This is mostly just a…

This is mostly just a reminder to me of what worked in the garden this year, so I can do better next year.

  • Vegetables: tomatoes and peppers were good, but should have put them higher somehow so Kavi wouldn't pick all the tomatoes before they were ripe and go after the dangerous habaneros. Next year, maybe add peas? She loves peas. Try again with a couple varieties of blueberries? Also, really ought to do a better job of sowing regular batches of mixed greens and arugula for salads.

  • Herbs: the thyme garden continues to charm. Basil and thai basil were very useful and did well on the roof -- two plants of each seems sufficient. Did also use the Italian parsley, mint (although only one kind needed), garlic chives, oregano. Could have used a second batch of chives, rosemary, dill, sage. Maybe put the herbs in front, safe for Kavi to grab? Don't bother doing herbs in windowbox, barely grow.

  • Roses: I need to go look up the name -- maybe Pope John Paul the II? But whatever it is, the new star is a white hybrid tea that bloomed nicely all summer, gorgeous scent, and then in September/October just went hog wild with tons of long-stemmed blooms perfect for cutting. I also remain fond of the Dark Lady and Christopher Marlowe roses (David Austin antiques), and my friend from last year, Granada. The pink Knock-Out was great for lots of early color in the garden; I think maybe try the rainbow Knock-Out instead next year.

  • Vines: trumpet honeysuckle (survived overwinter), other honeysuckle whose name I'm not remembering -- both of them are green and blooming relatively early, which is nice. I like the dark blue-purple clematis a lot, both the jackmanii and the one whose name I don't know but which does a lot of smaller flowers. I tried a sweet autumn white clematis this year, which gave some nice late-summer color, so may keep it. And for autumn, the morning glory and moonflower are gorgeous with tons of blooms -- I want to do a more organized job of planting them along the fence next year, with appropriate tying up and sufficient space away from other pots. They're quite aggressive, and will take over flowers and vegetables with the least provocation.

  • Tropicals: new love is mandevilla, which gave tons of constant blooms in bright color all summer; want to get one or two more for next year. My hibiscus was somehow not as happy, but so beautiful when it did bloom that I'd also like one or two more of those. And quite liked the shooting star hydrangea, which hopefully will survive over the winter indoors; we'll see.

  • Hydrangeas: speaking of, the two new ones barely bloomed -- not sure why. We'll see if they survive the winter, but disappointing, given that my old hydrangea produced lots of blooms reliably. When they did bloom, gorgeous, though.

  • Various other flowers to bring back: million bells, lantana, lobelia, alyssum, tall snapdragons, columbine, gallardia

  • Good trailers: sweet potato vine, creeping jenny, ivy (variegated favorite)

  • Rooftop hanging baskets: Too much work -- don't bother unless we install drip system

  • West windowboxes: geraniums survive; not much else does

  • North windowboxes: assortment worked fine; never watered the one outside Kavi's room

  • Best flowers overall for cutting: roses, hydrangeas -- would have been nice to have more cutting blooms; what would grow up there and be reasonably long-lasting in a vase? Clematis and wildflowers and the like seem to die within a day or two, making it too sad to cut them.

  • Bulbs: Plant some damn bulbs this fall, so the early spring is not so depressing!!! Is fall the time to plant early-blooming plants like oh, I can't remember the name, it comes in white and white-green and green-purple and purple and is a perennial and my garden store has tons of them in early spring...
Consider simplicity next time -- fewer random flowering plants, more solid masses of color from reliable sources.

4 thoughts on “This is mostly just a…”

  1. Wow. Everywhere I have ever lived, honeysuckle is a serious weed that is almost impossible to control. But apparently it is a desired ornamental plant in Seattle, also.

    It sounds as if you are an amazingly successful gardener.

  2. Oh no. Every time I watch a gardening show I’m amazed by how much I don’t know, and don’t do. Like managing my soil PH levels, for example. I started gardening twelve years ago (in an established garden in Oakland, which was a big help), and have just added a tiny bit of knowledge each year, bit by bit. I tell everyone with a sunny patch (ground or containers) — start with herbs and cherry tomatoes and petunias, and you’ll be amazed how easy gardening can be. Of course, then you get addicted to it…

    Keep in mind re: the honeysuckle that I’m in a roof garden, so everything’s in containers. Anything that becomes too invasive is easy to rip out. 🙂 I almost never have a problem with keeping rampant growth under control — all of my efforts go towards getting as much growth as possible in the growing season.

  3. My father was a serious gardener. He had about an acre (200′ by 200′) in vegetables every year. More than that when he was younger. I had a bit of overload on the subject growing up, so I have never gotten into it much. I do sometimes plant a bit of okra and maybe tomatoes, since high quality supplies of these are hard to find in markets.

  4. For Kavya: green beans (continue all summer), carrots (feed as thin out supply – in pots works), pumpkins, maybe peas. Strawberries.

    For Cutting (fall): zinnias, dahlias, black-eyed susan (note: you must change dahlia-water daily because it starts to stink, but the flowers stay nice for a long time. You also have to bring in dahlia tubers every fall and keep them warm. One heavy frost and there they go)

    For Cutting (spring): tulips, daffodils, iris

    For Cutting (summer): carnations, lilies, astromeria (but it’s only nice a short time), white perennial daisies (except they aren’t called daisies. must think)

    Yes, it is time to plant bulbs, but you could also plant them indoors in pots later in the year and carry the pots outside. They do need a coldspell before they’ll bloom. The normal blooming order for spring bulbs is snowdrops then crocus then daffodils then tulips then iris. Watch out for the daffodils and tulips though, because you can get early and late-blooming varieties. It can be lovely to buy the same color tulip in early, mid and late varieties and mix the bulbs together. Lowe’s sells lovely bags of huge yellow daffodil bulbs which are hardy but not particularly scented. Tuliptown (www.tuliptown.com)and Roozengarde (www.tulip.com) sell lovely scented ones. Either geranium or cheerfulness were stars this year for us, but I can’t remember which was which. Both were nice, but one was incredible. I think it was geranium. For tulips, give me a call. For iris remember that bearded iris are more likely to be hardy in the midwest than japanese/orietal iris.

    Enough for now. If I’m good, I get to leave a bit early and buy ice pansies on my way home. Sadly, I don’t think ice pansies will survive Chicago.

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