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Garden blather:

I had to prune back my roses today. It almost killed me, because I had to remove a lot of new growth, but they are supposed to be knee-high and they were trying to stick up straight.

Some of my dahlias were turning brown, and my local nursery advisor told me it was most likely a water problem: either too much or too little. Since I’ve been keeping things pretty well watered, I figured it had to be too much. The only way to tell if they would come back was to see if the tubers had rotted; the only way to tell that was by pulling them up. Since I only had two, one on each side of the driveway, that wasn’t going to profit me much. I pulled them out and replaced them with mixed zinnias. As I expected, the tubers were in excellent shape; but I console myself with the thought that by the time they recovered the season would have been over.

I found out why my mandevilla isn’t climbing up my light pole. Apparently there are climbing varieties and bushy varieties, and I’d bought the wrong kind. It never occurred to me to ask; I bought them for the color of the blossom, and I didn’t know there were two styles.

The dahlias I bought to give some color contrast in front of the mandevilla are invisible. I keep forgetting that the earth in my raised bed is six inches or so below the brick wall around it. I need to get something taller next year, but it can’t be too tall. This is more of a challenge than it sounds. I want a mound of color and it has to be about 16″. It seems like most annuals are either too short or too tall. Lantana would be the right height, and I love them, but it takes them most of the summer before they get bushy. I don’t want anything spindly, like cosmos.

I must have done something wrong when I bought my petunias, too. I wanted them to cascade, but they are proudly standing at attention. Next year I’ll ask more questions.

My campanula is supposed to grow to 15″, but so far it is about as high as a shag carpet. Maybe it’s because this is their first year, maybe it’s because they aren’t getting enough sun, or maybe it’s just spite.

At least the variagated-leaf sweet potato is finally started to come into its own. I don’t know why it’s late, but the nursery folks said that we didn’t really have that many sunny days this spring.

Next year…