This was a strange gardening year for me. As I look back on spring and summer and early fall, I feel like I didn’t do much.
No marathon overhauls.
Not a lot of plant movement.
Some new plant additions but fewer than in prior years.
And way fewer photos than any time in the past seven years (when I started photographing my garden).
Either I’m losing my mojo, allowing life to get in the way or if the glass is half full, I’m maturing as a gardener.
Let’s agree that it is 25%/50%/25% respectively.
Still, there will always be time to look back and learn and review the gardening season that was.
And what better way to do that than through an awards ceremony. I like dressing up and I’ve already prepared a few rough drafts for victory speeches.
Gardening book of the year:
IMHO, no one does a better job than Nancy Ondra when it comes to the combining of perennials. This book sparked so many ideas and will continue to do so this gardening “off season”. I’ve already worn out a lot of the pages.
That is always a good sign.
It doesn’t hurt that she loves the grasses as much as I do.
“Best riddance of a plant” award:
Finally removing all of my barberry shrubs.
As if I needed to be reminded yet again about the invasive nature of this non-native shrub. While it was a bit of a nightmare to eradicate the two remaining dwarf cultivars, it was a long time coming.
Even after I dug both of them up, I still spent all summer and fall pulling roots/branches that were left behind.
I don’t think I’ve seen the last of these.
The “I will not panic and therefore do nothing” award:
Eastern Tent caterpillars.
While I can’t say that I’ve embraced them, I can say that I have witnessed them on my crabapple tree for three years running now and have done nothing to address them.
And guess what? I haven’t seen any signs of damage as a result of my inaction.
Some times you just let nature take its course.
“My biggest obsession of 2016” award:
Destroying my lawn with cardboard.
If I do the math, I should have no lawn by April of 2045.
No lawn = more planting space and less maintenance and prettier stuff.
The jury is still out on the success of using such a method as I haven’t layered it quite as thick as I have in the past. I can say that the cardboard typically fully breaks down after 3 years and then we enter into weed management time.
The “bad parenting” award:
“The impossible to combine with other plants” award:
Trollius (Globe Flower)
Maybe it isn’t so much this particular flower as much as it is working with the color orange.
On its own, I like it. But in my rural and mostly native and mostly grass infested garden, it doesn’t really fit in. I tried combining them with spring blooming Allium …
… and well, yuck.
The “one can never have enough of this bulb in spring” award:
What focal points and what fun and what a hoot to watch them tower over the lower lying perennials.
The “I’m shocked at how much I love this plant” award:
Baptisia ‘Carolina Moon’.
I don’t know if these bloom at a time when there is a lull in the garden or if I just like Baptisia so much that even yellow blooms are a stunner. Regardless, I am so thrilled with this plant and hope to add a few more in the not so distant future.
The “I can’t believe it took me this long to embrace a flowering vine” award:
Clematis ‘Scented Clem’ Sugar-Sweet.
The “Well, that didn’t work out quite like I hoped it would” award:
My robotic lawnmower.
I wrote an initial review here. And at first, it was a lot of fun to watch this guy run 24/7 without a care in the world, even in the pouring rain.
But eventually I ran into issues with the automower being able to locate its charging station. As a result, I had to carry it to the charger every few hours and it just became too much.
I think these work well within small properties and not large lots like mine. I had to have this running only in my front yard and while it was fun and a great conversation starter, it ultimately became a gimmick and so I moved back to good old standard mowing.
The “best performing week in my own garden” award:
The week of June 19th, 2016.
My “favorite public garden” award:
No spoiler alert required here, you all know that it is the High Line in New York City.
The “2nd best performing week in my own garden” award:
The week of August 7th, 2016.
The most often asked “What is that plant?” award:
Variegated diervilla ‘Cool Splash’.
“My favorite newly added plant to my garden in 2016” award:
Pennisetum ‘Burgundy Bunny’
The award for “Most out of my comfort zone plant decision”:
Adding, gulp, Yuccas to containers. You can read about them here.
Yes, they are both still there.
Photo of the year:
No words necessary.
“The most f’n frustrating plant, three years running” award:
Cimicifuga, all cultivars. This is the best shot I could find.
The potential is so exciting and they start off like gangbusters but then the blooms emerge and it all falls to shit. I’ve tried everything to date and may just need to throw in the trowel (God I love typing that).
“Favorite new native plant finally added to my garden after ogling it at the High Line for so long” award:
All six of these should dominate in 2017. I hope.
“Instagram photo that will hopefully be bringing in a little bit of cash this holiday season” award:
More to excitedly come on this.
“The most magical early morning where thankfully I was awake and conscious and the camera battery was charged” award:
That is why I garden.