What A Difference A Year Makes in our lives. It is most notable when we look back at photographs taken at the same period each year as we record our daily experiences. What we don’t seem to notice on a daily basis appears to jump out at us when looking back at previous years. Children grow, parents age, and fashions go out of date.
Another example is how our gardens change from year to year and how weather can affect their growth. One year there may be perfect growing conditions and your garden appears to grow inches over night. Flower gardens will burst forth in beautiful blooms and vegetable gardens will provide an abundant crop. Another year, your garden may suffer from adverse weather conditions, pests, and disease. Plants will suffer as a result and sometimes are lost or are stalled in their growth.
Last year, springlike weather came earlier than usual in Maine. Growing conditions were perfect and the gardens thrived throughout summer and fall. This year springlike weather was late in coming and it was wet and cold. The month of June had eighteen days of rain with additional days that were overcast and grey. What a difference a year makes.
Looking back at photos of my garden at this time last year, it is obvious that weather has affected certain plants. There are bare spaces where some perennials didn’t come back after a snowy winter. Other plants have grown large and are covering surrounding plants. Let’s compare last year to the same time this year and see the difference a year and the weather makes in the garden. In each case, the first photo is from last year compared to the next photo which is the way the garden looks this year.
Last year, the Endless Summer Hydrangeas were leafed out, growing well and in bloom early in the month of July. Their big, beautiful blue globes are one of my favorite blossoms that I associate with summer.
This year, the Hydrangeas are sparse and just starting to form buds. I had four plants but one didn’t make it through the winter. Of the three remaining, one is only about a foot tall and its leaves are spotted but it is forming two blossoms.
The lakefront garden was almost in full bloom last year at this time. Only the Bee Balm hadn’t stated blooming.
By comparison, this year the Coreopsis Moonbeam hasn’t started blooming. It appears little of the Bee Balm survived and the Rudbeckia is small and only one flower has opened.
The shade gardens seem to be similar to last year as they don’t need as much sun.
This year, the Astilbe are just starting to bloom but overall the gardens look healthy.
The garden next to the back deck is located in a protected spot. It gets the most sunshine of all our gardens. The lilies seem to have enjoyed all the rain and are crowding out neighboring plants. They will need to be divided next year. I’ve never seen as many buds and blossoms on them as they have this summer. Two daisies didn’t survive the winter.
The biggest difference can be seen in the tomato garden. Tomatoes need at least five to six hours of sunshine. With so many cloudy and rainy days, the tomato plants seem to be in a holding pattern…just waiting for sun and warmth before they really start growing.
When looking at the tomato garden this year, the difference is amazing. Not only are the plants smaller but there are only a few small tomatoes about the size of a nickel.
Sunshine is one of the biggest factors in the success of a garden. So far this summer, there hasn’t been much. It has been the second wettest June in 142 years. Because of the rain, I’ve watched the tomato plants for any signs of disease. Unfortunately, Septoria leaf spot, a very common foliar disease has started to appear. I’m trimming any leaf that is affected and disposing of it. Hopefully, I can control the problem.
It will be interesting to see if the tomato plants can catch up with their growth later in the month of July. More importantly, I’m wondering if there will be much of a tomato crop this year before the first frost arrives early this fall. I’d love to know what other gardeners are experiencing this year. Hopefully, you are having a great growing season.
No matter how hard a gardener works to have a successful garden, in the end it is all in the hands of nature. It really is interesting…what a difference a year can make.