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Re: strange gardening year


I'm with you - this has been one really strange year.  Snow started
before last Christmas and never left the ground, with that 2.5 feet
of snow in Feb. to cap it off; very long, cool and wet spring turning
into a short wet summer that never really got as hot as usual tho' we
did have many days in the 90s, enlivened by a big hail storm early on
and then assorted wild thunderstorms, culminating (I hope) with
Isabel....sure don't need any more wild weather for a while.

My spring would have been glorious if it hadn't been so wet.  Flowers
lasted on all plants about twice as long as usual, but were turned
into big brown globs from all the rain.

Fungi have been having a blast this year - both beneficial and not
so...many plants showing fungal problems but I'm just ignoring them.

The hail in early summer shredded all my large leaf plants - hostas
really damaged and then I had major vole attack on them and poor
dears suffered even more with Isabel throwing huge branches on what
was left of their foliage - some really sad looking children.  Of
course, the slugs have been enjoying the damp as well; hard to tell
where some of the holes in leaves have come from - hail or slugs.  I
used up 2 containers of Sluggo - it worked, but it's expensive and I
have to trudge out to VA to get it, so by the time the last one was
gone, I just gave up.  Cut those blighters in half every chance I
get...nasty of me, but great satisfaction.

Some insect - never caught it in the act - turned all the foliage on
Tovara 'Painter's Palette' to lace this year - very strange; hope
they enjoyed it.

Leaves are browning and dropping from trees (esp. oaks) as fast as
I've cleaned up after the storm, the ground is littered again.  Some
trees were pretty well defoliated by the storm; others had wind burn.
 The dogwoods will not look good this fall - their leaves are
browned, burned and crispy on the edges, I think from windburn.  I
have seen a few fallen leaves with color, but it's really too early,
so that's an indication of some kind of stress; Lord knows they've
had enough kinds this season!  Usually don't see fall color around
here until middle of next month.

Now, it's turned cool - forecasts for this week are highs in the 60s
and lows in the 40s....about 10 degrees colder than normal for this
date.  My tropicals aren't gonna like that much and I shall have to
bring in the Caladiums and a few others at least for this week - it
may warm up again...but the writing is on the wall.  Winter is around
the corner and I really am not in the mood for it because, like
others of you who have posted, summer doesn't really seem to have
happened here this year.

All in all a really strange gardening season....if getting ample rain
means this kind of season, I'm almost ready to go back to drought
mode again...well, almost:-)  It was nice not to have to drag hoses
this year and sell my soul to our local water company...

Marge Talt, zone 7 Maryland
Editor:  Gardening in Shade
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