Greengirls Helen Yarmoska, Nicole Hvidsten, Martha Buns, Connie Nelson, Kim Palmer and Mary Jane Smetanka are dishin' the dirt from the back-yard garden and beyond. Whether you're a greenthumb or greenhorn, they're eager to learn from your mishaps, mistakes - and most importantly, your sweet successes - all growing season long.

Mind the gap

Posted by: Martha Buns under Perennials, Weather Updated: June 6, 2013 - 8:16 AM

 

It’s time to regroup, and replant. The late spring delayed my realization that this winter turned out to be a bad die-off year in my garden.  An azalea will no longer see any Northern lights. Several clematis are MIA after several years of reliable service. A bugbane is banished, and there were a few casualties among the delphinium.

 

Odder still is that plants that ordinarily by now are vying with their equally aggressive neighbors for world domination are now at best struggling afterthoughts. For as long as we’ve lived in the house, centaurea and cranesbill have been on the march, springing ahead to fill any perceived possible gaps. This year, the cranesbill are nicely contained without my intervention, and the centaurea are pretty spotty.  In a way, it’s a welcome reprieve that lets me look at the bones of my garden without being distracted by plants that I didn’t really plant there, but it’s still puzzling, and it leaves me with several gaps to fill.

Some of the other garden gaps are of my own making: I let the tyrannical phlox get away with trying to annex the lily area a little too long. So this spring I’ve been digging the phlox away from the lilies I want to naturalize in that spot. But it’s left me with gaps, and it’s getting late for spring bulb planting.

I’ve replaced a few of the casualties, but I’m looking for suggestions for underplanting in the now-Spartan lily area. Should I go for some sun-loving annuals now and then put in more lily bulbs in the fall? Any suggestions for pairings with my pastel lilies, either annuals or perennials?

What’s your winter die-off story? Did you have a good year, or do you too have gaps?

It does give me an excuse to go shopping, but I might run into a budget gap before I fill the garden gaps.
 

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