Spring was late. When the pretty white-petaled and gold-centered blooms of bloodroot appeared, I knew that it had arrived at last. After a mild winter, three March-through-April nor'easters battered the Poconos. We began to think spring would never come. How joyfully I welcomed those bloodroot blooms. They were quickly followed by an abundance of hellebores, snowdrops, crocuses, primroses, violets, lily of the valley, and daffodils. Spring has to be my favorite season -- especially after a prolonged winter.
|Cheeky Blue Jay braved the March Nor'easters|
Narcissus cyclamineus, the all-yellow daffodil with the swept-back petals, is one of the earliest to bloom:
|Daffodil Narcissus cyclamineus with its swept back petals|
It seemed to rain a lot in May but the garden began to recover from the winter damage. We didn't realize then that rain would be the pattern for the year. In the Cottage Garden the alliums and peonies had buds ready to burst. Some alliums were already in bloom in Pollinator Heaven.
|Froggy Pond and the Cottage Garden in May|
|The first allium blooms in May in Pollinator Heaven garden|
I was thrilled to find dwarf crested iris flowers on the edge of Serenity. I planted them the previous fall.
|Dwarf crested iris Iris cristrata blooming for the first time|
|Grape hyacinth Muscari armeniacum in Serenity Garden|
Along Bluebell Creek in the Woodland Walk there was a tapestry of spring flowers. Unfortunately, by the end of the year this area was inundated with Japanese stilt grass. I believe this invasive weed will be my biggest challenge in 2019.
A major reason spring is my most loved season: the beautiful viburnum blossoms. Also, I delight in bridal veil spirea, mock orange, azalea, and rhododendron.
|Maries' Viburnum Viburnum plicatum tomentosum 'Mariesii' and Jonathan|
The biggest winter damage was to the roses. Their stalks were black with no sign of life. I was tempted to pull them out, but resisted, and pruned them back vigorously to a couple of inches. I'm so glad I did this because they started to recover. Although I had few blooms, there was still hope. The climbing rose, sheltered against the south-facing garage wall, was less damaged. Other plants were not so fortunate and I lost some butterfly weed in Pollinator Heaven and several newly planted ground covers in the Woodland Walk.
|Rose garden -- no June roses|
|Water iris in Froggy Pond|
Summer arrived with excessive heat, rain, and humidity. My summer garden was so disappointing. Take a look at the two pictures below and compare 2017 and 2018. Last year the garden failed to peak in early July as it did in 2017 and all previous years. There are always compensations though -- the beautiful delphiniums were a plus.
|Cottage Garden |
Abundance Garden was a tangles mess all season. It was too hot and humid on rain-free days for me to do the necessary maintenance. But I took great pleasure in the sea holly. Over the years I planted four of these and this was the first to bloom.
|Sea holly Eryngium giganteum 'Miss Wilmott's Ghost'|
August was not pleasant - weatherwise. I had some successes in the Kitchen Garden, but didn't enter anything in the West End Fair because I traveled much of the month. You can read my Kitchen Garden evaluation HERE.
|Fading cottage garden|
There were a couple of plant highlights in September with the Serenity Garden probably the best venue.
|Sweet Autumn Clematis Clematis ternifolia|
The trees around our farm had little fall color this autumn.
|Dwarf cutleaf maple Acer palmatum in it fall colors|
We now know that the Poconos had record setting rainfalls with precipitation 20 inches above normal. It was the warmest May through September. I wrote an article, 'How too much rain affects your gardens and what to do about it', to be published in the Pocono Record on Saturday, January 19, 2019. I fear these new weather patterns will continue. Every year is an adventure, but despite the challenges I look forward with hope to the next gardening season. Can't wait for spring!
How was your 2018 garden?
|Twelve spotted skimmer Libellula pulchella on my pond|
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