It's hard to imagine a year starting out as badly as this one did, and yet, things turned out okay.
The TOP PRODUCER in the garden---BLUEBERRIES. We literally were drowning in them for a solid EIGHT WEEKS. They started July 12. I picked my last 2 pints on September 11.I averaged over a quart of berries a day. It was crazy and wonderful. I ended up with 72 (one cup) bags in the freezer for winter. Joy!!
I also tried an Early Girl--not by choice, but since most of the seedlings I grew succumbed to the cold spring weather, I had no choice. It was too late to start seeds, and so I picked it up at the nursery .We didn't like those either. We're sticking with the best, but will keep trying shorter season ones because a lot of years we don't have enough time to get the Brandywines.
As for FLOWERS--
The BEST NEW FLOWER this year was one I bought specifically for "the critters".
Eupatorium maculatum- is a prairie native growing 4-6 feet tall-- though mine hit heights of over 7 feet. I planted it under the drip line of my roof and the moisture from the sweating metal helped this baby thrive despite our lack of rain.
It was the first year for it and it got HUGE. The bees and butterflies swarmed all over this one. It also blocked the summer sun from coming in my picture window--a real benefit when hubby will not allow curtains. The birds loved using it as a perch and I got a real close-up of them. An all-around winner! I do have to remember to run a cattle panel in front of them--the flower heads, running upwards of 10 inches around, tended to "flop" in the rain. I bought seeds for a white version this summer and will be adding that into the area next spring.
OTHER THINGS THAT WORKED THIS YEAR:
I also try different ways of doing things around here---always trying to make things go smoother.
Some things that worked really well---
only watering on Wednesdays and Saturdays. That saved a lot of time (and water!)