The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Summer 2018


By Lori


For a summer which started out cold and bleak, with retarded growth on just about everything, 2018 became a hot, dry blaze of a summer.
Spring, well what there was of it, was a puzzle. Perhaps a subject better discussed in another blog.

the deer were in starvation and eating the new buds of just about anything they could find. My agave was green and they chewed it to rags. Poor things, not my idea of a succulent meal.

We had our second winter in March/April. It was soooo cold that even the spring peepers were late making their spring song. I had to take solace in my indoor plants, thankfully the saintpaulias returned to blossom, as if in consolation.

the meadow was frosted for so long that I thought it would never be green again and the shrubs I had planted last season didn’t look very healthy.

Early June was still cold; everything was a full month behind the average, but by the end of June we had better temps and everything developed, grew, blossomed, over night. A few wobbles in temp at the first of the month; but like magic the weather changed and we began to enjoy hot temps.. it was like going from late March to the first of July in one swoop! There were blossoms on the apple trees for the first time in two years. They developed in full size fruit, much to my surprise.

Irises! the cold delayed the early ones and they all seemed to pop into blossom at the same time. Glorious! but over too soon.

Lilies and poppies were lovely too.

The roses finally blossomed in July and after a slow start put on quite a profusion of bloom and scent.

Then the second wave of misfortune hit… army worms… tent caterpillars… they managed to defoliate three of my large maples that are closest to the house, and I fought them tooth and nail to save my apple trees. They prefer wild cherry trees and apple. so the battle was on.
new additions to the evergreens… four thuja and boxwood.

As the summer wore on it became increasingly dry… the two streams dried up completely and I had to ration water from the rainbarrels.

I was excited about the apples! but the veg garden seemed like it was on hold…nothing was developing, except the melons!

The frog pond seemed a little depleted but the nymphaea blossomed happily.

thimble (or bumble) berries are raspberries but very seedy. it takes a lot of berries to make jam or pies!

One of the nicest things about the summer of 2018 is the return of the monarch butterflies. Their numbers were quite depleted in the last two years..but this summer the asclepias blossoms drew the butterflies and there will be tons of seed for next years plants.

The hostas, delphiniums, rudbeckias and hollyhocks are seemed undeterred by the heat and dryness… amazingly.

so many things have changed but it all seems to be going along well… I thought the abutilon was dead but it’s back, the hollyhocks which took centre stage last year barely made a showing this year… the delphiniums blossomed twice… and I’ve discovered nasturtiums. Lots of interesting changes this summer when I spent most of it indoors working on my kitchen. Shows how important we are to the paths of nature… they’ll whisk you along and you have the illusion that you’re doing something.

More blog posts by Lori

Previous post: Spring is Here...Oh Wait!..check the calendar, April 17 to May 17, 2018

Next post: Record cold... all across the province.



Well it seemed to blossom nicely for you after a slow start, even if you had a shortage of water. It's great to see your many different Irises. Pity they don't last long.

13 Oct, 2018


Oh! Lori, what a trial. Sad when the wildlife have to forage so close as there is nothing else to eat, like you I think it doesn't sound much of a nourishing or healthy meal.
Nice to think that tent caterpillars (had to look them up) turn into some sort of moth, good for the eco-system, but not good for the decimated plants. I have seen a variety we have in this country which had covered a complete 20 ft run of hedge and denuded it completely, spooky sight a hedge covered in fine netting!
Glad the apples got to bear fruit. Your Iris's are stunning, what a sight they must have made, even for just a short time, but like apple blossom a joy for a while and something to remember and look forward to the following year.
Monarch butterflies - the thought of such bright beautiful things in quantity, instead of the odd few we see, is amazing. I wanted to grow Asclepias for for butterflies, I always thought they were orange?
The Rudbeckias are native to N. America aren't they, so probably would do well, we have had some trouble with a few evergreen fir/cedar family plants, they didn't seem to like the hot, dry weather we had this summer, other things of course thrived. But even the common Sedum acre threw up it's hands in surrender to the heat and died back a bit. The larches on the field have dropped needles like mad, but hopefully will recover.
Best of luck to you, hopefully you will have a not too bad winter and everything will thrive next year. It's always 'next year' with us gardeners isn't it?

14 Oct, 2018


well the garden caught up and that is the main thing. I love the irises in particular.

14 Oct, 2018


Well your blog was a lovely way of showing how Time passes. Your plants seem to have put up with a lot and are now proving how Nature transcends everything.

14 Oct, 2018


I found that once I started this blog it became an exercise in what to leave out. Even though I had spent little time in the garden it marched along to it's own tune and when I started to consult my photographic record I was surprised at how well everything did, regardless.
The roses, for instance, had two lives this season... the first was nipped in the bud (literally) by the caterpillars, then the orange legged beetles and the drought... I had almost given up on them when presto! the weather changed and we had some moisture and the rose bushes grew new leaves and each branch had blossom. Apart from picking off the caterpillars and a bit of Safer's soap they had no help at all. I picked the last rose two days ago. I've thought about dividing the huge thing and taking cuttings to start a hedge but fear I'd need my life insurance. Interesting reading on the function of the thorn, besides ripping a person to pieces. (Said with a rueful smile.) 🤔🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️

14 Oct, 2018


Honeysuckle: the pink wildflower Asclepias syriacus has the most delicious scent but goes quickly to s eed and the plant stalk dies to a black shrivelled stick which is not too pretty in the garden, but should not be disturbed until the pods have opened naturally... most people won't stand for that. I have them in my meadow so it just looks like a bit of an untidy jumble anyway! The seed fly on cotton-like parachutes... beautiful plant in all it's facets, but I'm prejudiced. lol... <3

14 Oct, 2018


It was great to see the whole year in review like that. The irises were gorgeous, especially that deep purple one. Glad you had an apple crop - flowers are great but it so satisfying to have grown something you can eat...

14 Oct, 2018


Beautiful collection of Iris and that rose is a beauty also that water Lily stunning.

15 Oct, 2018


Lovely blog Lori. What a year you had. Challenge after challenge. Well done for getting through it!

15 Oct, 2018


Seems best to keep records Lori, and then expand what thrives in your temperature controlled garden.
Maybe more shade would help ?

30 Nov, 2018


That's a good suggestion Diane. I have eight acres of field and woodland... lots of shade up the hill... not so much in the little stream valley. I left out the hosta show which with all the different varieties is a source of interest all summer long. They like the shade of the tall deciduous trees and even thrive under a black walnut but look especially pretty near the cedars and fir trees. I bought a "package" from a Prince Edward Island nursery and the plants were all tiny and packaged together with no var. names. Some I've had to move as they require more shade...others seem to do better in full sun. It's a bit of a guessing game but I have time to sort it out. I have a huge Bressingham blue which has produced seeds two years in a row. Some of the saved seeds have been planted and the seeds that fell beneath the parent plant have germinated so now I have a major bed of them. Lots for transplant...I have the room for them, thank goodness. Perhaps a blog with pics would be a good idea so my GoY friends can help me to put names to them?

30 Nov, 2018


Thanks Stera, 3d and Karen. I did not get the time to make some changes to the irises this summer... no telling what I'll be facing in the spring.

30 Nov, 2018

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