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Report From PIA – July 3

It might seem that after getting the garden all spiff for the tour last Wednesday that there would be nothing to do for awhile. Au contraire… even as I sat and welcomed people three days ago I was thinking about what needed to be done as soon as they left.

There are always plants that need trimming and deadheading and many biennials are ready to be removed all together. Today I sheared back Nepeta ‘Six Hills Giant’, deadheaded Heucheras, and removed the near-to-finished feverfew and Verbascum chaixii. These two biennials were good enough to leave for the tour, but ready to go just a few days later.

As I sheared and cleared, I noticed that the blackspot on the ‘Carefree Celebration’ roses has worsened. Last year it made these shrub roses look ugly and despite my admittedly limited spraying (organic) they are even more unsightly this summer.

I’ve pretty much decided not to treat blackspot at all, and for at least ten minutes I was a peace with this. But as I worked in the entry garden, and was face to face with the ‘Carefree Celebration’ this came to mind: “Here’s an idea… why don’t you get rid of them all together?” Hmmm… they haven’t been Carefree at all, so perhaps the Celebration part is when I dig them out and replant something that doesn’t succumb to disease every summer?

They are coming out this week.

After two hours the entry garden was rejuvenated and ready to refresh for July. I planted some ‘Profusion’ Zinnias that I grew from seed in the new spaces opened by shearing the Nepeta, and now that the fading Verbascum and feverfew is gone, the garden looks cleaner and the daylilies can take center stage.

Yes, there is always work to do, in and out of the garden. This is not a cause for despair, but for jubilation, for it is only positive that we are able to shape whatever landscapes we’re able, beautifully and with joy. We don’t have the power to clean the entire world, but when we can put effort toward rejuvenation, in our gardens, families and communities, it’s cause for celebration.

Let's get the ugly out of the way first. This is how my Carefree Celebration roses have looked by July, for the three years they've been in my garden. Yes, they are pretty when in bloom in June, but it's time to admit that they are neither carefree nor worth celebrating.

Sometimes we don't realize what work is needed because we're so used to what is. This garden looks pretty good, if you don't focus on what needs to be done...

After the cleanup, however, we can see that it is indeed improved.

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