Monday, September 22, 2008

Equinox excogitations

With an end to summer this weekend, all the mistakes that earlier in the season had been disguised by foliage and flowers came clear. While piling on compost, edging garden beds, and pulling weeds, there was ample opportunity to ponder--and pull out--my mistakes.

This dahlia, "Shadow Cat," promised to be tall, thrilling, and satisfy my current color fixation. Well, yes, it was all of those things. Too bad the deep color disappeared against a hedge of dark yews. What a waste!

And speaking of black holes, this witch hazel struggles on, decked with tattered and yellowing leaves, in a location that to date has swallowed a sequence of apple, weeping cherry, and dogwood trees. Some killing karma at that spot. Ground too damp? Not wet enough? Maybe this witch hazel will manage to brave the winter. A stay of execution until the spring, I say!

Perhaps because of the heavy rain throughout spring and summer, plants grew taller than expected . . . and then they flopped over. I couldn't stake these cosmos and heleniums well enough to prevent them from looking like dishelved drunks at the end of a long, liquid evening. Party's over for these guys. I transplanted a peony where the cosmos had been and stuck a division of Phlox paniculata "David" in place of the helenium.

What did I learn? Nothing complicated. Just don't make the same mistakes in the future. Profoundly utilitarian.

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