This cornus kousa – Heartthrob – stayed in bloom for nearly six weeks.

How did your garden grow?

Sooke Garden club hosting garden forum this Wednesday to discuss success (and failures).

By Loretta Fritz

As the summer gardening season winds down and major harvesting slows, we can start to think about putting the garden – or portions of it – to bed. What needs pruning, fertilizing, mulching? Do bulbs need to be dug up or planted? Do perennials need to be divided?

It’s also the best time to consider planting trees and shrubs. If they get into the ground soon, Mother Nature will do all the watering needed to ensure that they get their roots growing and are off to a good start.

This is an ideal time, as well, to reflect on the summer garden’s successes and failures. The dry weather was again a major challenge. Next spring will reveal the toll it took on ornamental trees and shrubs, but for those of us living on rock, the picture isn’t pretty.

And the deer! They’ve eaten my butterfly bushes and just about everything else that’s been “safe” for many years.

On the positive side, roses and early flowering shrubs had an exceptional year, and fruit crops were abundant and delicious. I’m also hearing reports of strong tomato and squash harvests.

Edible gardening, however, always leaves room for disappointment: wire worms in the potatoes, for example, or greens lost to adorable families of quail dust-bathing in the raised beds. Perhaps every one of your figs, like my neighbour’s, mysteriously disappeared. Or your bean trellis broke from the weight of the vines and beans and the wind (and probably age), leaving a tangled mess and making it hard, if not impossible, to get at the beans.

The September meeting of the Sooke Garden Club will feature a Garden Forum. Bring your tales of success and failure, your questions and dilemmas, and your tips for achieving better gardening outcomes. There will also be a parlour show and the announcement of the winners of the annual potato contest. Members should bring their entries for the annual photo contest.

Please join us on Wednesday (Sept. 28), 7 p.m., at St. Rose of Lima Church on Townsend Road. New members are always welcome. If you have questions, visit our website at sookegardenclub.ca or email us at sookegc@gmail.com.

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Loretta Fritz writes for the Sooke Garden Club.