Our 2016 Private Flower Show
I read recently somewhere that June and July lasted five minutes. I fully agree! This has been an epic season for our flowers. Epic by way of blooms and epic by way of lessons… They just keep on coming!!!
Last year I was quite successful with the seeds I started, but this year when I should have been starting them I was reclaiming an area of our property that we had yet to address. This is a sore spot for me, as on Canada Day I was proudly showing a friend my “work” and I walked through stinging nettles, without knowing it, and the scars I sense will be with me forever. Both ankles, covered in blisters, for weeks!!! I am now wearing socks with sandals just to keep the sun off of them to mitigate the scarring… Thank heavens for sunblock! My ankles shall not get any more sun this year!
Our fence line has gone from poisonous weeds to abundant flowers in just 2 years!!! This has been quite a feat for me, especially with Martintown Soil- otherwise known as rocks! A huge learning curve, if you will. As I watered the plants today I couldn’t help but notice the peony that I accidentally damaged by digging around it and not knowing what it was. Pure rookie mistake. It is still there, but at about 40% of its original size. It especially hurts when I see other’s doing so well and I know ours should be in the same category. We planted 3 new peonies this year, from Veseys, but they really show their age. Just 3 small leaves per plant and no hope of a bloom this year.
I have learned that my weakness for Veseys is that they send us these shiny catalogues in the dead of late winter, with flashy deals and beautiful colours to tempt us into doing some armchair gardening in the safety of our heated home. Everything seems like such a great idea from that perspective, especially when mixed with the best imagined outcome of the previously planted things from years passed; “they will just look amazing together!” I think to myself… I am learning that there is a huge difference between a new garden and an established one.
In an established garden, all plants are in their own; meaning they are at their full shape and size, whereas when you plant a new specimen it is very tempting to “fill in” the blank space around them. This works well if you’re using annuals and they are just around for a season, but with perennials one must account for their eventual size. Something I am getting way better at!!!
I am truly loving all of our plants, but now I am seeing the flaws in my planting. Some should definitely not be in the foreground, while others should definitely not be in the background. This is an exciting lesson to me, as it is helping me bring my ideas to a more fluid, coherent arrangement. I am learning that all flowers have beauty. In the beginning I was just picking my favourites and I eventually found that it was getting boring. I am finding food and gardening alike in this manner, too much of a good thing becomes a boring thing. Variety is the spice of life and of gardens! All those vases I found last year weren’t really used this year, as every flower I loved to see outside and couldn’t really bring myself to cut them-except for special occasions… There never seems to be enough!!! Next year will be the year of indoor bouquets!
The phlox that we planted last year didn’t flower and I wasn’t all that convinced they would come back, but I am proud to say they did and we have at least 10 different types, which really adds a nice flush of colour right now! Our zinnias that we acquired from the Martintown Horticultural Society’s annual plant auction grew beyond our expectations! There are numerous flower heads on each plant! We planted 5 plants in early June and I now envision a larger area committed to just them next year. Our sunflowers are doing amazing! I regretted not planting too many last year, as they last well into September! This year I planted 2 full packages in a small area and the ones that are supposed to be 8 feet are about 3 or 4 and the ones that are supposed to be 13 feet (that’s what the pkg said!!!), are a measly 4 or 5. I planted them way too close thinking the more, the merrier! Alas, I am going to create a new strip for next spring that will be completely sunflowers! I love when they saturate an area! Besides forming a type of beautiful hedge, and besides their beautiful, bright yellowy-orange heads, I love the way the bees and other insects love them first and then the birds come! I actually spotted a hummingbird at them yesterday! It made my weeding chore that much more enjoyable! Our hollyhocks and foxgloves are doing amazing! I am currently coaxing them to reseed. I super love abundance with flowers!
Our mini roses are doing well. We have pinks and reds that have established themselves and this year I have added orange, white and purple. I really hope these ones winter as well as the others; their colour really adds more fascination to the area they lend themselves to.
All in all, we have over 20 varieties of roses now, the number should be higher, but each winter comes with its own lessons and I am proud to say that the ones that survived are doing really well and I am proud of the hurdles we’ve overcome to get to this point. Roses are definitely in my top favourites. There have been moments this summer where the air has been just right to allow the smell to permeate our home and I must say, those days are some of the closest I have ever been to heaven. Next year I plan to try my hand at rose petal jelly!!! It is the most delicate jelly ever and truly there aren’t words to truly explain how much I love it!
As August winds down and I have a few more plants and roses to get into the ground- birthday presents; I find myself wondering where June and July went… Honestly, I hope August slows down just a little, a little more time to stop and smell the flowers…