The most important part of the What-Died topic is that I survived, which means my garden will survive. While I was sick, it just so happened that we had three unusually harsh winters in a row. The harsh winters, combined with neglect, decimated parts of my garden.
What-Died includes the whole east border. First of all the invaders took out some young shrubs including some viburnums, and a mock orange. I had brunnera and hostas in a shady area that was eaten by ferns and trailing blackberry. Even about half of the daffodils died out.
The biggest tragedy in the east border was the eucalyptus tree. Plant adventurer and gardener extraordinaire Dan Hinkley tells us that the harsh winters killed twenty-six eucalyptus at Windcliff. There is a difference between his garden and mine. His garden has two healthy men to tend to things such as dead trees. They removed their dead eucalyptus. My tree still stands barren and broken but not alone.
I really need to write a tragic love story about my eucalyptus and acacia. I planted a supposedly hardy acacia beside my eucalyptus. It was damaged in the first hard winter. Both plants died to the ground in the second winter and they died completely the third winter.
I am convinced that the eucalyptus and acacia had a special relationship. The acacia was planted on the southwest side of the eucalyptus in order for it to receive full sun. That plant grew toward the shaded northeast and the eucalyptus. The eucalyptus could be forgiven for growing southwest toward full sun, but it was thickest and healthiest where its branches mingled with the acacia. I am certain there was something about those two that caused the acacia to grow away from the sun. They died a tragic, frozen, icy death and stand together in my garden with their branches still touching, lovers in death as well as life.
Onward through the east border, we come to the perimeter, walking trail. This trail followed the fence line around the perimeter of my property. Most of the trail meandered through Douglas Fir woods. It was a peaceful place to walk. My border gardens shielded the path from the house. The path was lined with ferns, salal, huckleberry, and elderberries. The sun was never too hot. Alas, the blackberries invaded while my back was turned. The native plants grew into the open trail and choked out any sign of a path. My beautiful, peaceful trail is gone.
Leaving the east border and walking trail, we enter the sunken garden. This is the lowest place on the property. This area is open to the south so it gets good sunlight. It warms up the earliest of any area in my garden in the spring. It is sheltered from the wind. I planted daffodils to come on early in the sunken garden. I made a bed for roses, dahlias and lilies on the south-facing slope of the sunken garden. The daffodils fell to the riding mower when hubby didn’t realize they should not be cut down yet. The dahlias didn’t get dug in the fall so they froze in our third hard winter. The blackberries and wisteria have tried to choke out the roses. Through this tangled mess the lilies grow six feet tall and bloom--filling the whole sunken garden with their fragrance.
I could sing a long mournful song about the perennials that didn’t make it, monarda, penstemen, holly hock and phlox, Jacobs ladder, verbena, astilbe, and sage, clematis, and salvia .
I lost more than my perennials and flowers. One of the asparagus beds suffered a severe dandelion attack. The dandelions have crowded out and choked the asparagus. Those crowns that didn’t get choked out died when we disturbed them repeatedly trying to get the dandelion out of their bed.
This tale of death and destruction could end on a sad note for all my lost darlings. I am at heart a gardener. I will go out and buy new things I haven’t tried before and pop them into all the empty places in my garden. I am scouring friends’ gardens for just a few starts here and there. I am not quite ready to remove eucalyptus and acacia just yet. They will remain as they were for a few years yet.