2014’s plant failures

I’ve been meaning to take stock of our 2014 garden ever since the first snowfall put an end to the growing season, and with a new year underway, no time like the present. As much fun as I had enjoying flowers all season long, not everything went as planned. In addition to the squirrel damage were other issues:

The new blue-eyed grass, coral bells, and blazing star – each bought in 2013, including the coral bells at the Linder’s clearance – did not come back.

plant tags for blue-eyed grass and coral bells

The two original pearly everlasting plants had grown so much by the end the previous year that we separated them into four before they bloomed in 2014. Each was hit by some type of insect or fungal problem that appeared devastating in the spring, though fortunately they all still flowered as if nothing had happened.

disfigured pearly everlasting leaves next to blooming flowers

Our one volunteer milkweed plant had several damaged leaves, and it didn’t fully develop: it had only one cluster of very few flowers and stunted pods, so I pulled it before it seeded.

milkweed leaf with a big hole eaten from the top

Prairie smoke is such a fun flower because of the feathery end to its growing cycle. However, only one flower reached that point this year.

one bloom and two buds

Similarly, our two birdhouse gourd plants fizzled. There were hundreds of baby gourds growing on the vines that were growing in every direction, including across the deck and up a chair, and even onto the roof! But one by one, they all molded…

collage of four photos of birdhouse gourd buds, the last moldy

…except one, which grew to a pretty good size and somehow avoided the squirrels and rabbits. Though when we finally brought it inside, it too soon developed brown and moldy spots and we had to throw it into the compost.

one big green gourd on the vine, then off the vine and moldy

While we had success dividing the pearly everlasting, dividing the New England aster was a failure. I wanted to move it to a new location since it was getting crowded where it was originally planted, and we decided to split it in two in the process. But a promising start with lots of green leaves on both plants quickly faded into rotten stems and no flowers. What it should have looked like, compared to what it did:

2013 view with lots of purple blooms, 2014 view with only a few leaves left

Our pretty blue wood aster seemed to be on a good course – here’s what it should have looked like, and how it started:

2013 view with lots of dewy light-purple blooms, 2014 start with healthy stems and big leaves

But long before budding, it shriveled up and keeled over. Maybe there was too much rain at the beginning of the season? It did try to come back at the end of the summer, so there is hope it will return.

withered stems lying on the ground, short regrowth

Fortunately, there were lots more successes than failures, and I’m excited to see how our garden will grow and change in 2015.


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    • This blue-eyed grass was a new plant. We have an older one in a different spot that did just fine!


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