WS 2011 look back

gardenweed_z6aOctober 23, 2011

I'm beginning to put a plan together for this year's WS and thought it made sense to look back at what did well vs what didn't do so well this year. I've never experienced extreme weather patterns here in central CT the like of which we've had the past two growing seasons. The summer of 2010 was a total drought with extreme heat and little to no rain the entire season. It was my first WS attempt; watering my seed-grown plants took 2-3 hours every day and I worried about running my well dry.

Fast forward to summer 2011 and rainfall totals from May to October as measured by the rain gauges in my garden are staggering at 39 inches so far. That doesn't include the 8 ft. of snow that fell last winter. New England weather is reliably "changeable" but these extremes seem...well, extreme, even for NE.

What did well? Well, hydrangeas for certain! Astilbe, hosta, ferns and turtlehead were pretty happy with all the wet. A few others that are supposed to like wet conditions didn't thrive in them.

What did you see this year that made you wonder about the effects of climate change on your garden?

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My roses did well. I don't think the Hosta's liked all that rain. A lot of plants disappeared from the excessive rain. (Campunula's and Salvia's).

I just pulled my Lilies out of the ground, they are doing exceptionally well. I will be giving some to the neighbors.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2011 at 8:21PM
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lois(PA Zone 6)

Hydrangea, especially the paniculata types, did great. The late summer rain and then the lack of frost kept them in their reddish phase a lot longer than usual. Here's a picture of one capped with today's snow.

Early autumn roses and japanese anemones did well too.

The wintersown pink hollyhock really liked the early summer rains. It was much better than the pathetic specimens I ripped out the year before.

The echinacea I wintersowed never sprouted; I think it just got too wet. I tried sowing again in March and got plenty of seedlings to plant around the yard. So I guess it does not need a cold period to germinate.

Tomatoes were not at all happy this summer, especially when they got tons of rain after such a hot summer. Disease city.

The cardinal flower planted in the ground was not happy, but the one planted in a self watering container looked great. I will definitely repeat that experiment next year.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2011 at 8:00PM
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We always have a period of seriously dry heat - 90s, long stretch, little/no rain - in the summer. This year I was away during 10 days of it, too, so anything that was still in containers was pretty crispy when I got back. But in the ground, my gaura, echinacea and gaillardia were the absolute best; rudbeckia Cherokee Sunset and althea officinalis were both winners. Rosemary, which I love, love, love, did fine. Basil was singing for joy.

Squashes, not so much - the heat breeds all kinds of bugs down here - I still haven't identified them all yet, but I sure know the squash bugs and squash vine borers. Yeah, I could do without them - better remay plan next year. Tomatoes, too, were just so-so.

Annuals - portulaca loves the heat here - my cuphea Batface did well, and so did centratherum Pineapple Sangria. The centratherum is a later bloomer though, as is hibiscus sabdariffa, which was doing fine, but I think tonight's freeze will kill it.

That's about all - the big hydrangea on the property did NOT do very well this year - very scanty blooms. It may need a pruning; I'll have to research that.

Hope "y'all" had good luck!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2011 at 12:44AM
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