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It’s been an odd year in the garden, but it seems that I say that about every year. This August was the wettest I can remember, especially considering the drought pocket I live in. Aside from that, the long, cold spring basically held everything back by a couple weeks, and that seemed to propagate (no pun intended) throughout the year season. I found it most apparent in the monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus), which were also late in showing up this year. However, once they did turn up, there were more of them this year than any before. Every year I bring some caterpillars inside to raise, and again, this year I’ve released more than ever.

Some projects are in progress, and others are waiting. I’m afraid that real life intruded into the garden more than I usually allow it to, this year. There are/were three juniper bushes (Juniperus sp.) at the front of the house, a result of past decades when foundation planting was the de rigueur style of gardening. I have never had it satisfactorily explained to me why it’s called “foundation” planting, considering that it consists of a flat lawn and a few green blobs planted too close to the house and each other. A narrow flowerbed or two might have been included by the adventurous.

I don’t have a high opinion of foundation planting, by the way. And even by its own standards, the landscapers who did this house’s were inept, uncaring, or both.

Anyway, the junipers have been a needle in my side for a few years now, having grown too big for their own boots (which I admit is partly my own fault), so two of them are now stumps and scattered branches, and I can’t wait to get started on the third. I’ll leave the space empty until next spring, then decide what to put in. It’s an ideal spot for roses and bearded irises, but I like the idea of a little mock orange (Philadelphus cv.) there, perhaps in a large container that I can drag under shelter for winter. On the other hand, it would also be a good place for a cold frame.

The other part of the garden that needs revamping is the strawberry bed. The plants are over four years old now and past their productivity peak, and the soil seems to be very tired. So I’ve propagated a new set of plants from runners (which were also late this year) and when I have a moment, I will remove everything from the bed, dig in as much compost as I can scrape up, and then plant and mulch the new plants. Hopefully this will all be done by the end of September. However, a warm fall is predicted for us, so I should have some leeway.

I never got around to building the cage for the strawberry bed, so instead I’ll lay some pavers around the bed to provide an even surface, then build the cage next year. I hope.

There’s a lot more I could ramble on about, but this is all I have the patience for right now. Onward and upward.

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