Hard to believe how time has flown, but the16th DG annual photo contest has begun! Find the details here. Best wishes to all the entrants!!!

What is your most pleasing surprise this gardening season?

(Zone 7a)
There are a total of 85 votes:

I have a special container that surprised me. (how?)
(5 votes, 5%)
Red dot

The success of my raised beds are a plesant surprise.
(6 votes, 7%)
Red dot

My veggie garden is surprisingly good!
(7 votes, 8%)
Red dot

My perennials are surprising me this season.
(31 votes, 36%)
Red dot

I'm surprised by my seed starting success.
(17 votes, 20%)
Red dot

Other?. (tell us!)
(19 votes, 22%)
Red dot

Previous Polls

Bardstown, KY(Zone 6a)

The old adage about 1st year they sleep, 2nd year they creep and 3rd year they leap is true. The ton of plants I planted in 2008 have exploded!


This message was edited Jun 21, 2011 12:01 PM

Albuquerque, NM(Zone 7b)

I'm in the same place timewise, Doug. I've also had surprises in that we had a record low of -12 last winter and we're a zone 7b (+5). My Cistus came back and that is a pleasant surprise.

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

My lemon balm came back, in a small container. I thought for sure anything in small containers outside all winter would die!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

My tomato plants are setting fruit in this extremely hot weather 103-105. I just went out to the garden and pulled out some the dried-up blossoms I looked inside and there were tiny tomato buttons. I usually have tomatoes set all summer but with this extended heat I real,y thought production would slow down or stop. Even my Cowlick's Brandywine has recently set fruit.

Oviedo, FL(Zone 9b)

I haven't got my surprise yet. I am awaiting delivery of a secret hosta swap! Should be here any day now!

Cedarhome, WA(Zone 8b)

I was surprised with the complete and total success of a major backyard redo, designed and built by my son. So exciting.

Thumbnail by bonehead
mulege, Mexico

I have a dragonfruit plant with two flowers on it.


Missouri City, TX

With no rain and 100+ days, tomatoes are still producing in the Houston area.

Horseradishes survived the winter freeze and are doing fine.

Ruby Red grapefruit tree is LOADED - first time ever!
Had two fruit last year, and the dogs took one to play with.

Had a small honeybee colony take up residence on an electrical box with a broken cover.
Called a bee keeper, trued to trap, but could not, so electric company destroyed the colony and installed a new cover.

Sun Lakes, AZ(Zone 9a)

I am trying the new Smart Pots this year here in Phoenix so see if they keep the roots cooler than regular pots. So far they definitely have and my plants are doing really well in them.

Hanceville, AL(Zone 7a)

I voted other, because I am always amazed at God's Providence. Tomatoes, grown from seed are in bloom. Beans are in bloom. I picked 4 yellow squash yesterday. Today wh had abundant rain. God is so Good. Luciee

New Hampshire, NH(Zone 5b)

I was pleasantly surprised by how nice my yard looked in the spring. I used to think of July as peak in my garden but now April, May and June are giving July some competition.

Syracuse, NY(Zone 5a)

Pleasantly surprised by my hydrangea cutting experiment. Also by the astonishing number of weeds in my vegetable garden. Better luck next year? I hope. Everything is sort of surprising me this year as I'm new to gardening. And home owning, especially in the country! But I:m loving every minute. ;)

sun city, CA(Zone 9a)

had an amazing variety of volunteer plants come up, must be gifts from the birds i guess.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

I have many, many successes!
►Started 208 tomato seedlings and didn't lose a single one to damping off!
►Started 65 bell pepper seedlings and didn't lose a single one to damping off!
►Have picked exactly ONE army worm, and ONE large cutwork from my tomato crop!
►Have thumped exactly TWO stinkbugs all season!
►Have NOT encountered a single Hornworm! Harry's hanging out in the other yards!
►Had a herd of Assassin bugs patrolling the grass beneath my eBuckets, and have not even seen a bug TRYING to climp to my tomato plants!
►Gave the last of my tomato seedlings to a neighbor, literally minutes before they were to be carried to the trash heap. He planted all 28 of them (in-ground) a full month later than mine that already had china-ball size fruits on them, and, his plants were bending under the weight of all his ripening-on-the-vine fruits, the day I picked my first tomatoes!
►Had excellent POLLINATION from the Texas windstorms, even without bees!!!! (it IS possible...)
►Have seen my co-workers & friends producing bumper crops of tomatoes from my seedlings!
►Have been eating more of my own tomatoes that I never grew in my own yard than ever in my life (the "sharecroppers bounty from my co-workers and friends!!!)
►Have picked more tomatoes this season than in all the previous seasons, COMBINED!!!
►I am growing FULL-SIZED onions for the very first time!
►Discovered I truly enjoy growing healthy seedlings much more than growing fruit! (but don't twist my arm, I'll take the fruit, too!)

It has been a truly exciting, enjoyable, and educational season for me!

Linda ^^_^^ (jumping up and down, waving hands, because it's almost time to start seeds for the fall/winter crop... somebody slap her, please...)

Syracuse, NY(Zone 5a)

Surprise! I see training the forecast for Texas! ;) praying for you guys that had drought and sending some NY rain you way.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

We had rain this morning!

Actually, my friends who are experiencing bumper crops of tomatoes are scared to death, right about now.

They know the rain will cause the tomato vines to go BOOM! overnight, and tomorrow they will wake up trapped in homes covered with creeping tomato vines, and a huge one-eyed TOMATO staring at them through their bedroom windows!

Yessiree, Bob, they're cringing under their beds right about now.....


Millbury, MA(Zone 5a)

My garden is a mess -- finally resorted to covering most of it with cardboard and then (mostly) shredded leaves. This spring something caught my eye and when I went to investigate, there were 8 morels that had popped up right at the front of the garden area. Have no idea where the spores came from, but those mushrooms sure tasted good! I will not be tilling that area any time soon.

Austin, TX(Zone 8b)

Hey Bonehead......REALLY nice backyard re-do! Got a talented son there.....hope he is in the landscape biz.

Cedarhome, WA(Zone 8b)

Morganc, yes he has a landscape architect degree, much to my pleasure. He is currently working as a designer for a landscape company, and previously worked for various landscape companies as an installer. Best of both worlds.

Syracuse, NY(Zone 5a)

Awesome bonehead! Send him to my house!
And Linda send those tomatoes my way too!! The corn here is looking great. Already knee high, but I have one measly. Tomatoes flower. Wishing I hadn't. Picked the flowers off when I planted them as little Bitty guys.

Madison, IL(Zone 6b)

Voted seed starting success because I had better germination rate with my saved seeds than store bought. My basement raised tomato & pepper plants are flourishing, and my veggie garden is very impressive so far. I worked 12 hours straight in the garden/yard yesterday, so I'm very aware of what's happening right now. Everything is off the ground (trained on trellises or teepees) & weeded. The hydrangeas, purple coneflowers, and lilies are very lovely this year. My native bamboo is lush green and sending out runners. The pear tree and blackberry vines are loaded with fruit. The buttonbush is in full bloom & covered with pollinators. The garden is a great place to be right now!

-South Central-, IL(Zone 6a)

My perennials are surprising me this season.
I'm quoting postmandug: "1st year they sleep, 2nd year they creep and 3rd year they leap"
This is my 2nd summer in my new home, and I planted many perennials last year. So far, they are all all blooming on que. It's wonderful to see them doing well. NEXT year they will be awesome, because they'll be 'leaping'. There's always something to be looking forward to in a garden. Isn't that great??

Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

Wow. . . Sounds like lots of successful garden endeavors & it's only June!

Bonehead your new backyard redo looks spectacular! Kudos to your son.

I've been really surprised by quite a few of my perennials that were just planted last Spring. Like postmandug said, I didn't expect much till next year, but the majority of them are just exploding!

Most were purchased from Bluestone Perennials & Menards (a home improvement store with a garden area). The ones from Menards were all on sale for $2.00 each for quart-size plants.

Most were purchased with birds, especially hummingbirds, bees & butterflies in mind. The blooms have been covered with bees & some butterflies & the hummers have already discovered a few. Later blooms will appeal to goldfinches & other birds.

Winston Salem, NC(Zone 7a)

I was pleased that many of my dahlias and some of my alstroemerias popped up this spring after quite a few very, very cold winter nights. The hollyhocks reseeded also. This is zone 7A. I don't dig bulbs. I mulch and hope for the best. Also two out of three crinums survived!
Oh happy day!

Thumbnail by RebeccaLynn
Mid-Cape, MA(Zone 7a)

My perennials surprised me this year--rhodies bloomed like mad (in contrast to last year); roses are really floriferious (was it the extra rose-food I gave them?) azaleas were extra-good: and the hostas are huge. Maybe the extra rain we had on the Cape in April? I am always surprised by Mother Nature.

Mackinaw, IL(Zone 5a)

I'm surprised that deeply planting and heavily mulching gladiolus over the winter worked! Larry Rettig, one of the writers here on DG, suggested I try it, rather than digging and storing every winter, and it worked! I was so excited to see those green spears reappearing late spring!

Melbourne, KY(Zone 6a)

Hmm, might have to try that, thanks!

Waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

I voted other because I got a whole new area to garden up. DH wanted a side walk out back and well in his planning got me a new planting area, well actually two

Along the walk from the sun room to the shed one side of the walk will be planted. the the center island, I will plant up.

Not a real good picture though.

Thumbnail by cececoogan
waukesha, WI(Zone 5a)

Every year Mother Nature rescues my planting from my black thumb, so my surprise is that anything grows at all!! Some of the lilies and roses are just insane this year though and give me a thrill every time I pass by them.

Clatskanie, OR(Zone 8a)

MOLE PATROL I voted other because of the mole problem I have been dealing with the last 5 years, in my half acre lawn. I had nearly 200 mole hills both old and new.
I soon decided that the hands and knees digging out the holes to set the traps, was too long on work for my age. Then one day, I saw one of the cats walk by with a gigantic Mole hanging from its mouth. That is I started watching the cats. The would walk through the early morning dewy grass and sit up on top of the mole hills like they were vantage points. When they felt the earth under them move, it was game on. My big surprise this year, is it is the end of June, and we haven't had a single mole hill this year.

Come to think of it, the moles didn't get out of control, until PUT PUT, our last cat died.
It was then that the moles took over. It was 2 years until we got more cats. It took another 2 or three years to get them under control again.

columbia, TN(Zone 7a)

I voted other.Have Been on the same property for 27 years and always have planted Datura, I always cut them back at the ground and this year they came back, never happened before, I'm zone 6a. It was our coldest winter in 15 years.

mulege, Mexico

That's great. Don't you just love garden surprises?


Charlotte, NC(Zone 7b)

I voted "other"

I'm surprised that it's raining enough every few days that I haven't had the huge water bills I'm used to!

I could do without the accompanying hail, though!

Schenectady, NY

I tried winter sowing for the first time this year and got amazing results- more plants than I knew what to do with! (Figured that out pretty quickly- sold them off via craigslist!) We will definitely be winter sowing like crazy next year.

The other surprise has been all the RAIN here in upstate New York. This is a bit much. My perennials seem to be cycling through much more quickly- bud, bloom, done/ done in by rain. I think I only got about two days out of my peonies this year.

Pittsburgh, PA(Zone 5b)

I'm surprised and excited at ow well my front yard is coming along. I started diggin out the lava rock and replacing it with a brick path through perennials last October and am ALMOST ready to plant it! But I've collected all the plants already and watching them bloom just sitting in the previously lava rocked front yard has been wonderful!

Parrish, FL

I am also amazed at how easy it is to propagate from cuttings. Have started Christmas cactus and rosemary and they have taken off. Do try to mist them several times a day.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

I've had some perennial surprises, too... plants that got buried under last summer's weeds and neglect and actually survived!

But my big delight so far has been this big lotus from Texas Water Lilies... who knew?

Thumbnail by critterologist

Post a Reply to this Thread

Please or sign up to post.