Looking Back at the 2013 Garden

The overall theme of this year's garden seemed to be "Everything looks pretty good, but if I only had more time!"

The year started out with major plans on paper. I ordered too many seeds and tried to follow the Garden By The Moon calendar guidelines for sowing. (Eventually the calendar just became a log of what was planted when, despite the moon phase.)

There was learning how to use a partially buried cold frame to grow lettuce and dandelions over the winter in January. February brought one of the worst snowstorms I've ever experienced with drifting snow and sore muscles from roof raking.

But spring still arrived, not as early as the year before (which is good because that was just a little too eerie!).

The hellebores grew larger in size with more flowers. The pear and plum trees were covered in tiny little flowers that were pollinated with the aid of bee lures from Peaceful Valley Seeds. And some flowers that I don't even remember planting appeared in the garden.

Yellow tulips with a heavenly touch?
We were once again visited by a family of robins in the honeysuckle vine out front in May. I tried to leave them be but my curiosity kept getting the best of me!

Baby robins on May 22.
The garden was an explosion of life and color throughout the spring and early summer. My Dad asked me to excavate hostas that I planted in his Long Island garden when I was in high school. I only took about half of the plants in my SUV - dividing hostas that are about 15 years old is tiring work!

New additions to the garden from Long Island!
My first Endless Summer hydrangea., now at full-size.
A clematis in the back garden.

The tomatoes grew to record heights in their fabric pots, but did not set a lot of fruit. I experimented with companion planting and mingled flowers with vegetables along the driveway. The emphasis on growing vegetables was lessened slightly due to my membership in a local CSA.  I believe not having six hours or more of sunlight slightly diminished my yields. I'm thinking of scaling back on growing vegetables next year (except food for the rabbits) to give more space to flowers (who appear to be more forgiving when my schedule does not allow me to be in the garden).

There was a HUGE focus on insects this year in the garden. Primarily, the stars were butterflies, but dragonflies, praying mantises, mason bees, ladybugs and yellow jackets all had their fair share of attention. It was a summer (and fall) without a monarch butterfly sighting in the garden, despite my best efforts to grow plants that would attract them.

The black swallowtail butterflies laid eggs on my carrot plants, which led to a summer of raising caterpillars in the kitchen.

Dill tastes yummy.

And then, of course, their release into the garden.

There was a new love affair with daylilies, and every time I could find some on sale I would snatch them up for the garden.

One of my bright, flamboyant daylilies.

The plums and pears were plentiful, and I learned the hard way to leave plums on the tree until they were fully ripened (creating lots of jars of plum sauce, not jam). The pears however, were humongous and were eventually under attack from the yellow jackets that decided to make a nest out front.

Huge Kieffer pears.

I closed the fall with the large task of creating a walkway flanked in spring-blooming flowers. Halfway through, I wondered why I did! I purchased too many bulbs- I totally forgot the idea of ordering more smaller bulbs and less of the larger varieties and instead ordered equal amounts of both. Extra daffodils and alliums were given to my father-in-law, who was happy to have them.

So many bulbs!

This little guy was out front while I was digging.
We hired a local service to remove our leaves from the property. For the first time that we've lived here, we were unable to keep up with the deluge of leaves and black walnuts.

Too bad I'm not a black walnut fancier.
However, he never showed! So now as we enter January, I'm still attempting to rake and gather leaves. Most of my plant debris was left standing so I'll contend with that in the spring.

First snowfall, Dec. 10.

Coneflower seed heads left out for the birds.

What were your impressions from your garden in 2013?


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