I posted it with a promise to "unpack" it later, to describe the additions represented on it.
That promised post never happened. Since then, I've taken you on visits to other gardens: Wendy's in England, Ali's on a BC Gulf Island, Eleonore's in Germany.
But although I took many photos, posted some on Instagram, discarded others eventually to free up my phone memory, I never managed to put together a coherent post on the garden's summer performance. Shame. Shame on me. . . .
But I can tell you that the six cherry-tomato plants yielded bowl after bowl of sweet, juicy, jewels, many of those picked by small hands and popped greedily into little mouths.
I will tell you that after the June infestation I wrote about here the hydrangea rallied to buy itself another year on the strength of healthy foliage and abundant bloom (it's true, the bright pink will never be my favourite, but at the height of summer, it somehow convinces me). We picked egg cases of scale insects with considerable disgust for several weeks, and we're hoping that provides a solid discouragement to next year's crew, but time will tell.
The heavy rains of spring, followed by dessicating wind and heat while we were away (we had family monitoring and looking after the garden, but the containers dry out so quickly that damage was done before help arrived), followed then by months of drought--all this was hard on plants, and many suffered a scourge of aphids and powdery mildew (a demonic duo well known to most gardeners). I had to cut the honeysuckle back to its base, as I did with both roses bushes, and we belatedly picked up Safer's Insecticide and a Safer's Anti-Fungal Treatment. In my big seaside cottage garden, I left most afflictions for Nature to balance out. Wasps and snakes and dragonflies kept most tiny pests under control, and I'd had years to find the right spot for the right plants, to judiciously encourage -- nay, insist! -- that plants dig for their own water or learn to manage without much. Containers are a whole new gig for us, and there's not nearly as much margin for error. Plus any ugliness is much more visible. . . We can't simply dig something in behind the guest cottage while it's nursed back to health.
We had four apples on our dwarf Scarlet Sentinel!! We might need to find a more protected spot for this tree (the wind blew the apples off before they were quite ready, although still tasty), although it's currently in a good spot for sun. The fig tree has been a delightful surprise, not only for its rather extravagant branching and sketch-worthy leaves, but we have so far actually harvested more than ten sweet figs from it. . .
The rudbeckia's been blooming cheerily for weeks now, added its colour to the violet-blue creeping campanula that never stops flowering. We added several pots of hardy fuchsia -- pink-scarlet-purple, a pot of sweet-scented purple heliotrope and, last week, two pots of hot-hued chrysanthemum. . .
The grasses we've added have all done well, and there spiky textures and diverse shades of foliage bring interest to the ground level in a fairly easy-care form. There's a long, narrow pot of Japanese blood grass (Imperata cylindrica rubra), that I'm going to divide in the next week or two, so that I can pop I few more pots 'round. I love the way its rich wine-coloured spears move with the slightest breeze.
The sarcococca (sweet box) has been readying its tiny flowers to open all delicate and white some wintry day and release their sweet scent, and some weeks after that the Daphne will show off its pink fragrance. Before that, we'll get some fall colour from carefully chosen shrubs, and once those leaves drop, we'll look for some flaming branches and textured bark. And when the garden's denuding itself, we'll be entertained by the birds trying to put on some fat against the cold. We had a Northern Flicker hoovering around the other day, trying to remember where he'd seen a suet feeder. And we've given in on the house sparrows who seem to consider us their sole provider. They've proven themselves adaptable to bell feeders and finch/perch feeders, and I can't imagine what dire steps I'd have to take to dissuade them from the table.
One notable urban affliction we hadn't really anticipated, and a temporary one, we hope, is the fine layer of dust that coated the leaves of most plants, threatening to clog the stomata. Normally, this would have been washed off by rain regularly enough, but in this summer's long drought, we made sure to give them a rinse from time to time.
So there you go. After months and months, my promise has been kept, although I realize that was a very quick look 'round. But ask me questions if I'm missed mentioning a plant or a care issue you've been wondering about. Or offer any suggestions or advice you might have, as gardeners do. . .