Monday, September 5, 2011

Hot, dry and all those darn weeds!

Its been a long 3 months almost since i've posted an update to my blog.  After a wonderful start to spring and a warm summer in June, I thought I had the beginnings of beautiful flowerbeds that I would enjoy sitting on patio staring out all summer long.  But Mother Nature and inexperience proved to be my downfall.   I laid the last of my lasagna garden in mid-March in the hopes that a cool wet spring and early summer would break down the newspaper and cardboard.  Unfortunately, this didn't happen, as spring turned into a very hot and dry summer, no earthworms to break down the paper and no rich black soil to take its place. 

It seemed the only plants surviving this summer where the roses, my new wisteria and a small lantana that I had thrown off to the side as an afterthought.  Even trying to water daily was an absurdity against the 110 average days of July and August.

So here's my biggest learnings.....
  1. Water, water, water - even during water restrictions and late nights at work - find an alternate.  I'm liking the idea of the plant nanny and several bottles of wine.  
  2. Make your lasagna garden in the fall!  That way you have at least 6 months of leaves, rain, snow and ice to break down your paper, et al.  
  3. When the plant label states 'shade loving' its gotta stay covered!  DUH!  (red impatients...i'm so sorry!)
  4. Nip those weeds in the bud - literally!  Otherwise, you'll pay your teenage nephew to pull for 2 hours to get them all out!  (he did a great job too - well worth the $$) 

Plants that did well - 
  • Roses - mainly President Kennedy and Miss Oklahoma...go figure.  
  • Red budded Salvia - fills out great and will definitely be a filler next year.
  • Lantana - pink that I planted in the ground - filled out - but eventually succumed to drought.
  • Lantana - yellow/red mix that I threw off to the side in the shade...hum - seems to be very green right now - but no blooms.
  • Wisteria - still looks good
  • Blackberry bush - started vining and was really green - had little berries.  I tried one before they were ripe - probably about a week too early, then much to my surprise - little birds ate all the good berries within the next week.  
  • Hostas - were beautiful in the shade...until the August
  • Coleus - still going strong under the patio
  • Black Pepper plant - never changed appearance throughout the summer
  1. Plants that failed....probably mostly by my own hand
  • Impatients...ugh - I love these little plants - but give them a 1/2 a day of sunshine and 110 heat and their outa here.
  • Hibiscus....some days your were pretty - some days you weren't....don't think i'll try you again next year.
  • Mr. Lincoln rose....never grew, never bloomed - nothing..I feel like its April 1865 allover again!
  • Variegated Wiegela...planted from a starter and just went no where.  
  • Astilbe - probably my favorite in the flowerbeds, beside the roses - but your flower buds were a little sad and dull in color.
  • Boxwoods - your boring, yet still alive.
  • Petunias and Geranium hanging baskets - you were so beautiful through most of July - but the heat was our downfall - so sorry - will definitely try again next year!
  • Last but not least....Tomato plant - grew tall within the cage - but not one single fruit did you bare.
Despite the horrible tempatures this summer and lack of rain (I believe we had one shower all summer....August 14th).....I was able to enjoy the patio most of the summer, from the view of my porch swing.  This morning it was a brisk 65 degrees and as i'm writing this update at 10:45 pm - its a nice 75.  No breeze, just crickets and the sound of my cat, Lola clawing at the window - to get out here with me!  I didn't take any pictures of the flowers / plants that didn't make it - just too sad.  But I have decided my patio lacks color....and I'll add pics later on in the week as the transformation happens. 

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