The erratic nature of the weather is driving all of us gardeners to distraction. What do we do first? Plant what isn’t in the ground yet or pull weeds that are growing at a manic pace due to all the rain? Although I’d rather be planting, I am finding that I either have to pull the weeds or get out the shovel to displace perennials I love that are growing too vigorously (covering too much ground) before installing the new plants.
Yesterday, I dug out some Xanthorrhiza simplicissima (Yellowroot). This great groundcover for dry shade(mine is planted in front of a maple) has dissected foliage and yellow, tough roots. I found out how tough those roots are; digging them is a job for someone with muscles but I was able to make space for some new Shasta daisies, a cultivar called ‘Daisy Mae’ that is shorter than ‘Becky’ but supposedly an excellent rebloomer.
Then, I tackled my Aster tataricus ‘Jin Dai’, a toughie for dry sun that blooms quite late in the fall. Thankfully, that was an easier dig and I was able to plant a new dwarf Buddleia cultivar called ‘Pugster Amethyst’. The blooms are much denser and, because it only grows two feet high, will much easier to deadhead than my huge ‘African Queen’.
I have always preached that gardeners need patience and that is so true this year. I was beginning to despair that my Buddleia was dead and that many of my Hibiscus were too, especially the new ones I planted last year. One of them is Summer Spice™ Plum Flambe™ and I can hardly wait to see it bloom. Both genera are always late to foliate but this has been ridiculous! The temperatures have been so low for so long. Normally (is there such a thing any more?), temperatures are at least in the seventies, if not the eighties, by early to mid May and I already have a suntan. This year? Hardly. These plants just been waiting for hot weather.
I wintered over several Canna and a banana plus various Elephant Ears and planted them in May and early June. They continue to sulk and have not grown even half an inch. By now, the banana is usually higher than my Japanese maple – but not this year. Oh well, I’ll just hope for hot weather. When it comes, I’ll probably question why I wanted it.
The overwhelming amount of rain has spurred some perennial to amazing heights. My Tradescantia, usually 12-18” high is 30” high, almost hiding my Penstemon tubaeflorus and the same height as my Rosa Oso Easy ‘Happy Smoothie’. This blooming machine is already 30” high in spite of being pruned way back in late April.
Don’t you love serendipity? One of my favorite alliums is A.christophii and I have several large clumps that have been increasing. However, I never thought to plant it on the other side of the driveway where there is a large stand of Burning Bush (inherited, of course – I would never plant it). This spring, much to my amazement, there are three of these alliums. I’m assuming that either a bird or an ant carried it across the driveway for me. What an accommodating creature!