This gardening year is winding down and it's time to take stock and see what worked and what didn't and to present a few awards. I have to start with this picture, taken on a beautiful June morning. My battles with the local deer gang overshadowed every other aspect of gardening this year - you can see how brazen they are . . . walking through our yard in broad daylight, pausing to nibble the grass along the way.
Lesson #1 - So, the big lesson learned here is that you can't ever let your guard down. We've found deterrents that work, but only when you consistently use them. The biggest heartbreaks in this department were the night they devoured our whole garden and discovering that they love Knockout Roses, thorns and all. (And on a personal note, next year I will NOT yell and throw things at them - at least not while the neighbors are at home!)
Lesson #2 - Vines are wonderful. This one was particularly fun as the hummingbirds loved its tiny flowers - and it grew from the ground to the top of our upstairs porch, and then kept going by spreading over the ceiling. I've already harvested seeds from it!
Lesson #3 - You can never have too much compost!
Lesson #4 - Stop planting tulips. Accept that daffodils are the only bulbs that will survive the squirrels. You will never have tulips like these Biltmore beauties. Repeat. Stop planting bulbs!
And now for the 2009 Garden Awards!
Best Dressed - the hands-down winner is 'Miss Huff' - a lovely lantana that's full of color from late May until October. She requires no water, no fertilizer . . . and the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds love her!
Most Whimsical - this award goes to this adorable cucumber tendril!
Most Likely to Succeed - the clear winner is this caged hydrangea. It lived in this not-so-attractive cage throughout the spring and summer and is now thriving, unlike its un-caged counterparts who were chomped to the ground by you-know-who! Next year it may win Best Soundtrack with the hit "I Know Why the Caged Plant Blooms".
That's it for the garden. We're on to winter color now - lots of berries and birds and a few trees that are holding on to their leaves.
On a different note - here are the latest teas I'm tasting: Pomi-Berry (which is a caffeine-free chamomile blend), Mountain High Chai, White Peony, and a Tamayokucha, a green tea. Check back this weekend for full details on these teas from Two Leaves and a Bud!