Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Quitters in my yard

I was rather upset this year to see that several of my well-established shrubs bit the big one.  I don't know if it was the long, cold winter, the non-existent summer (until this hot-as-Hades week), or the fact that last fall I had a baby taking up my time and didn't do all the covering and mulching I usually do.  I am specifically pissed about my dappled willow...which looked like this last summer:
And this, as of last week:
WHY?!  WHY?!  We gave it a long chance to perk up, but when the existing foliage started to brown and shrivel, we knew it was over.  Now, it sits in a bin waiting to be taken back to the garden center for a new plant.  We bought this one in 2009.  Luckily, I always get a 5 year warranty when I buy shrubs from my favorite store.  (Stein, if you're curious)
Sad.  I was also devastated by a hydrangea crisis.  I usually cover my patio hydrangeas with burlap, but last fall I said 'I think they are old enough to make it through the winter unprotected' which translates to 'I don't feel like covering my effing plants!'  So, it is my fault that both shrubs were badly compromised and will not bloom this year.
At least the foliage is in good shape.  One of our hydrangea vines was also a quitter this year, with one half of it giving up and dying.  It was already the skinny one, so this is just the icing on the cake:
Monstrous hydrangea vine, meet sad, sickly hydrangea vine.  We also ripped out a smoke bush that died after just planting it last summer, I didn't take a picture because it is so annoying to me.  I also have a 'Wine and Roses' Weigela that died back quite a bit...and now we have a silly misshapen shrub with a long branch that I need to cut off. 
It usually looks like this!
One last sadness....my prized 'Rio Samba' rose.  It is one of the most beautiful roses I've ever seen, and it has always been such a rock star in my yard.  The blooms are huge and people stop on the sidewalk to look at them. 
Not this summer, it is bravely fighting severe black spot. 
This pic was taken a couple weeks ago, I've since pulled almost all of the leaves off to try to stop the spread.  I have literally spent EVERY evening messing around with this dumb rose.  Ain't nobody got time for that!  Right now it is covered with powdered sulfur to help control the disease, and it seems to be working because I'm seeing new growth.  
It still looks like a skeleton next to the robust beauty next to it.  Blah. 
Makes me sick, since they looked like this last summer:
I'm hoping that all my extra attention will save it.  Also, it would be GREAT it mother nature would stop giving Wisconsin either constant downpours or oppressive heat and humidity.  Can't it always be 76 and sunny, with evening showers so I don't have to water everything?  I guess I should move to California....


  1. Hi Sara, we are in long time drought mode in CA. Lots of watering to keep plants alive. Better to have your weather than here. Love your blog.

  2. Sara ... the same in Toronto. We have been having heavy rain and when we are not it is HOT. It is going to be 115 degrees f today when you take into consideration the humidity. GRRRRR .. I never take summer vacation, I would just end up locked in an air conditioned house. Don't want to wish the summer away, but yeah Sept.

  3. We have been spending a lot of time/energy/money on the yard this year. I'm so bad at keeping things alive! Well, plus the dogs keep sitting on/eating everything. Maybe I should just give up?? I hope that rose comes back better than ever next year, because it is so beautiful!!

  4. Hi Sara,

    Have you looked into adding Epsom salt to your plants? Sounds strange, I know, but it works! I know it's really good for shrubs, grass, and roses. My FIL used it in his garden this year with great success. It's never failed me. Best of luck to you!


  5. We are so hoping to plant some flowers around the new house, but fear the same feast or famine weather you're having. It either pours for several days straight or we bake. I think I'm supposed to wait until the fall anyway, but I wish I had some color around the house!

    Those roses are stunning!!!

  6. lol On moving to Cali!! In Northern Cali we only have three seasons: Fall, Spring & Summer most oher areas only have two :) Bt its crazy hot here like 106+ wth :( lol ~ I'm sure you'd love our weather though...I can't imagine dealing with snow for months and months

    I hope your flowers come back in the late Summer and you get some pretty blooms.

  7. RIP beautiful plants and flowers! Better luck to the next ones! :)

  8. I second the Epsom salts, I did that this year for the first time in my cottage garden (just a little south in Chicago, where summer has also been drunk) and the results have been amazing. Although when my littles were tiny my garden was messier :)

  9. Boohissssss.... sorry your plants are jumping ship. This horrible weather has to be to blame.


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