by Megan Fleischer, Display Gardens Manager  |

daweswood house and gardensWe are half-way through the year and many thoughts are running through my mind as we approach summer. With every passing rain storm I wonder if it’s the last one we’ll see for a while. Will I spend most of the summer hand watering plants? Will we have an extremely hot summer like 2012? (Please, no!) I have to admit, as these thoughts run through my head, I am not only thinking of how these harsh conditions can put stress on our plants, but also how physically and mentally draining a harsh summer can have on a gardener.

With uncertainties about what lies ahead, I am also ready to put to rest one big question that I have been asked this spring: What plants have you lost due to the unseasonably cold winter we had in Ohio? Up until this month I have remained optimistic that the perennials showing little to no life this year might still hit a growth spurt and pull out of dormancy. But, it’s official–they are gone. What took the biggest hit? Lavender. 100% of the lavender I had planted in the gardens at the Daweswood House and Visitors Center did not come back. In years passed, lavender has held onto the majority of it’s leaves, so it shouldn’t have taken me until now to declare them dead, but alas, they were plucked from the ground last week, making it official. With so many great new cultivars in the trade, I am looking forward to replacing the vacant spaces with beauties like Lavender ‘Silver Edge.’ Butterfly bushes were also severely depleted.

Roses are still struggling to pull out of dormancy. Most surprisingly, Knock Out® roses. We were fortunate enough not to lose the plants anchoring one of our gardens, but they are not showing the vigor they have displayed in years prior. I am questioning if I will see flowers on a few of them before the end of summer. Stay tuned…

DSC_0390Although still alive, Yucca has taken a big hit aesthetically. Due to the piles of snow mounded up around our parking lots, the stand of yucca we have bordering one of our lots resemble little trees you’d see in Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (a stick and then some floppy leaves for a canopy) rather than rigid, shrubby plants.

I am mourning one plant’s return: Canadian thistle. It’s back and worse than ever.

Hopefully, the gardens will continue to flourish despite these challenges!  Make sure to visit frequently this summer to see some new additions to the gardens, as well as long-time favorites.

To learn more about the successes and pitfalls we’ve experienced with the plants in our gardens, attend the First Saturday Wagon Tour on August 2nd at 10am.