A very good year

I’m generally not one to reminisce about the goings-on of the year past. Gardeners are well served possessing a short memory, better to forget the minor disasters that occur with regularity, but we mustn’t forget the why’s and why-not’s, the how-to’s that prevent complete failure. My wife will confirm that my memory is selective, the unpleasant or inconvenient quickly dismissed.

There are plentiful memories from this year worthy of reflection.

Blooms from February to December

Perhaps there was a stray blossom from ‘Winter’s Interlude’ camellia in January, though the up-and-down temperatures were not conducive to mid-winter flowering and many buds were injured and fell. There were few other disappointments, from late-winter blooming bulbs and Helleborus, to the bright yellow December flowers of Winter Sun mahonia.

Helleborus bloom in late winter

Spring blooms were delayed a bit by cool temperatures in March, but once the flowering season began the cool, rainy weather encouraged blossoms to remain longer. Through summer, moderate conditions, with only a brief drought in August, kept the garden looking fresh.

The Autumn garden

While my addiction to planting is unbounded by the seasons, I exerted some effort to increase the number of late season bloomers, adding coneflowers, asters, sunflowers, and toad lilies, some new purchases, others divided. This first year was a success, and I look forward to larger plants with more abundant blooms in the coming autumn.

Toad lily in October

Though the least conspicuous of September flowers, the toad lilies (Tricyrtis) have captured my eye, and my collection continues to grow. Fortunately, they grow to a modest size that fit’s comfortably into any nook or cranny, in sun or shade.

A September garden wedding

Not in our garden, thank goodness! Though we hosted friends and family for our eldest son’s wedding, and invited a crowd back to the house after the rehearsal dinner, the event was held in the formal garden of a local Colonial era conference center.

Our sons, groom and best man, and groomsmen in the lower garden

The weather was ideal, as late September often is in northern Virginia. One week later began a progression of weekend monsoons that would have doomed an outdoor event for the following month. Luckily, not ours.

This wedding brings back only the happiest memories.


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