For the last garden column of the year, it has been tradition to write about successes and failures.

Last week Ines wrote about her successes. So now it’s my turn.

I guess the weather would be the biggest thing for me. Late spring and all that rain was probably my biggest problem. One good thing with the rain was I didn’t water any of my flower beds, and there were many days when my 40-plus pots and hanging planters didn’t need to be watered either.

It was a little difficult to find days suitable for lawn mowing — which was needed every five days or so.


I have never had such tall and huge hosta leaves. One in particular, Victory, was unbelievable. It was the 2015 hosta of the year and I know why. I have heard it can get to be 35 inches tall and 70 inches wide.

Mine is four years old so it isn’t that wide yet, but it was easily three feet tall and the leaves were enormous — even bigger than Sum and Substance.

It has white flowers with very tall scapes. The leaves are thick so are slug-resistant. I know that I didn’t leave enough room for it to grow in my hosta bed. I don’t remember it being such a standout last year.

Daylilies did great. The lowly Stella which usually blooms in May didn’t come through until about the middle of June. I had the second bloom on them at frost time. The only reason I have a few of them is because they bloom early. July had most of the rest blooming and well into August.

I have white phlox and couldn’t believe no powdery mildew on them with all the rain. They are supposed to have good air movement around them but mine don’t because they are next to the 6 foot tall Joe Pye weed. Some luck must be involved here.

Hydrangea — good and bad. I dug out the Endless Summer two varieties I had to make room for something more dependable. Pinky Winky and Little Lamb need to be moved to more sun next year. Limelight, Silver Dollar and Strawberry Sundae did well. And the good old Annabelle never disappoints.


The Bubble Gum supertunias in the whiskey barrels came through again and so did the Bordeaux supertunias in the hanging baskets.

A supercal that was new to me was Premium Cinnamon. It is a petunia-calibrachoa hybrid. A different color. That particular cross comes in several colors. Will try more of them next year.

The thing I love about supertunia and calibrachoa plants is you never have to deadhead nor do they get leggy like petunias.

If I have calibrachoa plants for several months, they get tired of blooming, especially if they are at their peak when I buy them in hanging baskets in the spring or they happen to dry out.

Another annual that was new to me this year and will be on my list again was superbells doublette Love Swept. It was a double calibrachoa. It is only 6 to 10 inches tall and mounds and trails. That plant looked terrific up until frost. A pretty pink double with white edging.

A different type of zonal geranium that I had never seen before was Vancouver Centennial.

I would consider the flower insignificant as they are small, single flowers but the foliage is wonderful.

It has reddish-bronze foliage with spring green margins. The leaves are almost maple-shaped. It never got over 10 to 12 inches tall in the pot.

I was tempted to try bringing it in the house for winter but didn’t have a place to segregate it to check for bugs. Probably didn’t have any as never a hole in a leaf.

Can’t say that about my ornamental sweet potato vines. I had both dark and chartreuse varieties, and they were constantly peppered with little shot holes. Never saw a bug on them so it was a mystery.

I read other master gardeners had the same problem. Some thought slugs, but I don’t think my slugs can climb into a hanging basket. I finally just pulled them out of the pots. Life is too short to put up with that.


I had two whiskey barrels with a tomato in each one — Early Girl and Celebrity. They produced early and lots but the fruit wasn’t as large as it should be.

Don’t suppose it was because I kept forgetting to fertilize them after the slow release I used when planting? For some reason the skin on the planter tomatoes was tough.

I planted a Celebrity on the edge of my flower bed later in the spring and that had nice large fruit. One day I picked 75 to 80 tomatoes from it. Still tons of tomatoes on it at frost time.