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Serendipity Gardens: Busy schedule delays some projects

Serendipity Gardens by Carol Hegel Lang

This gardening year has certainly proved to be a challenge with the crazy spring weather we’ve had.

Everything seems to be late coming up. I’ve lost a few perennials, at least two shrubs and possibly two small ornamental trees. My Virginia bluebells and bleeding hearts certainly are not anything to brag about this year with very few blooms on them, but on the upside my Angelique tulips actually bloomed even though Mr. Rabbit was eyeing them several times for his lunch. Looks like I won the battle this year of rabbit versus gardener!

As of this writing, the only things I have planted are the native perennials and a Nannyberry shrub. The few plants I purchased earlier have been spending most of their time in the house with only a few hours daily in the greenhouse for extra light due to the cool temperatures, just trying to keep them alive.

Carol Hegel Lang

Normally by this time I have a good share of the annual plants purchased along with hanging baskets, but with a granddaughter graduating and lots of events, we have attended for her, I have put gardening on the back burner. Did I mention that we are also having both the house and garage painted this spring if the weather ever cooperates?

Because of the upcoming paint project, I cannot plant the containers around the house until this job is finished, so there is no need to be buying lots of plants and trying to find places to keep them in the meantime. We also plan to have the landscaping finished along the kitchen area of the house when the painting is finished, and the perennials will probably need to be cut down for this project. So as you can see, gardening is at the bottom of my list this year.

Looking on the brighter side I hope to get my annuals — zinnia, cosmos, marigolds, tithonia and sunflowers — planted right after Memorial Day. In the past, I have found that waiting until the soil is warmer gives the annuals an extra boost in growing, and they seem to grow better.

Last year, a couple of coleus that I planted on the south side of the oval garden had a fungus on the leaves, and the leaves would dry out and curl up and then fall off. These five plants were purchased from a different gardening source than the rest of the ones I had and were the only ones affected by it. The article I read mentioned pulling them out and disposing of them in the trash not the composter and then not to plant coleus in this location for several years. This would be very similar to the impatiens downy mildew I had a few years ago when bedding impatiens worldwide had a real problem. So now I have to figure out what to plant in a lime green color in this location this year.

It seems like there is something every year affecting the plants in my gardens, and that was not how gardening was for many years prior when about the only disease was blackspot on my roses. Don’t even want to think about the Japanese beetles that visited my gardens last year for the first time. The longer we garden, the more challenges we seem to face.

I am hoping that after Memorial Day the weather will straighten itself out and cooperate better than it has thus far this season. The bird migration was quite lackluster this year with only a few orioles and grosbeaks and one warbler, but it still kept me busy filling feeders with grape jelly and oranges. One male hummingbird is all I have seen, so I am wondering where the females are. At least the wrens are serenading me when I am in the gardens with their wonderful repertoire of songs. I have learned to just roll with punches Mother Nature throws at us and enjoy each day.

“I longed to be transported into that quiet little landscape, to walk up the path, to take a key from my pocket and open the cottage door.” — Alan Bradley