Summer of 2017 – Epic Fail

August 8, 2017

Well, I guess not “Epic” fail.  But the summer of 2017 has been one of neglect for my garden.  Now, not everyone will identify with this post, but I’m hoping some of you may be able to garner some encouragement and sense of camaraderie from me.  If your garden still looks pristine, read no further.

To be fair, since the first of May I have been to California twice for one week each time, to Florida, to Honduras, to Seattle, to Denver and to the beach twice.  And around the first of May I tore my meniscus in my left knee, making walking impossible for several weeks, let alone gardening.  So I’m going to say that it is not all my fault.

However, my garden usually goes downhill at this time of this year, every year.  And it feels like a massive fail.  By this time tomatoes are overgrown, day lilies are finished and they all need deadheading, and weeds have shown off their ability to rapidly grow.  Then add heat to the mix, and yes, I neglect my garden.

the specifics of the fail

Let’s start with the photo above.  There was lovely rose campion blooming that has quit for the summer, leaving nothing but dried stalks.  The tiger lilies have finished blooming and need to be cut back.  Crocosmia  has taken over (again) and the excess will need to be pulled up.  In front of my rock border you can see the weeds that have taken license to expand into territory that is not theirs.  The day lily drift that was so lovely in June has left a crop of dead scape.  The elephant ears that volunteered are not intentional, but they look good in contrast to the rest of the mess!

My rose bed:

The sweet potato vine volunteered from last year.  The roses have weeds growing up within them, and there is a large sweet gum tree that eluded being pulled up early and is now flourishing right in the middle of my “Souvenier du mal Maison” rose (its the tall one in the middle of the photo).  And the trellis holding my climbing rose got overwhelmed by the weight of the roses, and fell forward onto my shrub rose where it lay for four weeks.  My husband propped it back up with a steel fencing post.  What is outside the scope of this photo is the row of weeds growing up in front of the whole area.


And I’ll finish with my perennial bed:

Here you’ll see the dead blooms of yarrow that need to be trimmed.  Pineapple sage I planted is doing great – but no blooms even in full sun.  I foolishly planted three of them just to be sure I got a good show.  Behind them is the sunflower from hell (helianthus) I got from my neighbor.  It is well over eight feet tall, spreads by runners under ground.  I thought I had pulled it all up last year because it made such a mess, but nope – here it is again.  Mixed in with this is the butterfly weed that has reseeded itself, tomato vines, moon vine, and some dahlias that have flopped over and are blooming underneath all that other chaos.

is it really fail?

No.  Of course not.  It is a summer of neglect.  Now how I will get that doggone sweet gum tree out of my rose bed is a mystery.  But the rest will be remedied in the fall; after knee surgery and cooler weather sets in.  One of gardening’s many life lessons is that nothing is permanent.  A little bit of hard work will set things right.  Change is part of life and any garden.  I will tear out the things that don’t work and replace them with (hopefully) tamer things.  And I will resolve to do better next summer.  Again.


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I am a retired CPA who is now a Master Gardener. I spend my time gardening, doing tile mosaic, and visiting grandchildren.