African Garden + wildflower

What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been: 2008 in Review

It's that time again, when the media look back at all the events of the past 12 months. I've decided to join that ramble down memory lane, not merely as filler (believe me, I have more to write about than time to write), but to commemorate a noteworthy year.

In January, I posted for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day, which is all the more amazing considering the snow festival that was February, including a snow sculpture competition. Thank goodness we were able to escape to Florida.

I ordered plants from the Morton Arboretum's member sale.

March brought the garden back to life with Crocuses and the visit of Great Blue Herons. I ordered some mail order plants.

April was a milestone. I fooled a lot of people with my April 1st post claiming the Skunk Cabbage as Illinois' State flower due to the stench emanating from Springfield. (I was completely unsurprised by Blagojevich's arrest.) I posted my 100th post and went to Spring Fling in Austin.

Somehow, I ended up volunteering Chicago to host Spring Fling 2009 (I believe alcohol was involved). My Very Indulgent Spouse (VIS) and I rambled through Trout Park looking at the wildflowers on Earth Day.

May saw the beginning of the garden disappointments, the frozen Tree Peony buds and Cladrastis buds. In response, I bought plants. (Something I highly recommend for all ills.) I also visited Rich's Foxwillow Pines to admire lots of conifers and the biggest Magnolia flower I've ever seen.

Summer happened and it rained a lot. I learned about Carpenter Bees, I visited the open garden day at Hidden Tree and went on a pond tour.

I also battled earwigs, slugs, mosquitoes and ants. I visited my favorite nursery, The Growing Place, and bought plants. I had my first success with growing peppers in containers.

It stopped raining in August, the ground turned hard and cracked, so, of course we started digging out the Yews to get rid of the Green Mustache. I started telling the truth about my garden and I bought more plants.

In September, my uncle finished my metal garden sculpture and we were deluged with rain on the 13th, making removal of the Yews much easier, albeit much muddier. I also learned that I suffer from HHSBP (Horticultural Hypochondriac Syndrome By Proxy) when I discovered that none of my Hostas were infected with Hosta Virus X. In celebration, I bought more plants. I visited a local prairie with my daughter's class, where I spotted those native gems, the Fringed and Bottle Gentians. I ended September with a trip to the Morton Arboretum to meet some Chicago garden bloggers, where I bought some bulbs.

In October, I showed off my really big Aster and admired the best autumn color we've seen in years. I installed a new mowing strip and bought more bulbs.

November was very busy with leaf pickup and fence staining. The Squirrelhaven squirrels were well fed.

December arrived in a whirl of snow. I bought Hyacinth kits to give as gifts and kept one for myself. After nearly daily snow shoveling, it all melted away (except for the piles encircling the lawn and the corners where it drifted).

The year turns, the decade wanes, and I'm ready to snuggle under the covers with the seed catalogs to plan for next year's garden and dream of spring. I've met some wonderful, remarkable people this year, and I hope to meet many more of you next year here in Chicago. Happy New Year!

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What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been: 2008 in Review + wildflower