The most exciting is that for the first time ever I cannot walk between the individual bottlebrush buckeye shrubs (Aesculus parviflora) lined up along the back of the property. They have finally grown into each other, making a big hedge that I can't pass through.
|in 2013 the shrubs are finally growing together into a hedge|
They were planted six years ago, and even in 2009 I thought they would never (ever) grow to a point where the branches touched. Ever. But they did.
|in 2009, two years after planting, they were such separate blobs|
Another first in my garden is the fact that I can now sit on my patio late in the day. There is finally a little bit of shade on the rockers.
This is a big deal. The patio faces northwest, and in the late afternoon, exactly the time when I am done with chores and want to sit and admire the scene, the sun beats down brutally on the sitting area.
I had a sourwood tree planted by the patio wall, but it was small and was growing so slowly that shade was just a dream for years to come. I moved the sourwood a year ago, put in a fast growing river birch last season (Betula nigra), and much to my delight there is enough shade for one person with one glass of wine to sit in one of the rockers without frying.
River birch is such a fast grower that I'll be able to have two people sit there next year, and a party after that. River birch is messy (it drops a lot of twigs) and is probably too big for this space, but . . . there is shade!
This year for the first time ever I am growing dahlias. They are in pots, sitting on the patio wall, just under the river birch. This is Black Beauty, a low mounder, the perfect size for a shallow pot, and it's a dazzling, dark, sultry bloomer.
It's a first -- I have not experimented with dahlias before, and these smaller pot-grown ones are winning me over. The bees are nuts about them too. They will be easy to winter over; I'll just bring the pot in.
This year for the first time I made pesto. I have grown basil before, always in a container on the deck, but I just used it for garnishing dishes, a leaf here, a fresh sprig there. Mmmm. This year Jim and I bought a Mediterranean cookbook, and he has been experimenting with wonderful light dishes, and I have been making pesto. You have no idea how good it is. I had no idea.
And, can this be? Is it possible that after three failed attempts I am finally growing an Indian Pink --Spigelia marilandica? It looks like it will bloom. It looks to be alive and thriving.
Tammy at Casa Mariposa and Phillip Oliver at Dirt Therapy have shown beautiful examples of the Spigelias that they grow, much to my envy. I've seen stands growing wild in the woods. After losing all the others I planted, I may actually have one this year, and that will be a first!
Every year there is something different, and something novel in even the most established garden. I am delighted by the fact that I can be surprised anew each season.