I sat in the garden on Labour Day Monday, resolved (but not entirely succeeding) to do no labour that wasn’t absolutely necessary, pondering the meaning of ‘resiliency’ in my own personal landscape. It’s a word, along with ‘sustainability’ that’s been cropping cropping up a lot these past few years in landscape design circles.
I heard the word defined on the radio earlier this year as: “will a plant bounce back from severe weather events.” We’re very fortunate in the County, weather wise. We haven’t had (in recent memory, anyway) the kind of ‘severe weather events’ experienced in other parts of North America: no floods, forest fires, prolonged extreme heat, hurricanes or tornadoes.
But we do have extremes. Last summer was the driest summer in more than 50 years. This past spring was the wettest on record in parts of Southern Ontario. And some plants suffered.
So I looked at my garden and pondered, with amazement, at the resiliency of so many perennials, shrubs and trees that came through it all, often stronger and more beautiful than ever. Hemerocallis ‘Catherine Woodbury’ Daylily, Mock Orange (Philadelphus ‘Starbright’ – hybridized in Newfoundland) and Bridlewreath Spirea (Spiraea vanhouttei) all produced more flowers this year than I’ve ever had.
I also remembered the trees I lost. Gardeners do, I think, grieve when they lose a plant cherished either because it came from a loved one’s garden or because it has been started from seed and nurtured for many years. But just as searching deeper for water might make a plant, in the long run, stronger, seeing a tree die makes me (hopefully) wiser. I’ll refrain from planting things that I know will not be happy in my garden. Yes, I’ll still be challenging our 6a planting zone, but I’ll try, no matter how interesting or beautiful a flower may be, to stop myself from buying anything that loves moist, boggy soil. I know that no matter how wet and flooded the yard may be in April, come July, without regular rain, the dirt will be bone dry.
I planted this Larch (Larix decidua 12 years ago….it sadly succumbed to last year’s drought.