Now that the calendar has flipped to 2014 and the busy-ness of the holidays has passed it’s time to look back at the lessons and photos of 2013.
I cannot say it was a stellar year for this blog, but the blame rests totally on this blogger’s shoulders. My posts were fewer than in prior years, and I did not find the time to share and comment with fellow bloggers as much as I would have liked. Still, I was able to grab enough photos during the seasons of 2013 to help me review many of the year’s gardening events.
Winter 2013 was filled with snow and deer damage. After planting some small leucothoe axillaris shrubs I neglected to follow my own advice … protect newly planted shrubs from deer browsing. As soon as the weather turned cold deer found the two leucothoe I left uncaged. Those lovey red leaves had originally covered the entire shrub.
By winter’s end they were nearly leafless. I similarly lost this adorable little Blue Star juniper.
It showed no deer damage before it was buried under 3 feet of snow in February, and another heavy snow in March, but the moment it reappeared from its snowy blanket the deer destroyed it. Both the leucothoe and the juniper carry deer-resistant claims. Just not in my gardens.
Signs of spring emerged late, but oh so welcome. My first crocus did not open until March 10, much later than in previous years.
Having crocus blooming right outside the front door, where the sun is strongest, is perfect. When spring finally arrived it was glorious!
Summer brought heat and blossoms galore.
I just love this combination of lavender and yarrow … perfect to welcome the Fourth of July.
It was a spectacular summer for ageratum.
In my long narrow raised bed coleus, gerbera and zinnia played nicely with hot pepper plants.
I managed to can a fair amount of peaches, pears, pickles, relish, hot peppers, jalapeño peach relish and, later, applesauce and more hot peppers.
In early autumn I perked up one bed with white mums in blue pots.
Otherwise autumn delivered unhappiness to my life. My wonderful Papa was diagnosed with and quickly died from cancer. One of his students, Wes Murrell, captured Papa’s personality – his wisdom, humor, and impishness – perfectly in this caricature.
He was my Papa and my dear friend, and his passing really knocked the wind from my sails. He is dearly missed by his family and many, many friends and colleagues. To keep him with me I carry his words of wisdom and his unconditional love in my heart every moment. I am forever grateful he was part of my life for so many years.
Spending time with Papa – something I will never regret – as he faced his last life journey meant I missed much of my autumn garden. Still, I was able to capture the beauty frost brings to the garden.
We had a late autumn snow,
then the calendar turned to winter and holidays and, finally, to 2013’s end.
Before the first snow I caged the leucothoe shrubs that suffered so during the winter of 2013, just in case hungry deer return for a feast. I did the same with the trees – a small Pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) and a small shadbush (Amelanchier canadensis ‘Rainbow Pillar’) – planted in late summer. The trees will remain caged until enough of their main branch structure has grown taller than the mouths of browsing deer. In spite of knowing I should cage all newly planted shrubs, I opted to take a chance with two small quince shrubs, leaving them uncaged … hoping their sharp spines will be enough to keep them safe from deer harm.
2013 was a year of pleasures and a deep loss; a year of continued learning. It ended with me vowing exactly what I’ve vowed many times in the past … to face life’s situations with dignity and grace, as my Papa has advised for so many years.
I doubt my Papa, when he gave this advice, had the vision of his aging gardener-daughter flailing her arms and yelling obscenities at herds of deer as they roam through her gardens. But I know this vision would have made him smile.
So, with as much dignity and grace as I can muster, I will face the snows, the deer, and whatever else 2014 brings my way.
I make no promises that 2014 will see me blogging more, but I hope it does. I hope to write and engage more with my readers and fellow bloggers. I hope to impart some gardening wisdom on new gardeners or lead some seasoned gardeners to an ah-ha moment. Still, I make no promises … just some wishes that we garden thoughtfully, live thoughtfully, and face 2014 with dignity and grace.