moving it inside

We're in the process of wrapping up the 2009 garden. I'm bringing a few pretty things inside. We're mulching and trying to make our decisions for next year. I'm disappointed the books say we can't cut back perennials until the first frost. Some things are so shabby and I'm so tired of watching them decay. I think our garden was sort of a bust this year. Weird weather and no time and some really bad impulse decisions lead to a garden that seemed to have no rhyme or reason. We definitely erred on the side of too much variety and are trying to pare it down for next year. So hard though to yank out plants that didn't make it or that just aren't working for us. All that money spent. It's painful. We try to find other spots for things but we have a small yard and only a few spots that get good sun so our choices are limited.

The vegetable garden fared about as well as the flower garden. Some hits (tomatos, green beans, basil, lettuces) and lots of misses (zucchini, cantelope, tomatillos, peppers). We don't get as much sun as we need I think and also the non-raised bed needed more than crossed fingers. Our zucchini actually did well but was eaten by rabbits as soon as it grew.

So going forward, all cool colors. Different shades of greens and purples. Things that are getting axed: coneflowers (too sloppy), phlox (too tall), pinks (too neon and too shabby), golden tansy (too big). Things that will be added in the spring: more dragon's blood stonecrop, more artemisia (to replace the ones I killed by cutting them back too far), japanese anemones for pretty late summer blooms. We bought some more evergreen shrubs to do that whole bones for the garden thing and although I was resisting it I have to say it looks much better. Funny because we started out here 2 years ago in our first house with our new yard thinking we wanted modern, simple, just a few flowers, lots of green and then somehow we went garden gone wild. It's the lure of the nurseries, all those beautiful flowers, they're impossible to resist. I think we've learned our lessons. I have high hopes for Spring.

23 thoughts on “moving it inside

  1. Queen of Procrastination says:

    Simple is beautiful. I’ve tried taking a cue from experienced gardeners like the ’80 something’ old guy down the street. Just seems to know what goes where and how much fussing is needed. :)

  2. sarah says:

    Our garden bombed, too. I’m in Minneapolis, and the weather was so cool this summer – I didn’t get tomatoes and peppers until the second week of September. It’s a huge mess – we’ve been trying to figure out next year, too.

  3. Water Works says:

    My husband decided a few years back that gardening and growing was his hobby. He reads the books, studies the seed catalogs and even attended the Master Gardener classes through the local cooperative extension office. He learned that a good looking yard is constantly in flux. He has completely ripped out, relaid, and rebordered his gardens, creating pockets of landscape all over. It’s a labor of love for him, I just reap the benefits…beauty and bounty. He’s learned to just try something and see how it goes. So I guess that’s my point. You’ve tried stuff, now you revamp and keep what worked, move what didn’t and try new. Enjoy!

  4. strikkelise says:

    I’d cut the (worst) perennials if they annoyed me. There’s no ‘can’t’, in the garden, I think. The plants like to go through their cycle and get as much action from their leaves as possible, but if they look gloomy, they’re probably done.
    We are going through our first full year in a new garden and are having some disappointments, too.

  5. Corinne says:

    Do not be discouraged…what you have gone through is “normal” for all gardeners at one time or another, and you don’t know if you like something until you try it, even though it can be a bit “pricey” at times! Next year will be a new page for both of your gardens and do remember that NO garden looks the same two years in a row, much less longer than that…smile! One suggestion, especially for your shady areas…? Think HYDRANGEAS!! The number of varieties is large and each one is prettier than its predecessors! You will have all winter to think about them…!

  6. Heather says:

    You may want to rethink the vegetable garden entirely. Lettuce and basil (and many other herbs) do GREAT in containers, so if you want to be able to go out and pick fresh, you might consider putting them in big pots next year instead of in the ground. Tomatoes, I think, are best bought at farmers’ markets, where you’ll get tons of variety and delicious fruit without the headaches and disappointment of failed plants.

  7. Juli says:

    You may remember me as the gal who droned on & on when you sent your initial post asking for advice on your garden. I worked in a nursery for years & adore flowers…and you should see my garden. I hardly have enough time to tend to my kids & home, much less a garden. Shoot, I don’t even know how I find time to pee! Don’t be so hard on yourself! You are an impressive person, even if your home doesn’t have the desired amount of “curb appeal”!

  8. Imene says:

    A planned garden… maybe that’s what people who have nice gardens do.. I am so ignorant when it comes to gardening, you can tell if you drive by my house. I hope to learn though. Good luck with your planning!

  9. thedoodlegirl says:

    I am like the girl in the last comment: I don’t plan too well when it comes to our garden! It’s true, this time of year the garden starts to look so yellow and brown and droopy. But you said it well, it helps us look forward to spring!

  10. Jennifer says:

    I’m sorry you had some disappointments. I managed to kill about half of my seedlings (this is the first year I have really gardened), and only had a few successes. I have learned much though, and have great hopes for the garden next year. Hopefully yours will flourish as well.

  11. Barbara says:

    Go ahead and cut back the perennials that are looking shabby. For next year, there are several varieties of short zinnias in lots of colors that do great from seed directly sowed. If you like Phlox, put it in the back with things in front to hold it up. You had an purple oxalis I think in one of your pictures, if it won’t overwinter, bring it inside for the winter.
    There are lots of things that will grow in the shade. Search online for shade plant nurseries with catalogs to get ideas. A garden isn’t created in one year, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

  12. jeff-nhn says:

    Gardening is so much fun as each year is different in terms of my success. I determine my success by what I learned and how my past gardening lessons served me well this year. Fall clean-up is always bittersweet for me. I’m ready to plan for next season but I really never want this season to pass.

  13. Rollerwriter says:

    You aren’t the only one out there with less than satisfactory plants. Instead of yanking-trade! Use Craigslist or even freecycle to find someone who can trade you for what you are hoping for. I got so I just couldn’t stand pitching a plant (I have a large yard and too much imagination). My recomendation for the rabbits feeding on your zucchini-plant somethings for the rabbits. I did at the back edge of yard where they had safe spots to hide and never lost another plant to their nibbles. Enjoy planning for next year.

  14. Cindy Rush says:

    I don’t know where you live, but I’ve been a gardener for years. We don’t cut anything down until NEXT Spring, no matter what the books say. Why? Because snow and hoar frost are the most beautiful sight of all on those shabby looking plants in the winter. People tend to forget about the winter garden, and it can be the most beautiful and peaceful looking garden of all. You don’t have to do a thing! Plus, it provides a lot of cover for birds and such.

  15. Laura says:

    you may want to see which perennials make it through the winter, . It might help make some decisions. Also, now is the time to divide anything that did well- little groups of the same plants always look better than just one of each. I don’t know which book you are reading, but I cut my plants back whenever they lok like they neeed it. I run sort of a march or die garden- it needs to do really well or it is out of here!

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