Monday, August 22, 2011
Garden Fail/Garden Win
Well, it was bound to happen...our pleasant, mild weather officially ended this weekend...and summer and I are officially broken up again. As I sat in front of my computer with the A/C blasting away I was pondering what to post about this week. I've been wanting to do a new series of posts about my gardening foibles (especially since I have practically never-ending string of them) and this seemed like a good time to start!
The above illustration from last year shows an ongoing issue I have. The front garden is located on the east side of our house, and due to some mature trees across the street, doesn't get light until about noon. The garden gets about 4-5 hours of sun, after which the house (and trees behind it) shade it for the rest of the day. I've struggled to find plants that will thrive in these conditions...shade plants fry in the hot sun and far too many sun plants grow tall and flop over. The black wedge above shows the most extreme situation...the peak of our roof actually creates a weird spot that only gets full sun for 1-2 hours a day...but during the hottest part of the day. Today I'm going to talk about the first plants I tried there...some poor Echinacea (white circle).
This photo shows just how tall and spindly the Echinacea were...they got almost 5' tall, with the thinnest (and weakest) stems...almost no leaves...you can see right through the plants, they are so sparse! Can you believe there are 3 plants in there somewhere!
Here is the view from up on our porch...at least now you can see the plants better. Anyway, the Echinacea were not happy here, they did bloom, but of course they flopped all over and were pretty sad looking. I decided last fall, a few weeks before the first frost, to move them. I knew it wasn't the best time and that they wouldn't have much chance to put down new roots...but figured at least they'd have a better chance...I wasn't sure they'd make it through another winter in their current location.
So I moved them, to the north side of our house, a spot which gets no sun at all during the winter, but is actually one of the sunniest during summer...crazy, huh! Anyway, I figured nothing ventured, nothing gained...they HAD to be happier here...if they survived. This spring, I was thrilled to see them return and they have been MUCH more successful here. They are fuller and much more floriferous.
Truth be told, they are still a bit on the floppy side, because even though for my garden, it's about as full sun as I can get, it's a far cry from truly being "full sun" conditions. I'm hoping they bulk up and are a bit sturdier next year, but either way, they are much improved over last year...so I declare it a win! Next time, I'll look at what I chose to replace the Echinacea in their old spot.