Monday, September 12, 2005

2005 CCC Garden Awards

The end of the growing season marks the time for the 2005 Cincinnati Cape Cod gardening awards, in which I present awards to my plants. The categories are entirely whimsical and subject to change each year.

Most Resilient
The most resilient plant has to be my redbud seedling I received, free, from the National Arbor Day Foundation. I received 10 trees, but had only eight pots, so two lucky sticks were planted directly into the lawn. The redbud was still a naked twig when Mike gave the lawn its inaugural mowing of the season. I guess the huge ring of mulch around the seedling wasn’t enough of a clue for him to steer around the tree. He mowed it down. Ever hopeful, I planted a tomato cage around the stump and waited. It has rebounded beautifully.

Best from Seed
This is a tie. I’ve written previously of my amazing butterfly weed that bloomed from seed the first year. I’d also like to recognize the fantastic growth I’ve gotten from lemon seeds I started last winter during the Great Citrus Experiment.

Ugliest Post-Bloom Appearance
This award does not go to an herbaceous plant, but a woody one. Yes, daffodils and tulips and even lilies look ragged after they’ve finished blooming. However, the foliage does eventually disappear or brown enough that you can safely cut it away. With my Miss Kim lilac, though, I’ve had to look at its nasty, parched-looking leaves all summer. I was heartened to notice that the Miss Kims at the Friendship Park don’t look any better. At least its ugly appearance isn’t my fault (or the park landscapers and I are doing the same thing wrong).
My snowball bush gets an honorable mention in this category. It seemed to bloom too heavily for its own structure to bear and now looks positively bedraggled. Next year I’ll be lightening the load by cutting many blossoms to bring indoors. (By the way, if you click on the link for the snowball bush picture, you can see my neighbor's fake plant in the background.)

Best In-Place Surprise
Terese Bugnet wins, hands down. This rose is a prolific bloomer and sweetly scented. Best of all, it came with the house.

Most Popular with the Bugs
This is a bit hard to judge without an actual bug per minute count. My butterfly bush and sage receive constant insect attention. However, my blue mist shrub was attracting bees, moths, and butterflies even as I was planting it in the ground. Therefore, it wins the popularity award.

Most Misplaced
I made many errors when placing plants in the ground, but most of them were aesthetic. The only plant that truly suffered from misplacement was the sweet woodruff that I planted in full sun. I discovered my mistake not long after I put it in the ground in March. After allowing the sweet woodruff to bake until August, I mercifully moved it to a mostly shaded position near Cleo's bench. It survived the summer, but just.

Most Impressive Growth
They call trumpet vine an invasive for a reason. I planted a 6-inch stick in the spring and now have a 15-foot monster. Will it bloom next summer? Anecdotal evidence is inconclusive. It may bloom next year or it may not bloom for five.

Most Vigorous Cloner
I purchased 3 ostrich ferns from Trader’s World in June. They evidently like their shady spot (but with good sky light) and my regular watering. At last count, I have eight ferns. I may distribute them around the yard next spring.

Well, like most award presentations, this has gone on far too long. What nominees do you have from your garden?


Blogger Dianne said...

Very interesting post! Helpful advice too. Plants do have a mind of their own, so to speak. What may bloom and do well this year may not do well next year. You have a nice reference post for yourself.
I was very impressed by your lemon tree! And my trumpet vine was like yours, as I said earlier, took a good 5 yrs or so to bloom.
For me, this year was the year of the blooming bush. Every one I had (except for the hydrangea) were loaded down with blossoms. It must have been the right combo of rain and temperature.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous gardenmage said...

Dear Kasmira, a word to the wise about campsis(trumpet vine). For years I too had profuse foliage. I thought the monster was putting down good roots and I coddled it -- lots of water, good soil, flowery thoughts. Then in a garden q&a someone asked why her trumpet vine didn't bloom, and the answer was: starve it. Don't water, don't fertilize (will all go into leaves). This forces it to try to make sure it survives. Therefore it blossoms to reproduce. Voila -- tons of apricot flowers all late summer. A knockout. And in our current drought in the northeast, where every plant in my garden is dying of thirst, cruel garden mage that I am, I have not watered it once.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I would have to give the award to the most invasive plant to my birds' nest gourd, which has taken over the flowerbed. However, next year, I'm going to plant it so it goes up the front porch and the white flowers will look beautiful. They looked nice this year, too, but I'd really like to have my hibiscus growing upright. :)

5:41 PM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

Ugliest Post-Bloom Appearance always goes to my primroses. After they bloom beautifully in the spring, the rest of the growing season they are just a collection of ugly, scraggly, half-dead leaves.

9:47 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Do go slow with moving around those ostrich ferns. Once they are in, they tend to leave bits behind if you decide you don't want them there. And then BING - there they are again...

Your Miss Kim does look sad. Mine has weathered our summer-long pretty good. I have only just this last week started watering the beds... it's September, and if Mother Nature doesn't provide the pre-winter rains, I'd better suppliment to get the poor things through the winter.

I really like the fall color of the Miss Kim

8:51 AM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Ugh. My day for typos...

'The summer-long drought,' it is supposed to say.


8:52 AM  
Anonymous Tracy said...

I inherited some ostrich ferns (and a few others) and they are quite invasive. FI and I spent all of last summer clearing them out of the beds behind the house, only to find them back this spring. Ugh!

So do be careful with yours. I find the ostrich less invasive than a few others I have. But it still pops up all over.

9:02 AM  
Blogger Dianne said...

Like Gardenmage, I do nothing for the trumpet vine except to see if it's still alive in the spring! Mine is planted next to the garden shed where it can climb like crazy.

9:26 AM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

Thanks for the tips on the trumpet vine. I did fertilize it twice this year when the leaves began looking a bit yellow. I try some tough love next summer.
I also didn't know that ostrich ferns were so aggressive! Don't worry about them taking over. They are generally going in the most shady, boggy ground where nothing else will grow. I'd be glad to see them multiply there.

10:20 AM  
Blogger Zoey said...

Great post topic. I found it very interesting reading. I don't have a contribution because I am just too tired to think much tonight. Overall, I thought most of my plants were not up to snuff this year. But with perennials, there is always hope for next year.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

Zoey, you are a freak!
Your entire garden takes 'Best of Show.'

Silly woman. (We love you, you know, you give us such hope for our own plots of ground)

7:34 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Enjoyed the awards! I have an award for Greatest Failure on My Part, and it goes to the peony. *sigh* I just couldn't make that thing thrive no matter what.

12:53 PM  
Blogger deb said...

kasmira, this was a fantastic post. as usual, your photos are superb!

8:14 PM  

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