Looking backwhat would you change in your Garden in 2015

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I am sure many of us are walking our gardens, pencil and pad in hand,
and making notes on what you want to do different next year. Right?

What to dig out and toss....What to dig up and transplant...What grew too tall
in your borders and too short in the backs of your beds?
What happened to my 3 Crocosmias? Where are they???

I need to mark where all my Glads were before all of the dying foliage disappears..
Do I want them again in my small, round bed where they grew 4' tall?

Should the Lilies be dig up and divided? or--should they go one more summer?
Did something outgrow it's boundaries and now I am sorry I planted it?
Definitely--some of the Coleus and melampodiums fit in that category. ..

Share your frustrations, your mistakes and your good intentions that backfired.
With this great cooler weather--now is the time to take stock of what to do differently
next year.
I am headed out, shovel in hand and digging up a few things...
My Tiger Lilies have waned and are no longer what they could be.
Dig them up and divide seems on the agenda today.
Also a good way, while I am at it, to amend the soil with all that great compost
Sally and I dug out of my SEM (Stupid Earth Machine).

What's would you want to change next year? Me? This bed for sure!


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Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

One thing that I tried this year has been working out pretty well... I distributed bags of mulch here & there, so when I got done weeding a small area or installing a new plant I could mulch right away, no waiting or procrastinating. More mulch = fewer weeds & happier plants. Also, I'm letting worms do more of the work of amending the soil, by top dressing with compost or pine bark fines, and I want to do more of that.

Next year -- I'm going to do some direct seeding of milkweed, joe pye weed, etc. this Feb. as well as getting back to doing more winter sowing in milk jugs. Also, I want to sow lots of zinnia and clover seed in any area that isn't "doing anything" presently. (Thanks, Gita, for including the surprise gift of zinnia seeds with the fig cuttings!)

Damascus, MD(Zone 7a)

I did the "walking around taking notes" a couple of weeks ago. I took photos with my mobile phone and email each one to myself with a note. The trouble is that I always have too many ideas and too little time. I wish I could take a month off to work in my garden.

One thing I want to do next year is plant the messy area above the retaining wall with nothing but tall sedums. What do I do with the plants that are already in the area? Don't know.

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

I need more color contrast. I have too many plants next to each other that are the same shade of green. I'll probably rid of my hosta Guacamole next year and replace it with either a purple or yellow foliage plant.

I definitely need to sow more milkweed seeds.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Yellow foliage plant??? Wasabi Coleus will fill the bill....it is an amazing color!

Yesterday--I started cleaning up my A/C bed (back yard by the house). Pulled up
most of the annuals except my Pentas.
Planted 2 of the potted Gloriosa yellow-blooming daisies I bought that have been
sitting around. I so want to make this bed a magnet for butterflies and Hummers....

I planted more Lobelia cardinalis (my neighbor has zillions of the growing...)
Dug up and replanted, all the bulbs I could find, of my Tiger Lilies.

Hoping this will refresh the looks of this bed next year. G.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


I took a bunch of seeds from my Tropical Milkweed. It grows in a big pot.
Do you want some? LMK. G.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

I would magically have more time to garden.

I would not have tall fall perennials too close to the Clerondendron aka PB Shrub. It is spreading, so under it will be good for spring flowers, not good for fall. Black Eyed Susans got buried, and a border size aster too.

I will not ignore the burford hollies, or just lightly trim. I want them much smaller or gone. I might try cutting wayyy back in late winter, live with stubs for some weeks, and see if anything grows back. I don't know if I can find time to actually take them out this fall. Besides, the berries will turn red and be pretty.

I will not leave the poor Gardenia in a pot, She'll go in the ground and get some wind protection.

I will not let Melampodium take over the vegetable garden !

I will not leave that volunteer cherry tomato just to see. One Sungold is all the delicious cherry size tomatoes I need.

I will clear out the veg garden and re allocate space for vegetables, plant nursery, and just more flowers. Most has gotten too shady for really prime vegetable space. But that is where I have improved the soil the longest! Great nursery/holding zone.

Biggie-- I will not keep accepting plants and then cramming them in any old place. Make a GOOD place for it or don't have it. I'm not happy anymore with cramming things in, only to have them buried and forgotten. ++ see above about new nursery/ holding zone...tee hee

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


Great list of resolves! I wish you well on all the "Shall nots"...

--I will, definitely, NOT grow too many things from seed. Why? I can buy
a Market Pack of annuals for $2. There just is NOT any thrill in looking after
seedlings under lights--especially those of common annuals.

--I will try to restrain my need to propagate everything. God help me on that!

--I like your "biggie" resolve, sally---
"I will not keep accepting plants and then cramming them in any old place. Make a
GOOD place for it or don't have it. I'm not happy anymore with cramming things in".

This year taught me many lessons re "cramming"..This year also things grew way bigger
than normal. It is hard to plan ahead--if this is going to happen again.
I resolve NOT to dribble all that Osmacote in each planting hole. It sure worked!!!

--My resolve to have less of this and that started yesterday. I was on a mission...
Almost all annuals, even those still in full bloom, got yanked out from my long S. bed.
I dug up my "Monster Ditch Lily" which opened up a lot of space.
I will ask my back-yard neighbor (Donald) if i can plant it in the corner of the bed on the
other side of my split-rail fencing. He has a nice open spot there--used to be an Azalea.
He never plants anything--not does he water what is there. SO--I hope he agrees.

Did not want to leave the huge, single-stemmed, white Phlox growing in front of the
pink/purple one. MAN! The stem on it was as thick as my thumb! Is this the
"White David" Phlox??? It was massive! Dug that up and moved it a couple feet away.

Yanked out as many BES's from the area that should be my Heliopsis in the corner
of my YUK bed. The BES just invaded it and took it over. Will keep yanking--till it is clear
of any growing seedlings of BES's. Then drop some seeds of Heliopsis to grow in.

In general--my resolve is to be more merciless...They are ONLY plants!!!
If it is out of place--YANK! Any self-sown plants like Spider Plant or the Amaranths---YANK!
Many of the Glads I planted were out of place. Some of them never even bloomed.
I will dig up those that seem out of place and...and....and...maybe plant them
somewhere else??????????

Also---I will buy my annuals ONLY from Chapel Hills Nursery and get them early.
They survived the best! NO annuals from HD.!

OK! Really cold nights coming up. Tonight lows predicted--42*. Sun.--46* OUCH!
Gonna have to hunker some plants down....get stuff ready in the house
to bring things in. NOOOOO! I don't want to do it yet!!!! NOOOOOOO!!!!


Odenton, MD(Zone 7b)

I need to work on another plan for both sides of the front yard, want to move some of the taller perennials to outer edges so can see shorter ones better. Need to move 4 ROS to the back yard.
The other side of the front yard where I had me veggies this summer, all the plants in the front half need to be spread out over the entire half.
Must figure where to put the Chaste tree from Sally and the Salix integra ‘Hakuro-nishiki’ I picked up this year on clearance.
Must come up with a plan for the side yard, already have some plants for it. Guess I need to clear what I can out of it and put down lots of cardboard. I'm sure Steve will get some more mulch to throw down over it.

A question for those of you who have grown them--Where are the seeds on the Castor Bean plant? I have not seen anything looking like seeds yet.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Castor bean will get these funky round seed pods with soft spikes, between shooter marble and ping pong ball in size. They form all along the stem where the blooms are/were. When the outer covering of the pods has dried, the "beans" inside will be hardened & mature (sorta like morning glory).

I'll try again this spring to root cuttings of Salix integra ‘Hakuro-nishiki’... love the variegation, and mine is getting big enough to cut back. I think it'll be nice together with the rose of sharon saplings I'm growing on to put along the back edge of the treeline.

I guess that's one of the things I want to keep trying next year -- rooting cuttings of trees & bushes.

Also, I REALLY need to spend some time this winter making a few things. Blue-bird houses. And bat houses!! I think bats might be the missing part of my "organic" mosquito battle plan. As I look around the yard this fall, I'll figure out a couple of places where a bat house on a tall pole will work well... preferably where I can use the pole to structural advantage.

Hmm, that might mesh well with my need to do "something" about the raspberry bed. If I erect posts at either end (so I can run wire supports to contain the canes), one of those posts could be tall enough for a bat house. Same thing if I put a similar support system along some part of the veggie bed. I just lost the top on one of the sassefrass trees, so I could try one in the treeline also, might be enough "open space" to attract them.

Does anybody else want to make bat houses? We could have a play date this winter...

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

I don't think I have ever seen a bat around here--don't think I have enough
"woods" around.
We do have tall trees all around---but they are on people's lawns by their houses.
The High School (3 houses away) has a wooded property around it. ???

Actually--I have NO idea what would attract bats to a development?

Today--I spent a lot of time Systemic Granulating many pots that will come inside.
Phew! I can even smell it in my house--as all my doors and some windows are open...

Yesterday--I cut back my Brazilian Plume and trimmed enough cuttings to fill
12-- 3" x 3" cell packs--2 cuttings in each..

I know! I know!--there i go again--propagating....BUT--how many people have
one of these beautifully blooming plants? Now--the getting rid of them will be the issue.

AHHH--Just thought of another resolution for next year.....this will be tough...
but I need to have less plants to keep outside--this will be easier... WHAT IS IT????

---I use the side trays of my small Grill to put plants on.--Lots of plants and trays!
Result--I NEVER use the grill !
It would take too much effort to remove everything--cook a burger,or whatever....
and then wait till the grill cools--and put my plants back.

And another----
I will never participate in any "Group Buys" for anything....Don't care for all the
"keeping track" and to me--there is NO "Whoopie" to it.
Tempting--Yes! Just too much of one thing....This is where willpower needs to rear its head.

You all that do not keep track of the weather too much--tonight's low (here)
will be between 38*-42*. Think about your more tender plants....like Begonias?
There has already been a really cold wind blowing all day.

OOPs....We ALL ARE gardeners! I need to resolve not to state the obvious....

Mea Culpa-------Gita

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

We often see bats swooping around the street lights just after dusk, snapping up all those little flying snacks. They need shelter (bat houses, trees, attics, etc) and a nearby source of water (for me, either my water garden pots, the new stormwater pond behind us, or my neighbors pool LOL)... as for food, most places have good bugs!

Group buys aren't for everyone, but please don't get snarky about the topic. If you don't like them, don't do them, and that's the end of it. No need to criticize the "willpower" of those of us who enjoy the savings as well as the community aspect of the buys.

I did spend a while this afternoon getting some of my deck plants ready to come inside for the winter... and making sure tender plants were closer to the house and out of the wind.

My "indoor gardening" resolution is not to crowd the morning room with little pots. I did pretty well with that last year, both by doing just a few big pots that could be "underplanted" and by getting a bunch of things up into hanging baskets... We all enjoyed having more floor space in there!

Also, I want to start already in fall putting my light shelves and heat mats to use downstairs... Fig cuttings and amaryllises will get a better start on the warm shelf... maybe a tray of lettuces or fresh basil?

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Jill--It is my own will power i was talking about--no one elses..

Talking about Fig cuttings---I still have the many to take from Olga's
re-growing tree. The "bush" is now 5' tall--with oodles of new stems.
I told her I would cut off any of the stems (to the ground) that she
says I can, so the tree won't become a monster tree the way it is growing.

I am wondering if it may be better to take the cuttings next spring,
when everything is in a growth mode rather than now--when growth is slowing down?
The difference is that all this growth is NEW growth--so--similar to spring.????
With the winter predicted--they may all die back...again.

When would be the best time to take the cuttings???
I think I just answered my own question. .........:o)

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

wait till Spring, you won't have to overwinter. I agree..(I think)

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

yes, sally---BUT...BUT....this harsh winter-to-come will surely kill
all the new stems that grew out of the stump. Then I won't have any to root!

There will be more stems left untouched than i will be trimming off.
IF they remainders survive--there will be more to keep growing.

Here--just went out and took some pictures...

1--The fig tree as it looks right now--many branches re-growing.

2--The same--from Olga's patio side

3--Her other Fig--the one leaning against her house by her siding.
This one has already grown some figs. Sadly--I doubt if they will ever ripen.

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Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

How do you know this winter will be harsh and kill all the stems?

Save a couple but don't overhwhelm yourself, is all I'm saying. Do it for fun, not to stress out over.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Farmers' Almanac is predicting a couple of blizzards...

Wrapping with burlap should protect the new growth... easier to do when the tree is small, LOL.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

...easier to do before the blizzard, rather than during, as would be probably MY reaction...ha

A nice snow cover is great for protecting the ground, and for getting fall leaves to decay, I believe.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

yes, actually I think I had a few plants do better over last winter because of snow cover and because it didn't freeze/thaw so many times... when it warms up enough that plants start waking up & growing, then plummets to 10 degrees, that's when a lot of things die on me.

This year... will try to get more mulch around vulnerable young plants & trees. Things in pots actually did better than things in the ground, when the real cold came... :-(

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Blizzards would be great, as long as we won't be in a deep freeze like last year. I love the snow but not subzero temps. I don't put much stock into the Farmer's Almanac anyway. It seems to not be based in reality as much as it is in folklore and antiquated 'wives tales'. That's just a youngin's approach to it.

Back to the thread at hand:
My resolves are:

Not to buy any petunia, vinca, or marigold and instead buy significantly more zinnias. The zinnias attract more pollinators, need less care, are eaten by rabbits less, and bloom more and better than the others mentioned.

To rip out a bunch of my Raspberry Wine Monarda and throw away or give away to others. It's growing too close to the front of a bed and hides other stuff.

To buy less plants in the spring as I out planted, out spent, and out worked myself this year when compared to the last 4 seasons I've been a homeowner.

Treat with fungicide, my pyracantha hedge sooner this coming year so scab doesn't diminish the berry profusion in the fall.

Fire the lawn fertilizing company who did our yard this year and hire Scott's (they do a great job at my neighbor's house)

Focus a little more on ground covers since a lot of flower beds are filled in, now I can give attention to beds of shrubs that would look nice with a nice mat of ground cover underneath.

Well that's all I can think of for now but I'm sure more will come to me as I think about it later.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Just love this thread.
Oh please real grass, not mowed weeds and clover. LOL

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Hey, bunnies eat the clover and mostly leave other things alone in my yard... Grandpa's rabbit trap has been idle the past couple of summers. :-)

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Well--I "know" because lots of people are talking about it.
And--the "Old Farmers Almanac" is usually right.

Re the figs--I know they have to be inside for the 1st year from cuttings--
maybe even the 2nd year--depends on how big it has grown.
My neighbor's husband (now gone 4 years) used to wrap old carpets
around the large fig tree or use huge foam insulation slabs and fill it with fried leaves.
Dried leaves are a good insulation for tender plants.

And, Yes! A good snow cover is like an insulated blanket over plants.
Makes many things overwinter better--like Pansies.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

I'm more of a facts based person than a whimsical dreamer when it comes to the weather. In addition to gardening, meteorology is a hobby of mine, so naturally I would be fairly opposed to something like the OFA. Or perhaps I don't even know what I'm talking about...LOL

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)

Feff--OH--the whimsical dreamer, thou art!

Consider some "Dwarf Mondo Grass" as a ground cover.
It is cute, short, dark green and can be used in many ways.


edited to add.
We still have lots of it available at the HD. $2.19 per 4" pot.
Should go on sale sometime soon--as they will need to make room for X-mas trees.

Check it out. G.

This message was edited Oct 7, 2014 3:11 PM

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Oh yes Critter, I know all about the benefits of the clover. Ric explains it all to me every time I complain and I will say that we have very little rabbit damage. But I am so sick and tired of cleaning out clover, wild strawberry, creeping charlie and every other weed that comes out of our "so called grass" and into the flower beds. We do need to get better edging on some of the beds but even the beds that are well edged have this stuff encroaching.

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

I plan to let the perennials I planted this year grow and self-seed so that I don't have to do nearly as much as I did this year. Granted, removal of one tree left me with several hundred square feet of previously shaded bare areas that were begging to be filled with sun-loving plants, but it got to the point where I didn't even enjoy planting anymore, and what's the point of that?!

I will not pull up all of the Mistflower seedlings next year, because the ones I transplanted are in full bloom right now whereas the parent plants look terrible. I know lots of people don't like their (potential) invasiveness, but I love their color and how they fill in bare places.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Sorry G, I don't do grass. Flowers first, then foliage. If it doesn't flower, then (as a general rule) I'm not interested.

Muddy, my mistflower is all going to seed now so I guess I'll find out how bad or if it's invasive in our yard too.

Baltimore, MD(Zone 7a)


Do you collect seeds from any of your plants? I do--but only because
that is a compulsion of mine--to make everything last "forever"....;o/

However--collecting seeds allows you to grow your favorite plants from seed
and not have to spend money buying them.
Besides--it is fun to search for where the seeds are on any given plant.
You would be surprised..........

Vienna, VA(Zone 7a)

Seq, I'd chop off most of the seed heads if I were you.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Noted Muddy, I'll try to do that this weekend to the one plant but the other three are in beds that are relatively lawless so I might just let them go. G, I sometimes collect seeds but more often than not, I just spread seeds from the plants myself in the garden and if they pop up on their own, great.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

Jeff- Tinantia is a groundcover sort of plant that happy macomb gave me, that blooms all summer. It is like a short dayflower with dark foliage. check it out. Not sure the species we have, this doesn't sound right but it is the closest in Plantfiles. Says shade but did just fine in mostly sun for me this year.


Leadwort that I shared with you blooms just summer to fall, I think, But that helps fill after the big spring show, eh? Hard to think of groundcovers that bloom.

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Vinca -- vinca blooms! Interested persons may have all the variegated vinca they can pull or dig from the edge of the bed behind the dining room. I've got Vinca minor spreading (more slowly, so far) in another bed, too.

I thought the "real" meteorologists were talking about another cold winter also. We used to rely on wooly bear caterpillars. I saw one that was almost entirely black...

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Farmer's Almanac is fun, but not very scientific. They predicted an unusually hot and humid summer for 2014!

FA is predicting a cold and snowy winter for us, but meteorologists are saying it's too soon to call. Something about the El Nino not forming fully.

Anne Arundel,, MD(Zone 7b)

unusually hot and humid summer- see, there ya go.

There are many versions of Farmers Almanac. I don't think it's a trademarked, or whatever that would be, name.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

I don't know, I think even 'real' meteorologists might be looking at a crystal ball for anything farther out than a couple months. The GFS weather model goes out 16 days. That's what I look at and then I make my own forecast and compare it to what a couple others forecast. I'm still learning and there's much I don't know.

Sally, thanks for solving that mystery for me on where the plumbago came from. I had no clue. Your 'Wandering Jew' looks pretty but I'm not sure it's what I'm looking for. One GC I'm definitely going to get is: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/90692/

I don't much care for vinca as it's too common for me. I'm pretty picky, in case you haven't noticed ;)

Silver Spring, MD(Zone 7a)

Sequoia, if you're a weather nerd, you'd probably love the Capital Weather Gang:


-- a bunch of meteorologists writing about weather. Sometimes they go very deep into weather patterns, ocean water temps, North Atlantic oscillation, etc., and discuss forecasting issues when the models get it wrong.

The long range forecast for this winter is coming later this week. Their long range forecasts are very general, like "equal chance of below or above average temps," but then they go into more of an informed guessing mode for fun.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Sounds like the blog I follow in the winter: liveweatherblogs.com

The guy who runs this used to be the chief met for Fox 29 out of Philly a long time ago. I've been following each winter since college.

Dover, PA(Zone 6b)

Some ground covers that are more aggressive do very well filling in under shrubs and bushes. They aren't quite as aggressive without as much sun and in an area where you aren't planting other flowers you can let them roam without intruding

Frederick, MD(Zone 6b)

Good point, Holly, and that's where the variegated vinca might work well for somebody... hmm, I might just throw some of it back in the treeline and see how it does. It seems to be less hardy / aggressive than the green form. Maybe I'll let it try to duke it out with some ferns and hellebores.

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