By Loretta Fritz
What a summer! Everything in the garden peaked ahead of schedule – or died of thirst.
At our house it was an especially good year for roses and lilies, but the worst in 10 years for apples. As for vegetables, lettuces bolted, the chard was overwhelmed by aphids, tomatoes grew two metres tall, basil thrived outdoors, potatoes were ready in June, and beans flourished – an unexpected and unprecedented mix of results, to say the least.
Different neighbours, of course, report different surprises, depending on their particular microclimate and their soil’s ability to retain moisture.
Outside the vegetable garden, which I vowed to water regularly, if not sufficiently, trees, shrubs and perennials generally struggled in the absence of rain. A few succumbed and will have to be removed, perhaps replaced. Some bloomed only briefly. A few, on the other hand, appeared happier than ever before.
If nothing else, the summer heat and drought have spurred a rethinking of sensible choices when it comes to designing and planting a landscape in this area.
For many, the waning of summer heralds days and weeks devoted to harvesting and preserving the garden’s bounty.
However, for anyone who grows anything at all, be it in the ground or in a pot, fall offers the opportunity to reflect: What grew well? What didn’t? What needs to be divided, (re)moved, or replaced? Perhaps most importantly, what can I do now to start preparing my garden for next year’s growing season?
To help members take stock of their individual situations, the Sooke Garden Club is pleased to welcome back speakers Anne Taylor and Theresa Boggs, partners in Victoria-based Good to Grow Landscape Solutions.
Taylor is a landscape designer who also happens to be an avid, knowledgeable, longtime coastal gardener. Boggs, a journeyman horticulturist, is an expert in plant culture and project management.
In addition to reflecting on the past growing season and answering members’ questions, Taylor and Boggs will talk about opportunities for “replenishing and reorganizing” during the season shift, from seed saving to new plantings (including spring bulbs). They will focus on such fall tasks as cutting back/dividing perennials, pruning shrubs, assessing stressed plant material, dealing with tubers, and feeding plants and soil.
Join us Wednesday (Sept. 23), 7 p.m., at St. Rose of Lima Church on Townsend Road. New members are always welcome. Annual fee: $15; guests $5. Also on the agenda: fall parlour show; potato contest results; member plant sale; and submission of entries for the annual photo contest.
Questions? Visit our website at sookegardenclub.ca, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone Rose at 250-642-5509.
Loretta Fritz writes for the Sooke Garden Club.