Things go wrong


… so, get over it.

The classic double white peony ‘Duchess de Nemours’ decided not to bloom this year, and I haven’t a clue why. Her close neighbor, the red  ‘Karl Rosenfield’ (below) bloomed wonderfully, though he has faded by now. Both peonies have similar sun and soil, and both are occasionally flooded when the nearby swimming pond overflows in a downpour, but they are healthy and there is no clear evidence why the Duchess would not have set bud and bloomed. I closely inspected her several times, first to be certain that the buds were not just developing slowly rather than not at all, then a time or two afterwards to assure that there were no bugs, or soil or leaf debris that had buried her crown. I found no bugs, no sign that anything was awry, and that was that.

There is no reason to be heartbroken that this plant or another has not bloomed or performed as well as expected this year, there are likely to be many disappointments still to come. Instead of worrying myself about those things that I don’t know and can’t control I should be happy that Karl Rosenfield had more flowers than a year earlier, and the weather in May was splendid, so the large wine red double blooms were not torn to shreds by storms.

I think that the garden has been quite beautiful this year, but I probably think the same every year. And perhaps I am easily pleased, but if a gardener (and folks in general) takes pleasure in what he has instead of fretting over what he doesn’t, he is bound to be more content.

And now it’s June, and it’s perfectly reasonable to consider that spring has passed, at least the primary time when the garden is exploding in bloom. But today the Japanese iris (Iris ensata ‘Lion King’, above) are blooming in the pond’s shallows, and though each flower lasts only a few days the large clumps will have several dozen each, and the buds open over a range of days, not all at once, so each clump will have flowers for a week or longer. And there are four or five, maybe six varieties, and they will bloom at slightly different intervals so that there could be a month (and perhaps a couple days longer) of their glorious blooms.

I failed to keep up with spraying the deer repellent on coneflowers (Echinacea ‘Magnus’ above) and summer phlox as they grew, and now the tops have been nibbled to ankle height. When last sprayed the first of May the plants were the same size, but of course they grow, and the new leaves have not even a trace of the repellent, so when the deer come sniffing around they are not deterred. No matter, I’ll spray the repellent in the next few days, and the coneflowers and phlox will grow back even fuller with the early season pruning, but will bloom a bit late. I am thankful that the neighboring plants were not bothered by the deer at all, further evidence, I believe, that the effort to keep them sprayed regularly is worthwhile.

I failed miserably planting Mountain laurels along a stream that leads to one of the garden ponds in late spring a year ago, planting a handful of raggedy leftovers I found in the midst of a dry spell, and now two have given up and the others are barely surviving. Mountain laurels have sparse roots and though these were container grown they had been too wet in the nursery and half the soil fell away when I lifted them from the pot. I have planted hundreds of plants with broken and damaged roots over the years, and should have paid closer attention to assure they were watered adequately, but of course I didn’t, and now they are lost. At least they were cheap.

And so it goes, some losses, mostly successes, and glorious blooms from late February through early December.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. killdawabbit says:

    Maybe the Duchess needs more years to mature? Great articles. Thanks.

    1. Dave says:

      She has bloomed before, and she’ll bloom again. I have a Chinese dogwood that didn’t bloom at all last year, and barely a bloom a year earlier. This year, it’s covered. There’s not a thing that I’ve done, so I’ll let nature do its thing and I’ll stand back and admire.

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