State of the Garden…

It’s a slugfest.

Slug feasting in the fading Summer Sun...

This season has brought back a resurgence in the little blighters – in this cool, overcast and wet weather, they are no longer shy and retiring and they clamber about the perennials in broad daylight.

Blogging and gardening has been sparse. The garden has received occasional forays for some maintenance and bug photography, but my heart has not been in it. Having gone through a barely noticeable summer, the approaching autumn season finds me strangely restless. I need to set the base now for changes I want to make in the garden next year, but weather, domestic life and thoughts for the future keep breaking my pace. There seems to be so many concerns pulling me from so many directions I can hardly collect my thoughts to focus on any one thing. Looking back I see a myriad of incomplete projects and looking ahead I see more still to come.

Looking around the front landscape and seeing a multitude of problems, I finally came to the conclusion that the front garden has failed. I designed it to have solid ‘bones’ –  a sturdy skeleton that would harbour a naturalistic diversity of plants. With the bones of the garden gone – the spruce and Russian Olive – the friendly chaos of the front now seems to be more of a tangle. Filling spaces with inappropriate plants, combined with a season of abnormally moist weather has made it a jungle out there.

I have hacked back my monster lovage to the base, and I believe I will remove it entirely. A more genteel shrub will take its place, perhaps another Onondaga Viburnum. The Virginia creeper vines that I hoped would soften and grace our box-of-a-house are mottled and browning due to infestations of leafhopper, so they are coming down too. I need to rewire the house to accept the vines, so that means our tough old Clematis alpina ‘Helsingborg’ will also need cutting back. That can wait until after frost – I don’t think the bald-faced wasps that are nesting there now would appreciate the disturbance…

That’s not all. Our Acer ginalla was planted so its autumn color would be set off by the spruce behind. With that spruce gone the maple is sadly out of place, robbing the soil of vitality and out of scale with the rest of the garden. In spring I will need to cut it back and then revitalize  the soil in that area. The maple will soon send up new shoots, and it will be more in scale with the rest of the garden until the new birch fulfills its rightful place.

The Japanese tree lilac that I planted  to replace the Russian olive has not had a good year. It produced only two feeble blooms and leaves are pale and mottled. Although I did my best to untangle and cut the roots when I planted it, I fear there may be a root still girdling it somewhere. That corner of the garden is a tangle and needs a thorough reworking.

I have been hauling out our Shasta Daisies as well. They have been self seeding throughout the garden, and with its questionable odor and its weedy ox-eye-like propensities, I think I will restrict its use in the front garden to a couple of small patches, and pay more attention to the dead-heading.

That is just a part of what must change in the front garden. I will be charting the current planting and devising a new plan for spring. Thankfully the sidewalk frontage is still strong  – the golden Juniperus chinensis ‘Pfitzeriana aurea’ are still playing their part, and the entry pergola is upright, if somewhat weather-worn. For the rest of the garden, a major overhaul is required next spring, and I must face it.

Then there is the soggy, and incomplete vegetable garden renovation…

It’s a slug fest out there.


3 thoughts on “State of the Garden…

  1. Awwww! May the best slug win! And that’s you, as you sound like you are feeling a little sluggish at the thought of it all. 🙂

    I found out from a neighbour that the giant plant they have strung up against the fence in the back lane is lovage. I had photographed it last fall after it turned black and found its lines very striking. It has a lot of presence to be sure. Can you move such a big plant or does it have to go?


    1. Previous experience with lovage tells me that the roots are very extensive and deep running. I imagine it would survive a move in spring, but most likely it would take a year or two to come back to its full strength.


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