Successes in the Garden

Late summer is a good time to reflect on the past growing season. To sit back and catch your breath before fall’s bounty of leaves – scarlet, golden, plum, brown covers the garden almost overnight. So to me it seemed a good time for some reflections – why not look for once at the successes?

Gardeners will tell you they are always looking for something special. For me, the quest has been for the perfect rose. I also need to define what perfections means to me. I recognize that good blooms with great form are the key for roses. But for me there is something almost more important – perfume. It seems to me that everyone wants blooms on tall stems but no one seems to care about perfume. While for me the fragrance of a rose is indeed what makes it the queen of flowers.

So in one of my wanderings through garden places, I was delighted  to come across Fragrant Cloud. While I read the information on it, I was also skeptical – the eye candy pictures and accompanying description can often be quit misleading. But I decided to go ahead and give it a try. I found the right location, did my due diligence of watering, maintaining and the like and waited. When a bud appeared I was quite excited and a few days later I had a blossom     A rainy day followed so I decided to cut it and take it indoors.

Suffice it to say, this rose exceeded all my expectations – color was orange- scarlet. The leaves were a deep green – the fragrance was out of this world – and totally indescribable. It has been indoors for almost a week now  but still I bury my nose in it and it makes my day every time. I wish I could send the fragrance along with the picture but  our technology does not make that possible yet.

Gardening is a unique occupation because every season is unique – rain, temperature humidity; all of these are variables affecting plants. So each season has a particular flavor. This summer had many, many cool days and some rainy spells separated by dry spells. Whatever the reason, the Coleus did amazing this season. I had planted them in the ground where they sulked through rainy spring. Transplanting to containers by my front door, they have put on an enthralling show. Other than a few sprinkles of slow-release fertilizer and watering when I water everything else, they need no more help. The beauty of the coleus is that it’s a daily show – no need to deadhead except a quick snip of any blossoms that pop up. And better still neither the chipmunks of rabbits care for them – and neither apparently do any of the insects flying through my yard.

For some reason this year, the Dinner Plate Dahlias also did amazingly well – I have seen them in many gardens. They can sulk sometimes and not blossom well. But they continue to bloom their hearts out even today.

In the vegetable garden, the cucumbers did amazingly well because of the cool summer – Now they have ended their bounty after months of delicious fruit. Among tomatoes, the winner for this year for me was Brandywine Pink, an heirloom variety. I knew in advance that they can be late – but the cool spell again made them grow slowly. Truly I have never had such tomatoes – the size is huge, the color slightly pink, very juicy with very little peel and really low-acid. Another heirloom I have enjoyed this year are the yellow pear. They started easily from seed, and the fruit look like little jewel lights hanging from the stems.

You can see I had an enjoyable season, with much to appreciate.  The biggest blessing of all was the weather – while other parts of the country dealt with searing heat, fires, hurricanes and humidity, we enjoyed a lovely summer – cool enough to sit on a deck or patio with a glass of lemonade.  Happy Gardening!