Not a lot to do when you're stuck in bed trying to stay one step ahead of a flu contagion that seems to be enveloping the town, and as I am prone to do, I find myself turning toward the garden. Under most circumstances, it is a pleasant distraction from the noise of the world, but on this occasion, it turned sombre, almost elegiac. Trying to remain upbeat, I originally titled this post 'Hide and Seek,' but then added the tagline that truly matches my mood: I Am Not Impressed!
This has been my own personal annus horribilis wherein the garden is concerned! ALL of the photos in this post represent plants that did not make an appearance this year! Distraught! Frustrated! Angry...... I am all of these and more! The weather absolutely sucked this year! A late frost, followed by extreme hot weather, combined with a lack of ritual precipitation definitely took its toll on my garden. I cringe to see the water bill - I was out every other evening after work trying to stay one step ahead of the wilting, crisping foliage on my babies, but in many cases to no avail. It seems like I turned around and they were once again suffering!
There are a few of my treasures that might be considered divas -- my sublime Anemonopsis macrophylla and the demure pink and white striped Arisaema candidissimum, but for the most part it was my stalwarts, the tried and tested plants that required little and returned year after year! What's up with that? I would have thought that my resident Morina longifolia [pictured below] would have loved the heat and near drought like conditions. Not so much! There was no sign of his thistle like rosette of foliage - and sadly no fabulous flower stalk topped with the pink and white flowers that made even me gasp!
Of course there are a few of my children whose delicate physiology makes it far too easy for them to be swallowed up by more robust neighbours. I was certain I had spotted the delicately demure Anemonella thalictroides 'Cameo' earlier in the Spring, but then again it may have been nothing more than a wandering Thalictrum seedling - heaven knows I have enough of them! Occurrences like this sadden me. My plants are like family to me, and while I believe that I make a good, decent parent, seeing them disappear makes me wonder.....
I am holding out hope that my resident Cyclamen is simply taking his sweet pink time to appear. I make a point of checking every morning on my way to work! He is one of my favourite Fall beauties! The list seems to go on and on this year! A somewhat diva-esque Primula, a fabulously chartreuse Filipendula, the purple flowered Campanula Kent Belle, [which I didn't think could ever disappear, rambunctious child that it can be!] a fabulous fully double Iris ensata, the diminutive Pinellia, not to mention a stunning variegated Polygonatum known as 'Fireworks.'
I am holding out hope - I haven't written any of them off just yet. We have had relatively severe winters, and as I say, this summer did not bring weather that any of my kids would enjoy. Once again, they are special that way. They like it cool and damp, and when Mother Nature is agreeable they respond as such. Just look at my Anemonopsis from last year! There were dozens of flowers and buds. This year his stem was all of six inches, and the two flowers that did manage to bloom, well between you and me, they were not of his usual calibre, but I do not blame him in the least! I do not want to have to resort to engaging in rain dances every summer. I have neighbours and a reputation to maintain.
Is there anyone else out there who will be happy to see the snow fall, so that it can blanket and hide the awful gardening season that was? Do not leave me to wallow in misery for too long. I need companionship and commiseration people!