Friday, October 22, 2010

A Tale of Two Seasons II

It was a strange growing season-almost like two different seasons. "A Tale of Two Seasons“ we could call it.

In the spring, I remember the daffodils fading fast because we got a blast of hot weather early. The lilacs bloomed in April and the peonies bloomed at Mother's Day, which I don‘t ever remember happening before. All the spring bloomers were lush with the warm weather and the good groundwater from all the melting snow.

Then came mid-summer and the ridiculous temperatures (including 106) and very dry conditions. We water the gardens infrequently since we have a well and concentrate on the potted plants. The basils and mints wilted, but revived after the occasional big rains. Mid-season flowers like coneflower and black-eyed Susan didn‘t bloom A as fully and a lot of my annuals were just stunted. Drought tolerant herbs didn’t mind a bit-my gray santolina was beautiful!

The late season plants were really affected too. It took well into September for hyacinth bean vine to develop beans and its peak seemed to be in October.

Ditto for pineapple sage-full bloom in October, and the plant only got about half as tall as usual.

One of the prettiest fall bloomers-Mexican bush sage with its arching, fuzzy purple flowers also didn't bloom till October and was sparse compared to most years.

Things that did well despite the weather - blue flax, borage, calendula, Joe Pye weed,love-lies-bleeding, plumbago, verbena, yarrow, Jupiter's beard and perennial salvias.

Things that didn't do well - cosmos, four o'clocks, heliotrope, gem marigolds (although they came back in the fall) nasturtiums, statice, pincushion flower and swamp milkweed.

I was mighty impressed with a new ornamental, oregano-kent beauty, this year. This one is for flowers rather than flavor. They're papery, so they dry well. Start off green and turn pinky-purple. Used them a lot in arrangements-pretty neutral filler.

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