2019 Year in Review: How Did my Garden Grow?

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Whew, 2019 flew right on by, didn’t it? I can’t believe that it will be 2020 tomorrow. I’m sure that all of you feel the same. The end of the year is always a great time to reflect on the past year of your life and to make plans for what will happen in the next year.  So without further ado, here is the review of my gardening adventures for 2019.

pollinator garden picture
My pollinator garden looked mighty fine.

The biggest gardening adventure of mine for 2019 was creating this website. I made this place for a Social Media class that I completed on Coursera from Northwestern University. One of our assignments was to create a blog about an interest of ours, so naturally, I chose gardening. I was a little nervous about posting pictures because the internet isn’t known to be the kindest place & I was working with an old phone camera. But blogging about gardening has turned out to be something that I really enjoy doing. The gardening community is really so lovely & supportive. I think we all just like getting advice & inspiration from each other, instead of competing with one another. I plan to continue to grow this space & possibly expand into YouTube because sometimes videos are the best vehicle for certain topics, particularly gardening tutorials. But boy, will I need some courage to do that!

red rose picture
Is there anything more classic than a red rose?

Now on to my gardening successes & failures for the year. Let’s start with my failures so I can end on a good note. Looking back on the year, I think the gardening failure that defined my year was pests. In the past, I have been pretty lucky as far as garden pests were concerned. I did have a few plants that succumbed to pests, but never to the extent of this year’s battle with insects. Japanese beetles tried to fight me for my grapes, a fight that I won, thanks to neem oil. Then, to my horror, tomato hornworms almost decimated my tomatoes. Add in a few other environmental factors & I had my smallest tomato harvest to date, even though I had planted more tomatoes than ever before. After that vine borers were the most likely culprits in the destruction of my first ever pumpkin plant. The bugs sure found my garden 2019 alright.

pumpkin plant killed by vine borers picture
I hate you, vine borers.

Thankfully, I had a lot of garden successes this year. My basil was prolific & I was cooking with it left & right. I ended up trying & making pesto for the first time & I became completely obsessed with it as a result. I give all the credit to Amazel Basil from Proven Winners. I have never come across a faster-growing basil. My garlic harvest was plentiful & I had the biggest bulbs I’ve ever grown. Also, it was the year of cucumbers over here. I felt like I was harvesting 1-2 cucumbers per day & I only had 2 cucumber plants! A lot of cucumber salad was made, a lot.

amazel basil picture
I certainly learned why it’s called Amazel Basil.
garden harvest haul picture
One of my many cucumber heavy garden harvest hauls.
raised bed vegetable garden picture
My raised bed vegetable garden looking all full.

On the flower front, all of my Supertunia Vistas from Proven Winners continued to prove to me that they are the most reliable annual flowers for huge flower shows. Wave petunias really shined for me too in a front yard border where other flowers have struggled in the past. The best & most reliable rose for me was Elina again. Check out my Elina rose review because you need this beauty in your garden. My best flowering shrub was my Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea. In its second year, it had become enormous & it was covered in blooms (& it still is, I like to keep dried blooms on for winter interest) that I used for a few crafty projects. I decided to go with mostly vincas for my cinder block garden this year & what a great decision that was because they nearly completely covered the cinder blocks. Finally, I decided to DIY it up & plant my own plant pouch with just one flower plant (a Supertunia Vista because there’s no better high-impact flower). That worked out even better than I imagined it would because that flower flowered like no one’s business. All in all, 2019 was a great year for flowers in my garden.

red wave petunias & marigolds picture
Red wave petunias & marigolds took over my front walkway.
supertunia vista silverberry picture
Late in the season when my Supertunia Vista Silverberry started to take on a watercolor appearance.
cinderblock garden picture
The vinca flowers claimed the cinderblock garden & nearly engulfed it.
supertunia vista silverberry in a plant pouch picture
This was one plant, the aforementioned Supertunia Vista Silverberry. Yep, one plant.
vanilla strawberry hydrangea picture
Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea had went full on strawberry at this point.
elina hybrid tea rose picture
Elina hybrid tea rose, the pride & joy of my rose garden.
giant mums picture
Our mums purchase for the year.
dried hydrangea in Christmas porch pot picture
Dried hydrangeas in one of my DIY Christmas porch pots.

I also decided to make a few changes to my garden by reestablishing some of my flower beds & finally mulching up all of my garden beds this year. Mulch really makes such a difference, not just in garden maintenance (less watering & fewer weeds), but also aesthetically, mulch just makes all of your garden beds look uniform & put together. Furthermore, I started to take a good look at the architecture of my garden & decided that I need a lot more winter interest, so I planted a couple of dwarf spruce trees in summer & followed it up with 10 more evergreen trees in the fall. Having plants that you can enjoy looking at all year round is such a treat & the new evergreens really bring much-needed structure to my flower beds. I think the most important decision I made this year was switching to Proven Winners Premium Water Soluble Plant Food as my annual flower fertilizer. I have become a believer in that fertilizer as it made my flowers bloom as they’ve never bloomed before. I really highly recommend it, that bucket goes a long way.

evergreen trees in water picture
Evergreen tree babies getting pre-planting soak.
bewitched rose picture
In a year full of flowers, I thought it was fitting to end it with this cotton candy looking beauty known as the Bewitched rose.

So, I definitely had more gardening successes than failures in 2019 & that’s always a win in my book. I hope that the lessons that I learned this year from my failures will arm me with enough information that I can minimize those problems in 2020 if they decide to pop up again. My successes taught me to keep on keeping on with the plants that performed above & beyond. As far as gardening 2020 plans are concerned, I’m thinking of jumping into the wild world of espalier, maybe with a peach tree? I also might dip a toe into boxwood hedges because I need some formality in my garden. On a related note, I would love to get some topiary trees to get that formal, but playful garden vibe. Plus, climbing roses will be coming to town because I need those in my life. Finally, I plan to take that houseplant dive. I only have handful of houseplants & like many gardeners in the winter, I want all the houseplants. I have started 2020 early on that front since I set up my very first grow light indoor gardening set up yesterday. Stay tuned, I’ll post a tutorial next year (week) for you.

Well, that’s a wrap for my 2019 garden. I wish you all of the success & none of the failures in 2020 in your garden & in your life outside gardening. May your gardens be full of jaw-dropping flowers & bountiful harvests of delicious produce. Happy New Year! Let’s crush 2020!

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