One of my favorite bloggers, Deborah Silver at Dirt Simple took a look back at her garden over the course of the last year, as did Margaret Roach at A Way to Garden. It made me curious to look back at my own garden for 2013.
One of our massive 58-year-old Austrian pines came down in a storm at the end of December. It took out a couple of smaller trees as it fell but amazingly did not damage the fence. Mark and an arborist friend carefully cut it down in January.
I barely blogged or looked out the window I was so depressed over the loss of my big pine tree since it meant my shade garden was now pretty much in full sun. I cocooned indoors with good food, books and lots of candles.
It seemed like it took forever, but it turned out the snowdrops appeared right on schedule when I compared their arrival date with prior years. However neither winter nor the snow were over.
Fred and Ethel flew in with barely enough open water on our pond for a smooth landing. Looked painful to me but didn't seem to bother them. Look how much snow is still on the ground on April 7th!
The garden finally burst into full bloom with a spectacular month of flowers. Everything from our ancient apple trees to these primroses and Trilliums was lush, given the drought of the prior year.
Record rains kept the garden green and going strong. It also sent water into our basement and Mark spent much of the summer re-landscaping one side of the house to try to send the snow-melt and rainwater away from the house.
After 13 years our Stewartia finally flowered on its lower branches. For years we mostly enjoyed the flowers as they fell to the ground from the top branches. A real thrill!
Despite the wet spring, by late summer it was dry enough that I had to drag out the hoses to water my new shrub and tree purchases as well as all the plants that got new homes after the pine tree came out.
Plenty of flowers were happy with the sun and dryness like this geranium. It's growing in a pot on the deck with a fern and a clump of Tiarella or Heucherella, both of which I just dug out of the garden. I brought the pot into the house at the end of October; the fern has mostly faded but the other two plants are looking great, as is the pot of rosemary just visible on the far right.
Mark spent late summer and fall working on the Tea House. He finished all the doors, windows and a couple of protective shutters. Next summer he plans to do the finish carpentry on the interior. We sat inside with the doors open having a cup of afternoon coffee quite a few days during the fall.
We had a fence built on the east side of the garden, mulched many bags of leaves and also gathered 4 or 5 bags of white pine needles from our neighbors' trees. They will be used to refresh all my pine needle paths in the spring. From my first, rather sad little garden up to the present day, I have no qualms about cutting flowers to enjoy indoors. Making my own bouquets is the main reason I grow flowers. The last thing I did in November was to cut a couple of bouquets of leaves and seed-heads for the Thanksgiving table and for arrangements to put in the bathrooms. One small vaseful of dried seedheads remains, refreshed with evergreen prunings.
Twenty-eight new or favorite trees and shrubs — mostly dwarf varieties — were caged for the winter. We seem to have Peter Rabbit and his family living under our deck. But tracks outside the windows show that someone who travels on four feet has been trying to find the bunnies. Not sure if it's a fox or coyote. So far we can't tell if he's had any success. I am one who likes her plants more than Peter R.
How did your gardening year go?