June seemed to sneak right in the door without hardly being noticed. Gone are the days of the frosty mornings until fall now, as the heat has finally arrived. This past week I got everything I had acquired over the last three weeks planted into the garden. As you spend this intimate time with all the growing things, sometimes we will notice some things didn't come back and other things are thriving.
I always say the first few months of the growing season is a time for discovery and sometimes a time for acceptance of cyclical events. This year I had some tulips that produced numerous blooms and in some cases more than they ever have. My daffodils produced an abundance of flowers last year and this year had hardly a dozen blooms combined. We will find some of the iris will produce like never before and others may only be vegetative. We can be disappointed or we can accept the fact that each year brings us something different and we should appreciate each and every positive thing and accept the others.
I am not immune to having things fail in my garden. In some cases, I am glad as it allows a new opening to fill with something new. In other cases, I am a little saddened as it might have a personal meaning to me or just be one of my plant favorites. Gardening is about successes AND failures each and every day.
This year I was disappointed that a double clematis that has been in its location for nearly a decade failed to come through the winter this year. The reasons are unknown, but it started to bud out early and then shriveled up and faded away. I keep watering it thinking that maybe it will shoot new growth up from the roots, so I haven't given up hope yet.
One year I had my favorite dwarf Goldenlocks Elder die back to the ground after six wonderful years. I cut everything off to 6 inches above the soil and eventually it sent up new shoots. Within two years, it was back to its glorious self. But it taught me not to hold on too tightly to things as we run the risk of losing any plant in the garden at any time - many times through no fault of our own, so don't beat yourself up over it.
This past year I also nearly lost one of my large Blue Oat Grass clumps. Most of it rotted out and came right out of the ground, but a few shoots showed up, so it will have to regenerate once again.
The Filamentosa Yucca is technically a zone 4-5, but has been growing since a seed in the garden for over a decade. In that time it has only bloomed once and was well worth the wait with its large fragrant flowers. Some years it has all nearly rotted out and other years it has grown so well it has given me hope for more flowers, but yet it has not repeated that event. This year it looked good coming out of the winter only to burn up and nearly disappear again. It is now growing and maybe this year I will see those wonderful flowers again ... time will tell.
This year I was extremely bummed about my Tiger Eye sumac. It has been in its spot for 10 years now and was beautiful one year after the next. It reached about 8 feet tall and this year it did not come back. As I walk around town, I see this one type of sumac seemed to take a hit through the long winter. What the exact reasons are is unknown to me. It could be that it didn't harden off properly in the fall time due to our very early snow on Oct. 10, or it could be temperature fluctuations during the long winter months. Maybe it is just El Nino or La Nina! Regardless what the reasons, my beautiful sumac is no more, but thankfully this species suckers a great deal. Over the last week it is developing two new shoots at the base and this is what will create the new look in that part of the garden. I will give the main plant another two weeks to see if it does anything, but if not, it will be cut down and the new shoots will be allowed to take over.
I have given orange coneflowers a try for the last four years, all different varieties. Each year this does not come back for me so I have given up and will try another plant altogether. Sometimes these challenges are not challenging at all, but present themselves as opportunities to try something different. Every year I have a new blank spot where something didn't thrive or come back for the new season and every year there is a new plant I want to try. If I look at things in the right perspective, I am not too overly disappointed as I know the garden has a plan of its own and I am only the caretaker and nurturer of its residents.
Keep your garden year in the right perspective. If something doesn't make it, don't be too hard on yourself as it may have occurred due to no fault of your own. Keep the experience a good and healthy one and prepare yourself for changes every day of the year as these are all beautiful things!