I guess that's very much a positive--it's green and lush. Just way too many weeds and mess!

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  14. I think your garden looks great for this time of year. We would make ourselves crazy if we tried to keep it magazine ready all the time. I'm looking forward to fall and some cooler temperatures. I'm done with the heat and humidity!

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    1. Thanks, Karin. My garden is never magazine-ready. But it's been in much better shape in other years. We have the cooler temps now, and I'm loving it. Still not enough time for the garden, but I'm having fun hiking and hanging out at the dog parks. LOL.

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  15. I was reading about Impatiens capensis today, so it's a bonus to see the flower.

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    1. It's a nifty native annual here. Self-seeds so readily. And the hummingbirds love it--apparently they follow the blooms from the north to the south as they migrate.

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  16. Well, the garden may be overgrown - as most are at this stage of summer - but you have some very pretty flowers! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you! It helps to frame out the weeds. ;-) It is nice that most of the plants are lush and verdant this year because of all the rain we've had.

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  17. Hi Beth, i exactly feel like you. I can't seem to address everything i want to do in the garden. But in your case, you have lots of plants growing lush and beautiful. This post reminds me that i lost those golden marigolds also loved by butterflies, and i have that red cosmos which i asked from a far province here. Our cosmos common here are just the yellow and the orange, now i have the red which are very photoperiodic. I love its contrast when butterflies sip on it.

    I am trying to post more blogs now, this FB craze is getting most of our time.

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    1. Welcome back to blogging, Andrea. I know it can be time-consuming, especially when life throws tons of tricky situations your way. I'm not on my personal Facebook page much anymore, but I do spend some time on my gardening Facebook account. I do love the Cosmos--of all varieties!

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