Regional Gardening Reports :: National Gardening Association

In the Garden:
Northern & Central Midwest
July, 2010
Regional Report

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These beautiful Asiatic white lilies are blooming about two weeks ahead of time this year!

Unpredictable Gardens

I don't know what I'm going to do. Everything in my yard is blooming! The problem is that it's two weeks earlier than last year. That normally wouldn't be a problem, but our house is on the garden tour this year. So, I'm in one of my periodic episodes of panic, wondering if anything will be blooming and how good the yard will look.

But then I breathe and remind myself that it's just my yard. My yard is designed to be lived in and enjoyed, not to be on show. And we are enjoying the lilies right now. If they are not here for the garden walk, then that's the way it will be. It's not like I can do anything about it.

You Can Never Predict!
I have a friend who is working on her landscape for her son's wedding in the back yard. She's running into the same situation. Who can say exactly when something will bloom? Instead of trying to plan for the perfect show on the single day, we need to relax and know that our yards and landscapes will look just fine even when they're not in what we may think is the perfect condition.

A Goal of Stasis
I suppose my ultimate goal in the garden is stasis. I want things to get to a certain point and then stay that way. Yeah, right. I actually would like to have the mulched beds not grow any more weeds or the birch not need pruning. But that's impossible. We don't garden in a vacuum, so things continue to change, and accepting that change is what makes us great gardeners. That change is what makes the perennial border so interesting- it never looks the same from week to week. And often, it's completely unpredictable.

Recognize Change for Better or Worse
One of the hardest parts to planning a garden is seeing in your mind's eye what it will look like several years from now. Gardens change, usually for the better. But it is also important to recognize when they have changed for the worse. That's when it's time to pull plants. It can be hard to part with an old friend, but if that friend has lost its shape, won't bloom anymore or generally looks poorly, it will make everyone happier if you remove it from the landscape. I promise- once you yank that old overgrown juniper or remove that fuchsia-colored phlox that just doesn't belong in your color scheme, you will feel much better about your landscape.

And a word of advice- don't volunteer to be on the garden tour. It will make you crazy!

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