The gardening season in my rock garden got off to a great start, and I had high hopes for it!  I went gung-ho–weeding, mulching, pruning, and planting new flowers.  Things were looking great, in spite of the family of baby woodchucks who for a while made daily visits.

Then at the end of June, my mother was stricken seriously ill, and I spent roughly half of each week of July with her, away from my home and gardens.  She passed away at the very end of July, and since then my time has been consumed with the management of her “estate”.  Both the garden and my blog were left to languish.

So now, ten weeks since my last post, here is what the rock garden looks like this week! dsc_9341.jpg

Frankly, it looks better than I thought it might.  We’ve just had a spate of unseasonably hot, humid weather, and the garden has reacted well to it!

Here at the southeastern end, there’s a little group of Sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale), Sedum “Autumn Joy”, and wild asters.  The Sneezeweed suffered some animal damage in the spring, but came back and had the height of its bloom in late August.  Deer severely damaged the sedum in this particular spot, something that’s happened only once or twice in the time I’ve lived here, so it’s usual grand display is rather paltry.  DSC_9318

I had problems with the annuals in this area as well.  The summer was much rainier than average, and the slugs ran rampant, chomping marigolds and even the Cleome.  Had I been home more, I like to think I would have kept up regular applications of Sluggo, my favorite slug deterrent!

The deer must have eaten their fill on the Sedum nearest the end, because just a few feet farther along, here’s another, much healthier and happier!DSC_9320

Earlier today, in the warm glow of the early morning sun, this plant was a magnet for Painted Lady butterflies!  DSC_9297 (3)

Let’s move more toward the center of the garden now, shall we?  The ferns are taking on their autumn yellow and bronze shades.  I’ll mention each of the larger plants below, but take time before we move on to notice a surviving purple Cleome and a small bunch of Rudbeckia that the woodchucks missed!  I think its saving grace is its location uphill from their main thoroughfare in and out of the garden.  DSC_9346

Rosa “Alba Meidiland” is still pumping out blossoms, and looks lovelier than this photo shows!  White is such a hard color to photograph!  DSC_9324I’m rather impressed with how well all the roses in this bed did this summer without regular doses of fertilizer or rose dust!  Only recently has our Miss Alba started to drop some leaves, and I’ve seen very little black spot or Japanese beetle damage!  Good to know a few things went right this summer!

Continuing past a small stand of spent Coreopsis, this pink rose is at the best I’ve seen all summer:DSC_9287 (2)

Just look how nice it looks with the “Husker Red” Penstemon as a backdrop!DSC_9326

And speaking of “Husker Red”, it has darkened beautifully and positively glows in the sunlight:DSC_9285

Just to the right of the Penstemon, here’s a group that represents three seasons!  On the right, the springtime Dianthus have put out a small fall thrush of bright magenta blooms, and to the left, a few sunny summertime Coreopsis persist.  In the center, a Chrysanthemum division, shared with me by Frank at sorta like suburbia, has begun to open.DSC_9328

Finally, here’s the far end of the bed.  I’m quite disappointed in this area, and need to give serious thought to what I’ll do with it next year.  DSC_9339

The Cannas just didn’t grow as well as I had hoped they would, and it is only just today that “Australia’s” first flower opened!  Pretty, isn’t it?DSC_9336

And I do love the colorful striations on “Tropicanna”, but I was really hoping for a more flamboyant display!DSC_9331

Most of the annuals I put in this area did poorly.  One particular deer wandered all the way over to this end and ate nearly all of one of the two Gomphrenas!  I have lived here fourteen years and this is the first time I’ve ever seen a deer venture this far into the side lawn!  Slugs decimated the marigolds and many of the Cleome.  The purple Salvia splendas did well for the first half of the summer, then gave up.  Only the annual Dianthus and a couple of pink Cleome made it through the season intact.  DSC_9313

All in all, it is by no means a disaster.  I am glad for my hard work in this bed at the beginning of the growing season.  There’s more to be done, but that is always true in a garden, isn’t it?  Next year will be better!

Thanks go to Cathy at Words and Herbs for faithfully hosting this weekly view of one specific area of our gardens!