Half a Year in Review (May-Dec 2008) Part 1

Arbor Garden May 2008

Arbor Garden May 2008

After seeing many posts reviewing their gardens for last year, I just knew I wanted to join in on the fun.  I know that some of you are saying “Half a year”????  Well I didn’t start blogging until May 12th last year thanks to some strong encouragement from my mother.  Thanks again Mom!   A lot can happen from May to December so this will be broken up into two parts.  May is a glorious time in the garden.  Everything is starting to gain some momentum, the blooms are numerous and the weather is divine.  Little did the Arbor Garden know that several months later it would be getting a complete overhaul. new_project_002-yir-may1May was also a month of new additions to my garden.   This pitiful bed of Azaleas was enlarged and connected to the Arbor Garden on the opposite end of the yard.  Now the shed is part of the garden and not just a big white box sitting at one end of the yard.  Plus this gave me the perfect excuse to go shopping for more plants.  Not that I need an excuse, lol.  I can always justify the purchase of plants and find a space to squeeze them into the garden.  However this was a clean slate and gave me the chance to try new things and a new design too.  Soon June was here and I allium-first-gbbd-junefound myself participating in my first  Garden Bloggers Bloom Day or GBBD which is hosted by the talented  Carol of May Dreams Gardens on the 15th of each month.    The Drumstick Alliums became my signature header for my original blog which is listed at Blogger.   That’s another story that will be saved for later.  Then I joined ranks with some outstanding garden bloggers at Blotanical  on June 16th and found another obsession that compliments projects_009-june1my passion for gardening.  My husband spent this month completing some projects for me such as a compost sifter with some long handles.  These handles sit astride the wheelbarrow and with some simple shifting the black gold is filtered from the larger debris.  If you would like instructions on how to build your own compost sifter please click here.  July was spent visiting local gardens like the  Norfolk Botanical Garden  and the Rose Garden at Huntington Park.  The image strip below shows  a brief view of  some of the wonderful sights I saw at both venues.   The far left photo

2009-01-01_1617341shows the gazebo that is in the center of the Rose Garden at Huntington Park.  The next three shots were taken at  the Botanical Gardens.  First some interesting variegated foliage on a Miscanthus sinensis “Gold Bar”, a monumental fountain that some of you thought I should put in my garden 🙂  andsummer-veggies-squash-july-081 a glimpse of the gorgeous perennial beds.   I planted veggies in late May and was rewarded with some of my first harvest in late July.  Originally I bought a mislabeled cucumber plant that turned out to be yellow squash.  I made the best of it by doing some fried squash patties from a recipe that my grandmother gave me.  There was also Cherry Tomatoes that didn’t do so well do to blossom rot.  My small successes and failures along with the delicious produce that was being harvested in other garden milkweed_bug-augustcaterpillarblogger’s gardens made me determined to have a designated veggie plot next season.  After years of just growing annuals, perennials, bulbs & shrubs I have stepped into another dimension of gardening.  July was also a dry month in the garden and we didn’t see any real relief for another month.  In August I found an infestation of teeny tiny orange bugs that I identified as the Milkweed Aphid which attracted more lady beetles followed by the monarch caterpillar to the garden.  The native “Whorled Milkweed”  was purchased at the local Native Plant Sale  in June.  The end of August was a tremendous stage of blooms after some much needed precipitation was received.  The most spectacular show was put on by a plant I didn’t even identify until this past spring thanks to some of you.  So without further ado I give you my favorite late summer-early autumn bloomer…. sweet_autumn_clematis-august1

The aptly named ‘Sweet Autumn Clematis’.  Hopefully you will tune in tomorrow for the second part to a Half a Year in Review when I show you the garden from September through December of 2008. 

15 responses to this post.

  1. OH year girl…you discovered your green thumb and I’ve been amazed with the results. And you’ve done it so well preparing the soil as you went. That is going to save you a bunch of heartache for years to come. Congrats as it all looks grand and am excited about seeing the future plans come to place.

    Thanks so much Anna for the warm compliments! Look forward to another season in the garden and in the blogging community. 🙂


  2. Great garden! Love that fountain especially. Who doesn’t love fountains, by the ways! I see you had a great spring/summer 2008! Eager to read the second half of it.

    Thanks Chandramouli! I’m glad you enjoyed the first part to review. 🙂


  3. Hats off to a stunning first year, Racquel; looking forward to viewing the next 6 months. Amazing how time flies reading your post 🙂

    Thanks Joey, this past year just flew on by and the blogging made it go faster somehow. 😉 Glad you enjoyed it!


  4. Posted by greenwalks on January 3, 2009 at 2:24 am

    Neat to see your (half) year in review! I only started this nutty garden blogging thing in August, so I hadn’t seen your May-July pics. Love the compost sifter! You guys are a good team. 🙂

    Thanks Karen, I’m glad you were able to get a glimpse of May-July. 🙂 Looks like we both got addicted to this pretty quickly. I will let hubby know you loved the compost sifter, we do make a good team. I come up with the ideas & he makes them happen, lol.


  5. Racquel – I hadn’t realized you have been blogging for 6 months – I really thought it was longer! Well done for establishing such a great blog in such a short time …. looking forward to the next 6 months.

    Hi Karen, yep I was fairly new to the whole blogging thing when I joined Blotanical. Thanks for the great compliment, it came together so quickly for me. I’ve enjoyed every second of it. 🙂


  6. Racquel,
    I’ll be here with bells on! I’m looking forward to the second part of your post. Is that just one Sweet Autumn vine? If it is I may have over done it by planting two on the arbor.

    Thanks Randy, I’m glad you enjoyed the first half. The second half will publish tomorrow. 🙂 It is just one vine, isn’t it huge! 😉 It’s about 9 years old now. It depends on how big your arbor is really. Mine is growing on two trellises in the corner with the fence post supporting the majority of it’s weight.


  7. Well that was fun Racquel! I enjoyed every bit of that. You certainly did a lot of work these past few months. Can’t wait to see what is next!

    Thanks Susie, I’m glad you enjoyed it! It was a busy season in the garden this past year. Who knows what this new year will bring! 😉


  8. Great wrap up! I am enjoying all the posts refreshing my memory on the earlier posts the bloggers have done.

    Thanks Tina! I really have enjoyed reading all the yearly reviews in the garden blogging community too. 🙂


  9. I’m enjoying the year in review posts as well. Glad you decided to join the blogging community and the posts as well Racquel. You’re one busy gardener and it’s always a pleasure to see what you’ve been up to!

    It has been fun hasn’t it Kathleen! Thanks, I’m enjoying being part of such a generous & wonderful community of gardeners too! 🙂


  10. Hi Racquel, You have a wonderful blog and a beautiful garden. I am looking forward to the next post! At some point, all of us Virginia gardeners are going to have to have a visit, don’t you think? Jan

    Hello Jan, thank you so much for the nice compliments. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post today. I agree we VA bloggers need to get together, maybe in the spring when it warms up. 🙂


  11. Happy New Year, Racquel! I just love the photos of the sweet autumn clematis and drumstick alliums. I am so looking forward to the alliums this spring. ~Liisa

    Happy New Year to you too Liisa! Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of SAC & the Alliums. I love Alliums too.


  12. That arbor garden is beautiful!!! Really, all your areas are beautiful! I enjoyed the trip down memory lane for 2008. 🙂

    Thanks Linda, I know you are especially fond of this particular garden. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the review today.


  13. Hi Racquel, so wonderful to imagine all you have accomplished in such a short time! I decided to not talk about the switch to wordpress either. 🙂 But have noticed how attractive everything looks there. What a specimen is the sweet autumn clemmie, it must smell divine!

    Thanks Frances, it was a busy season altogether for me. Yep, I figured somethings were better left unsaid. 😉 It does have a lovely fragrance (SAC) when it blooms. Just like honey.


  14. I have sweet autumn clemmie too. Love it.

    Thanks MB for stopping by today. Yep SAC is a really nice plant. 🙂


  15. Racquel, I remember reading about many of these changes and additions you made to your garden this year–I think you had a very successful year! I agree, the Sweet Autumn Clematis is a showstopper. I’m looking forward to planting the seeds you sent and hoping eventually they will grow as big as yours.

    Thanks Rose, it was a successful & definitely busy year in the garden! I’m sure you will enjoy growing SAC in your garden and enjoy the wonderful fragrant blossoms for many years. Now remember to give it a strong structure to grow on. 🙂


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