Garden performers and failures…


At times I felt like this summer would never end…the heat was often unbearable, the smoke kept many of us indoors, and the drought has left many plants struggling or under performing.  My garden did not look its best this summer…it may be time to make some adjustments considering the current extreme weather conditions that haven’t been such a factor in the past.

The beginning of the summer brought a lovely display of tulips and just as they were fading the alliums dazzled.  It affirms that the effort of planting bulbs in the fall is so worth it.



I planted different varieties of purple alliums within the triangle patterns of the boxwood hedges.  This provided blooms over a longer period of time and the different heights and flower sizes added interest.




I consider the tulip and allium garden beds a “hit” this season and have ordered over a hundred more tulips and dozens of alliums to plant up in the next month.  More is always better…right!



Unfortunately the espaliered apples were a “fail” this summer.  There are a few reasons that contributed to the poor yield…not to mention this little apple thief, a squirrel who has feasted on apples all season.

The pictures below were taken on the same day…May 18.  The trees had started blossoming in the days before. Suddenly a cold front blew in and I suspect many of the blossoms froze, therefore, did not produce as much fruit as we’ve enjoyed in years past.  I’m sure the extreme drought conditions also had some effect.


The roses, my favourite, were a hit and miss”.  Early in the season and now with the cooler temperatures, the roses have performed  better. During the height of the season there were many a day when there wasn’t a rose in sight…Charlie may have been responsible for this…  This is a real disappointment for me as I really put a lot of effort into the planting and caring of the roses.

The hydrangea are always are reliable “hit”.  One of the (expensive) experiments I tried in the garden this summer was to plant standard hydrangeas in baseless pots.  So far they look beautiful and with plenty of late season watering and protection I’m hopeful they will survive our winter.  The many hydrangea shrub varieties planted both in the my front and back gardens are looking beautiful…especially now at the end of the season when they start changing colour.


I’ve accepted the fact that container gardening is not my forte! Possibly the pots did not get enough watering and I don’t fertilize…have I just solved the problem??? Also the wind blew constantly, drying out the containers and wind whipping the flowers. This year I planted wave petunias in the front, geraniums in the back and a combination of herbs and trailing annuals along the back of the house and garage.



The combination of flowers and herbs didn’t compliment each other as I had hoped.  I also realize we will never eat all the herbs, tomatoes and salad greens that I planted.  I’ve already cleaned out most of the containers…I know it’s early, but they have just fizzled out.  Next year I will try planting a cutting garden in the containers instead.




Clipping hedges is labour intense (putting it mildly!) and usually happens on a really hot day, but I’ll happily continue to do so as they provide the form and backbone of my garden.  The cotoneaster hedge can always be counted on and with some TLC the boxwood hedges look better and better every year.




I know that many of you have gardened with difficult weather conditions this season too.  How did your garden grow this summer?

xox Judy






























12 thoughts on “Garden performers and failures…”

  1. Did you say “underperforming?” That pretty much sums up my flowers and plants this year. The upside is, I have bulbs to plant, and Christmas to look forward to! And I love Christmas decorating!

  2. Hi Karen, It’s so disappointing when things don’t go as planned in the garden…our season is so short and the effort that goes into it is monumental! There is always next year… Having spring bulbs to look forward to is always a promise of better things to come! Yes, Christmas is just around the corner…❤️

  3. Your garden always looks absolutely gorgeous Judy but I totally understand what you mean about the toll the weather etc. can take on our gardens. My veggie and herb harvest was pretty disappointing this summer although my Saskatoon berries were plentiful. I love your hydrangeas in the baseless pots….gorgeous!!!! How do you protect your hydrangeas for the winter? We planted Quickfire Hydrangeas this summer and I’d be heartbroken if I lost them. I can’t wait for your online boutique….been thinking about it all summer! Hugs xo🥰

  4. Hi Karen, I love Saskatoon berries and have fond memories of the Saskatoon pies my mom used to make. I don’t do anything special with my hydrangea that grow directly in the ground. I think Quickfire Hydrangeas are very hardy in our zone and without some weather disaster I don’t think you will have any issues with overwintering them. They are beautiful and the flowers grow on new wood, so you could even prune them a bit this fall or choose to leave the flowers on the stems for winter interest.xox Judy❤️

  5. Have you seen the latest French Cottage magazine Judy? A couple of articles with beautiful photos of Outdoor Rooms and French style gardens. The cover of the mag. features a beautiful West Highland Terrior, with a pink ribbon. Thought of your gardens when looking at the magazine.

  6. Oh just one more note Judy. Do you follow Chateauversailles on Instagram? Tons of beautiful videos of the gardens and inside. Today they posted a lengthy video called Nuit. It’s all interior, but dark and beautiful.

  7. Thank you so much for letting me know about the hydrangeas Judy. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for a “good” winter. I will definitely leave the flowers on if that’s an option because I agree that they’ll serve as a nice accent in the garden ….and remind me of what I can look forward to again in the spring! Your garden is so beautiful…. and your greenhouse ……what an escape in your very own backyard!!! xo❤️Karen

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