A walk around my garden does not take very long. The only spaces I have for flowers are strips on each side of the house and garage. But I do use every inch available, and when I want to plant something new, I have to sacrifice something else.
I use no fertilizer but homemade compost, and things are crowded beyond any recommendations, but for the most part, they flourish. Or at least it looks that way because my failures are soon uprooted and added to the compost pile.
Here in mid-June, the roses are blooming in all colors. I have a New Dawn growing on the front of the house. While it climbed higher than my second-floor bedroom window a couple of years ago, some of the support system failed (that means the rusty nails and frayed string broke), and I had to cut it way back. This spring, the same thing happened to the section over the front door, so now it is much smaller, but blooming beautifully.
New Dawn is a very old variety of climbing rose, and the palest pink flowers last quite a long time.
By the back door I have another climber, Fourth of July, which persists in blooming on the fourth of June every year. This is a red-and-white striped rose. After the June display, it usually has another flush of flowers in August.
The ivy I hacked away early this spring was entwined with the rose branches, but evidently they were tough enough to survive.
Janet Del Turco is a local gardener and a graduate of the Ohio State University Master Gardener program.
Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My third climber is a Lemon Meringue, which I chose because that is my favorite dessert. It bloomed beautifully here in its third year this summer.
The last climber is Iceberg, but it does not do too well; in fact, it is showing some black spot this early in the season. It grows over an arbor that supported a child's swing many years ago, and I wonder whether there is something in the cement that anchors the uprights that discourages plants. I have tried clematis many times over the years there, and even honeysuckle does poorly.
My fairy garden is doing very well - too well, in fact. There are so many plants I just cannot resist in the spring that I have over-planted it, and I will have to harden my heart and rip a few out. My granddaughter will take any I cannot use because she has caught "fairy garden fever."
I don't use very many annuals, and those I do have mostly were grown from seed with varying results. I tried pansies this year, a ruffled variety, and they are pretty now that they are finally blooming, but next year I will go back to the large flowered Delta from the garden center.
I always looked anxiously for the first colorful flats on display as I drove by in early April and I missed that this year.
My impatiens have not done too well either. The plants are small and the blossoms few. Which is probably a good thing because their color is pretty awful - certainly not what I had imagined from seeds labeled "misty mauve." They've been closer to "pinkish-purple puce."
In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit I had to go out and buy geraniums this year. I have told many people over the years how to save them through the winter, and my own were about 10 years old. And then this winter, it all failed. I ended up with one out of 13 surviving.
I don't know if it was old age that did them in, or whether I left it too late to pull them up, after the first frost. But I blew it.
Now I have a big new challenge.
My treasured ornamental cherry tree has grown so large that the space under and around it is deeply shaded for much of the day. So I have to take out a number of sun-loving plants and plant more that will survive in shade.