A bit of cloud in the red dirt sky


I wasn’t going to write this post because I believe you’d rather not hear me whine. However, Non-gardening, best friend (NGBF), Aimee, convinced me you might need to hear when I’m feeling a bit blue too. She planted tomatoes and herbs yesterday by the way, and they are in beautiful colored pots. Go Aimee!

Beyond the norm, I’ve been sprucing up because several Master Gardeners are coming to visit on their way to Bustani Plant Farm next Wednesday. Bustani is about forty-five minutes from here.

What I see in the back garden makes me very unhappy. With the crapemyrtles now Mini-Me sized, and several of the roses removed because of rose rosette, and others only eighteen inches tall from the extremely cold winter we had, the garden looks, well . . . very young.

Naked arbors everywhere

There are naked arbors everywhere. I may be forced to remove ‘Cl. Pinkie’ who has only one small, sickly cane.

My centerpiece is now a dead crapemyrtle.

The daylilies are monsters, and with their grassy foliage, seem to be taking over, but all of my structure plants are gone. Where ‘Zephirine Drouhin’ once reigned supreme on an entry arbor, Wisteria frutescens, American wisteria (planted last fall), sends up one lonely tendril. On the other side, I still have the remaining ‘Zephirine Drouhin.’ She appears healthy, but is only three feet tall, and I’m being generous. In the center of the back garden where the large pink crapemyrtle was the focal point, there is a dead tree. Its smooth bark reminds me of something in an old Western movie.You know, the dead tree next to the alkaline spring where everyone who drinks the water dies.

Okay, I’m exaggerating. Just a bit.

The other three crapemyrtles which were becoming centerpieces of each bed are small, but healthy. I should be grateful.

An overview of the back garden. Yard full of sun.

My dear Tennessee friend, Fairegarden, asked me if I could find even a ray of sunshine in all this change, and I laughed saying, “Yes, the garden is full of sun. I’m thinking of renaming it after xeric designer, Scott Calhoun‘s book, Yard Full of Sun.”

Scott lives in Arizona. I’m just sayin’.

The long view with a beautiful bench has Double Knockout roses.

I’m trying very hard to take the long view. Robin from Bumblebee blog reminded me it isn’t yet summer, and things will soon fill out. Steve Bender, that Grumpy Gardener from Southern Living, patted me on the shoulder at the Garden2Blog event, and said the crapemyrtles will make lovely large shrubs this summer.

Like a child of four, I wanted to stamp my feet and have a tantrum.

Back garden with another empty arbor. It used to be covered with 'Cl. Pinkie.'

The funny part is, last summer, I asked Bill to help me trim up the oak trees to let a bit more sun into the garden because it was becoming too shady. Little did I know, Mother Nature was going to hit it with a sun sledgehammer.

The point of all this whining is, now you know, even in a red dirt paradise, there are times which definitely try our gardener souls.

So, just remember, when if tomato plants shrivel up and die, or the strawberries don’t bloom, it happens to everyone. It’s just all part of the process so keep calm and carry on. That’s what I’m doing this spring too.


  1. Les says:

    I can’t imagine a garden without crape myrtles, they are everywhere here. It would be like Washington without its cherries or Miami without its palms. My gardening heart goes out to you for all that did not make it through the winter. I hope you can look at it as room to plant more things.

  2. Della says:

    Dear Miss Dee,

    We can’t wait til tomorrow. We are all gardeners and have little issues of our own that we try to resolve on a daily basis. Gardening = Faith to me. There is only so much we can do and then we have to leave the rest to the man in charge. See you and your beautiful gardens in the morning.
    Thanks so much. Your friend in gardening~Della

  3. Sweetbay says:

    PS So I guess you could say I repress my “terror” (too strong of a word in any case) by not allowing it into my consciousness. lol

  4. Sweetbay says:

    Hi Dee I don’t think about RRD except that I sometimes look at my garden and think I have too many roses, I’ve grown so many from seed, layerings and cuttings. I need to be sure to keep my garden diversified and not too much of a rose garden.

  5. karen says:

    Hi Dee,
    Im new to your blog and so glad I found you ! Your gardens look absolutly beautiful to me!! I think sometimes we get too used to seeing our own gardens, day in /day out and forget how truly beautiful they look to others!
    I am a Master Gardener here on Long Island but I wish I was on your tour!
    Have fun and I agree with everyone else, not one apology!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Karen, I am so glad you stopped by. Thank you so much. You are so right about getting used to our gardens looking a certain way. Gardening is all about change, and I’m feeling much better with all the nice comments I’ve had. Thanks again.

  6. Kristi says:

    I have a lot of sympathy for your plight. Here in the Northeast lots of heavy snow caused major losses of shrubs and gave the voles a haven in which to eat and eat. I am patching up their handiwork in the front lawn and trying to figure out how many of the perennials they have killed. I see a big shopping trip in my future!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Kristi, I am truly sorry about your garden. I’ve heard about all the snow damage in the northeast. We are all fighting the weather at times. I hope you have fun on your shopping trip and bring home lots of beautiful things for your garden. I’m sure you will.

  7. Alison says:

    I’ll trade you my rain and Douglas fir-shade sledgehammer for your sun! It will be beautiful again, in fact, it is beautiful. Gardeners will understand. Make no apologies.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Alison, I’d take a bit of rain, but not as much as you guys have had. Sheesh, what a mess. If only we could share a bit of our excess here and there. Hang in there, I hear the forecast is going to be better for you soon.

  8. Dee, I’m ona garden tour on Father’s Day, and let me tell you something. Stamp those feet! Scream! Let it out! Tantrum it up! I had a KEY shrub die this winter, and replaced it with a lesser shrub that won’t look good for years. And I am pluging perennial hole I thought I plugged 1-2 years ago, so am saying “If only people could see these plants in a year or two from now!” Then I’m also thinking I have a late summer / fall garden, so most things aren’t even blooming on June 19th, but they are getting tall. I’ve spread so much compost, coddled so many plugs, placed individual mulch pieces this spring, I am just silly. I know I’m silly. How many plants will get shredded when 1,000 people come through? Many. Ahhhhh!!!!!!! 🙂

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Benjamin, your comment made me laugh and giggle. KEY shrub is right. That crape was the center of my design. I see it is coming back from the ground now. May hang bottles on the branches until it grows big enough. Might as well. I’ve done the same thing about the compost, fertilizer, etc. I keep trying to get everything to fill out when I know all they need is time. Hang in there, and I’m sure your garden will be lovely for the tour.

  9. Stacey says:

    Dee, I’ve just been working away in my backyard over the last few days. Staring daily at the beautiful wood of my crepe myrtles…still hoping against hope. There are 4 or 5 huge crepes in my backyard that are only coming out from the ground. Are you going to leave yours or start over? I don’t really like the sucker growth look.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Stacey, I don’t like the sucker growth look either, but I know how fast they grow. I think I will wait this one out. I’m keeping my dead limbs for some structure. Once, the new growth gets big enough, I will cut back the limbs. Then, I’ll pick two or three stems to be my new branches. Remember, gardening is always about change.

      What will you do? Replace your crapemyrtles?

  10. Donna says:

    So sorry Dee to hear of your garden losses…it is a grief we go through so whine away…I lost lots with the recent floods and am starting over again…I look at it as if my creative juices are flowing again and I can make a new plan and a new garden…I have learned to just go with it here in the garden of “you never know what’s going to happen”

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Donna, you are taking the high road on this one. I must say I’ve felt more creative since I’ve lost some things. It gave me more sun, so I chose some new rudbeckias and shasta daisies. We all have to make it work best we can. Floods are awful. I feel your pain.

  11. Nell Jean says:

    Master Gardeners coming? Surely they know what time of year it is and can recognize what your garden will look like by mid-summer. Not to worry. If they are true gardeners, they’ll love your garden’s potential.

    When the visitors arrive, try hard not to point out your garden’s shortcomings and what used to be. Let them discover the good parts, of which there are plenty.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thanks for such good advice. I’m not going to say a word. Yes, let them find what they like about the garden. It’s their experience anyway.

  12. Kathryn/plantwhateverbringsyoujoy.com says:

    Oh, dear, Dee. Big hug from California. First of all, you are ALLOWED to grieve. I’ve wept over roses, too. And all manner of other dying things as well. Anything I could say you already know. It’s very very early in the year to be lamenting How Your Garden Looks. Maybe you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself with Guests Coming?? I know I would…Don’t do one bit of apologizing (do you hear me?) when they come. (I know I would be very tempted.) Your garden, for early spring looks fantastic. It’s a blank canvas. Fill it. 🙂 Love, K.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thank you Kathryn. Sometimes, we must remember to grieve over things. We, Americans, tend to stuff our emotions and simply move on. I’ve grieved now, and I’m encouraged by some of the fast growth on the plants now that warmer temperatures abound. I’m ready to enjoy my spring’s hard work.

      I will not say a word to my visitors. I will let them discover. Thank you friend.

  13. Carol says:

    A “sun sledgehammer”. Interesting thought. All things will grow as the good Lord intended, and we are just privileged to be able to enjoy it. Chin up, soak up those rays!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Yes, m’am. I will try.

  14. Gracious! It looks wonderful. And, even if it didn’t, they wouldn’t be Master Gardeners if they didn’t understand that gardens go through their own seasons as well as the ones which belong to the regular year.

    I like the idea of the dead tree. I hope you are able to keep it.


    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thank you Esther. It doesn’t look like it did, but yes, it looks pretty good. Once the daylilies start to bloom, no one will notice anything else. It will be kept until the shrub makes its way upward.

  15. Pam/Digging says:

    Change is the only thing you can depend on in this world, right? I’m sorry for your garden’s losses, Dee. But I know you will turn it to your advantage. Maybe a few structural yuccas! (Taking a page from Yard Full of Sun, one of my favorite garden memoirs.)

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Exactly Pam. It is the way it is. Love the structural yucca idea btw!

  16. Sweetbay says:

    I can understand your frustration. I live in terror of RRD and wonder where it will strike next, as I lost a few roses to it last year. And you had *such* a brutal winter.

    On the plus side, your garden still looks beautiful! Your visitors will understand about the ups and downs of gardens and weather.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Well, Sweetbay, try not to worry too much about RRD. I’ve managed to not have it spread so far into the garden except those initial rose losses. Every other rose seems to be getting down to the business of growing and blooming. For that, I am grateful.

  17. Losing the green bones of the garden stinks, doesn’t it, Dee! You do have my sympathy, and I hope the surviving crepe myrtles appreciate the extra sun and start filling in. Isn’t there some Oklahoma legend about crepe myrtles turning into bottle trees when they die and go to garden heaven?

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Annie, you always manage to make me smile my friend. Yes, it may become a bottle tree for awhile (at least until the new growth comes in.) Thanks for the suggestion.

  18. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I thought of you when I walked around the garden this evening and saw that some of our things are beginning to wilt from too much water. Geez. You know it is bad when the hydrangeas start wilting from too much water. Unbelieveable. I can imagine your angst seeing things cut down in their prime. I know that your garden will revive and be better despite all.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Lisa, I’m so sorry about the water, and I hope the rain stops for awhile. Wow, hydrangeas? That *is* bad.

  19. Cindy, MCOK says:

    Dee, I hear you! I think I’ve finally accepted winter’s ravages in my garden: I’m taking the opportunity to rework some of the areas to make them more gardener-friendly.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      After all of the nice comments I’ve decided not to worry too much about it all. It just is, and we will now deal with it. Now, if only God would send you some rain.

  20. Greggo says:

    My in laws live in NW Oklahoma. When I graduated from college I planted a Pink Crape Myrtle in their design. Often it would grow tall for 3-4 years then freeze the ground. But always it would sucker back and be at least 6-7′ by the end of summer. And actually with more blooms. That was 30 years ago, and it still performs this way to this day. You may be surprises this year. Here in south Kansas we had a great warm-up in early April, then we’ve been cool since. Not sure what the ground temp is. Happy Red Trails!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Greggo, we had the same warmup and then cool down. Now, the heat seems here to stay. I am no longer worried about the crapemyrtle. Such things happen.

  21. Ann says:

    Funny that I am feeling the same thing too this year! You are not alone and I am sure that others out there understand as well. Your garden does look great to me too, but I understand that we never see our gardens the way others often do.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Thank you so much Ann. It does look different, but still pretty. I’m excited now to see what summer has in store.

  22. This is where the “patience of a gardener” come in.
    I think your garden looks beautiful still. Different than before but beautiful.

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Amen to that GSS. Yes, patience is a virtue.

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