Monday, October 19, 2015

Gardens live. Gardens die. A garden story.

We've been in our house for just over three years now, and the first couple years were spent completing our unfinished lowest level and adding a bedroom after baby Ezra had arrived. During that time we obviously did not have time to give much thought to the outside of our house. But we got to work this last summer. 

We started the projects in the spring by making this path around our back deck from of the leftover bricks after we demolished our fireplace.

We moved all the perennial plants around and planted Cosmos flowers for this area that had always been empty.

The plants began to come up and when they bloomed, it was quite pretty. I waited with bated breath for the Cosmos to come up. After they were like six inches high, they were hailed on and demolished. So I replanted. Then again, they were hailed out. Thankfully, they mostly recovered, though they were kind of bent and contorted from the beat-down they endured.

Then finally, at the end of August, they bloomed. 

I was so proud of them, my labor of love ;)


And after... The first frost came and killed them all. It made me so sad. Everyone was excited for the fall colors and sweaters and scarves and boots and pumpkin flavor but I was disappointed that all my hard work was dying. I'd never planted anything before and it was so gratifying to see it all grow and flourish. 

I love summer. I'm cold three out of four seasons, so it's nice to be warm for once. That and I don't have to put boots, snow pants, mittens, hats and coats on four kids every time they want to go outside. And I feel so hopeful with the extended sunlight, seeing people out and about, thunderstorms, growth, life. I love it. Fall? Not so much. Winter? Not at all. Spring? That's the same as winter here. Long live summer!

Here is the Sweet Sensation Clematis that came with the house. It blooms in late summer or early autumn and though the blooms are beautiful little star shapes, they don't last long. Just a couple of weeks and then they fall off. But at least the whole thing is still hanging in there after two frosts. 

Next up on our list for projects was a garden. We have pine trees along the sunny back line of our yard with small hills in the corners. We therefore decided on building two raised beds next to the house where there's empty space and plenty of sun. This is the southeast bed.

We planted carrots, peas and green beans here. This is the view from the deck.

And then the hail came three weeks later. 

Yet again I replanted and everything came up, except the peas (in the middle). This was August so the Cosmos (which were the only sheltered ones) had just started to bloom. We had lots of carrots and green beans for dinner...and like five peas all summer.

I took this picture on my birthday, September 17th. Sigh.

Quite the difference from when we began! 

And then the frost came last week. There was much weeping and mourning and gnashing of teeth. 

This is our other raised bed, on the southwestern side of the house. Look at our wee baby strawberry and two tomato plants! So cute compared to the monsters they became.

And again, then the hail came and shredded the tomatoes pretty good. So I bought another one and when it got hot in July, they really started to take off. 


And after... Sadness!

And perhaps the most disappointing of all is my front bed. I (okay, we) sure worked hard to make this area more beautiful. First we (okay, Terry) dug up the pine tree/bush root and we planted two lovely pink hydrangeas with four little teeny grasses. 

Despite how we labored to protect them from snow and other foul weather, we could not protect them from the massive hail storm. But they seemed to think, "though He slay us, still we will trust [grow] in Him," and they came back! I bought other plants for half off at Hardware Hank late in the season and they all took right off.

We planted a blue hydrangea on the other side of the front deck and it's done so well. It did get hit with the hail too, but not as bad, perhaps because it was smaller and had time to recover. So far the frost has only turned it a funny shade of purple. This was before that though.

See how much they had recovered?

My crowning achievement, my Morning Glories, were climbing and growing and thriving! I was so happy. I thought they added such a nice touch to the long, empty porch.

I thought perhaps they'd start growing downwards once they climbed up the plant hook (which I hadn't planned on but liked nonetheless)...

...but it just kept growing up and out! It was a huge bushy mass! Actually, it was a little strange how enormous it was, but I still liked it.

I was so worried that it wouldn't bloom though. I thought perhaps I had planted it too late (mid-June), it didn't get enough sun or I had a bad batch of seeds, but on September 30th, it finally bloomed!

I loved those spiraling blue blooms, even though I only got to see them for a couple weeks.

So many of these twisted buds were killed off before they could bloom.

There would have been many many more of them had the confounded frost not come. But I should give thanks that we didn't get it even before they bloomed. Last year we had snow on September 11th!

But alas, summer is not meant to last. This was after one frost.

After two frosts.

Good bye growing beauties! I hope to see you again in greater number next year (now that I've learned a thing or two).  

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