garden runner-up & this gardener has slight case of garden sour grapes.

So it seems when it comes to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and their garden contest, I am once again always a bridesmaid and never a bride. I am a runner-up. Again.

Yes, gardeners, I have sour gardening grapes. I can’t help it. I love my garden, but these judges never do. Or in my eyes they never do. Last year I was a runner up too. Last year they said I mentioned garden critters but didn’t include photos, so this year I did. This year I had lots of photos of the various garden areas, not just plant focused yet here was the feedback from Judge #1:

Judge 1 Comment:

“Most pictures were of individual plants.  Gardener stated that garden is on all four sides of property.  I would have liked to see more pictures of the entire garden so I could see the design and layout of  the garden beds and the places to sit in the garden.  All individual plants looked lush and very healthy. ”

Here is the feedback from Judge #2:

Judge 2 Comment:

“The atmosphere of the garden is wonderful–a real respite from the horrors outside the garden walls.  Beautiful pathways invite the seeker of verdant beauty and the gentle touch of Mother nature.  Loved the overall design of the garden, and especially the garden art: the iris and the owl.  And how lucky you are to have Mama Fox and her brood.  A bucholic dreamland!!”

Judge #2 got me I think. I don’t know how many judges view the contest submissions.

I appreciate the feedback, but I am a snob about my own garden. I think it’s wonderful. I do not say that about everything I do, but I work REALLY, REALLY, REALLY hard at my garden. I am proud of it. Maybe I am taking it too personally. But I feel it is blue ribbon worthy, even if I do not work on my garden for other people. I created it for me.

Maybe I am not supposed to write back to the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to challenge them and say I am other than grateful, but I did. I basically invited the judges to come see it in person. I probably shouldn’t have done that, but it is hard to judge gardens from mere photos. You have to experience a garden and let it envelop you. They offer a survey to submit anonymously, but I chose to sign my name. I also think they should allow us to submit a quick video along with photos. No narrative, just a walk about in each garden. That way they can see what the contestants see for real.

So I went out after I received the garden bridesmaid email to look at my garden. Even in late September, I think it looks pretty freaking fabulous. And I am already tweaking and planning in advance of next year.

I planted two bare root black currant bushes, for example. I ordered burlap sacks for my younger fig trees. And then will come the bulbs. And then the fall clean up and shredding leaves for leaf mulch. And tree work…but that is my arborist’s jam (thank goodness – me and power tools aren’t fabulous together!)

One other thing I am working on is thinning the ostrich ferns. They have grown with such abandon, I have had to curb their enthusiasm. I have given away I think well over 60 ferns this season. I have more to give away. They actually drowned out some hostas I am fond of in one bed, but I haven’t decided what to do. In the coming weeks I will decide how many stay and how many go. I will admit I did just pull some out and chuck them.

Speaking of chucking things, next to a cutting pile are mums I chucked like last November for Christmas greens. They grew again! Now what ???

Also in the weird file, my Magnifica Azaleas are blooming again. Not full bushes of blooms, but blooming.

Well that is all I have got for today. Enjoy a few photos below.


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