This past spring the garden moved to the new property. We’re still in the process of renovating the house and working on cleaning up the property, and honestly, I had reluctantly come to the conclusion that this summer might be a good year to take a break from the cutting garden. With so many big projects ahead of us, it felt silly to take the time to put in a garden. I blurted this all out to Justin one afternoon to which he replied, “Can you use the old raised beds at the back of the new property? What can we do to make the garden less work for you this summer? Would an automatic drip system help?” Have I mentioned I’m married to the best man that ever walked the planet? No mention of the frivolousness of a cutting garden in the midst of the biggest project we’ve ever tackled; just him asking how he can help me achieve something that makes me happy.
“Yes, the beds, the automatic drip system…that would all be wonderful”
So I kicked things into high gear and got the long neglected beds cleaned out, while my fellas installed my new drip system. By the end of April all the seeds were tucked away, and all my dahlias transplanted to their new home.
By the first week of July the garden was thriving. The automatic drip system needed a little tweaking; it took us a month to figure out exactly how long to run the drippers, and unfortunately in that time I lost all but one of my eucalyptus starts, and all of my Bulpeurum plants. Other than those two casualties the garden did well in it’s new home.
I planted Cupcake cosmos for the first time this year and they started off beautifully! Unfortunately, the aphids got to them and they struggled after that. I’ve been growing cosmos for years and I have never… never had any trouble with aphids. I was totally surprised. I treated them with Sevin dust, which took care of the aphids, but the cosmos never totally bounced back and thrived. I continued to get some small blooms here and there, but nothing like the harvest I’m used to getting from my cosmos.
The one thing I will remember about the summer of 2017 is the heat! We saw temperatures soar to 111 degrees, and streaks of 100+ degree heat that lasted almost 2 solid weeks. Even with consistent watering, that kind of heat is hard on flowers.
This is what the garden looked like at the height of the season with everything in bloom. Every morning when I’d walk out to harvest flowers, the hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies would be swarming the flowerbeds!
The purple/red foliage that you see in this next bouquet is Red Spike Amaranth. I always grow Amaranth but this was the first year I’ve grown the Spike variety. At first the color of the Red Amaranth was stunning; everything I’d hoped it would be, but as the temperatures soared the beautiful red color faded to a muddy green color. I was so disappointed! It’s hard to predict how heat will affect the color of a plant, and the only way find out is to try. Now I know, Red Amaranth doesn’t work with our hot summer temps. Next summer I’m going to plant Johnny’s Red Rubin Basil and hope it gives me the red/purple foliage I’ve been trying to obtain.
This is the first year I’ve grown Feverfew and I am so in love with it!! It is the sweetest looking flower and it lasts forever in a vase. The only drawback to the Feverfew is it’s scent. It does have a slightly odd smell. Fortunately it’s not overpowering, and truthfully the smell doesn’t really bother me too much. Besides, I usually stick a little basil in my all my arrangements which pretty much covers up any other scent.
I also planted Echinacea for the first time this summer and I love, LOVE it! The light purple flower you see behind the Echinacea, is Lemon Mint Monarda (which is a type of Bee Balm). I started the seeds in trays and transplanted them once they were big enough. I was surprised by how underwhelmed I was by the Lemon Mint. It’s probably just my personal preference, but I didn’t love it in any of my arrangements. I don’t think I’ll bother growing it again. There are too many flowers that I love, and I don’t want to waste garden space on something that’s just so-so.
The Black Knight Scabiosa was another summer stunner! It just popped in every arrangement and the rich, dark color played so well with all the other flowers in the garden. The fantastic news about Scabiosa is that it re-seeds readily, so once you establish it in your garden it will come back year after year. Next summer I’d like to add the white and salmon colored varieties to the garden
I planted both Giant Lime Zinnias and Queen Lime Blush Zinnias. Looking back that was probably overkill. I had too many greenish colored zinnias. In the future I’ll just stick with the Queen Lime Blush zinnias because they are dreamy! During the hot summer they’re mostly a bright green color with just a hint of blush in the center, but as fall approached and the nights got cooler the red tones really came forward!
Next summer my goal is to focus on my dahlias. This year my dahlias were okay but not as beautiful and bountiful as I know they can be. Because I got the garden in late this time around, I didn’t take the time to amend the soil like I usually do, and for the most part the flowers didn’t seem to mind too much. But that wasn’t the case with the dahlias. They need a little extra love, better fertilizer, and a better support system to keep them from flopping over and breaking at the base of the plant.
I still got some beautiful buckets of dahlias! The Cafe Au Lait were stunning as usual. My Cafe was one of the few dahlias that I successfully dug up, divided and re-planted. For years I’ve only had one plant but now I have two healthy and thriving plants.
I just love the look of Sage leaves tucked into my bouquets! They remind me of Lamb’s Ear, such soft, velvety textures. Next year I plan to expand my greenery selection once again. Foliage with interesting colors and textures are the key to a really interesting flower arrangements.
And that’s the summer wrap up for 2017! Currently I’m working hard in the garden getting my beds prepped for spring. If all goes as planned this will be the first year that I will have a crop of spring flowers! I’m getting ready to plant Larkspur, Nigella, Ornamental Kale, Buplerum, Canterbury Bells, Sweet Peas, and Iceland Poppies seeds. I’ll try to keep you all updated on this new experiment So long from the garden my friends!