Sunday, July 13, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

The eggplant was a wash and other horror stories

Vacation is a wonderful thing. Two weeks of a first-ever "stay-cation" turned out to be lots of fun and very restful. I got to enjoy my garden (and work in it) a little bit. And take stock of this crazy year.

The eggplant was a wash and other horror stories

Vacation is a wonderful thing. Two weeks of a first-ever "stay-cation" turned out to be lots of fun and very restful. I got to enjoy my garden (and work in it) a little bit. And take stock of this crazy year.

The tomatoes are finally starting to come in. Very late due to the weird/wet weather earlier in the season, which outright ruined a couple of plants. A friend lost all her peppers. I've got three tomato plants and three pepper plants limping along. I've had a grand total of one cucumber; a second is ripening now. The beets bombed. The grapes are terminally fungal. Even the fall crop of chard and mustard greens drowned in their containers after a recent downpour.

The eggplant was a wash, too.

It's been a mixed bag for my perennials. The butterfly favorites - black-eyed Susans, anise hyssop, mountain mint, coneflowers, salvias, N.Y. ironweed, clethra - performed well. But the roses ... I'm toying with the unthinkable - getting rid of most of them. They are a sentimental favorite, but for three years now, they've suffered from black spot and other disfiguring diseases. Even the Knock Outs, which typically look pretty good in early September in their "hell strip." They're absolutely dreadful this year.

The summer's runaway success story - besides weeds, of course - is FIGS. An avalanche, which I've shared with friends, neighbors and colleagues.

In all, though, it was a pretty rough year in the garden. And changes are coming.

Besides the rose-ectomy, I'm considering ripping out some other stuff, too. I've got a soon-to-be humungous crape myrtle that I don't even like - unless it makes a convincing case for another season, it will be outta there soon. So will a poorly performing butterfly bush and those grape vines. In addition to not producing edible fruit, turns out they've also rotted part of my cedar pergola with their wet, heavy vines.

It'll feel good to purge. And I think I'm giving up on eggplant.

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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