It was wet. We expect the swale garden and the lawn below it to be wet in April and well into May, from snow melt running down from the hills which surround us. This year it was continuously and unrelentingly wet until late July. The swale was continuously full of water, which would be lovely if that is what we had planned, or if that is what we could count on. Some of our wildflowers, selected to be able to cope with a few weeks of standing water in the spring, drowned when subjected to several months of standing water. Even the rock garden (featured photo), planned as a summer-dry garden, was under water for several hours after some of the heaviest downpours.
We had hoped to burn part of our tall-grass prairie bank in early spring but it was too continuously rainy. Even without the benefits of a spring burn, the bank was showing a nice amount of colour by the beginning of August, in time for the Pontiac Gardens and Gifts Tour.
Some of the swale plants flourished:
With all the rain, the tall yellow daisies of late summer were HUGE.
My proudest moment was when the seed-grown Wood Lilies in the rock garden flowered for the first time. They were grown from seed collected in Bristol Township.
New endeavour: hypertufa troughs to show off tiny alvar and arctic gems.
I have started propagating some fen and alvar species such as this lovely Grass-of-Parnassus. Their seedlings are tiny – it may be a few seasons before i can offer them for sale.
New in the nursery for 2018: forest floor plants, started from cuttings. I know city gardeners want more native options for shade.
Other new species:
We added a hoop house, so we can have more plants in bud for the Rare and Unusual Plant Sale in May. This isn’t intended to be an all-season nor a heated green house. We just want to be about 7 – 10 days ahead of the season for Mothers’ Day.
I potted up well over than two thousand plants during the summer and tucked them all in for the winter, so we are in good shape to bring lots of native diversity to the spring sales.