What a difference a year makes! The rain this spring and summer has really been great for our shrubs, perennials, roses and trees, especially our Limelight hydrangeas.

The group of large Limelight hydrangeas is blooming better than ever before. In addition, the azaleas we planted this spring were blooming when we planted them, and they have bloomed again this summer. Our red knockout roses have bloomed continuously since May.

On the negative side of receiving all this rain, the grass needs to be cut almost immediately after mowing and weeds keep popping up in planting beds.

Oscar and I continue to find plants in our landscape that failed to survive last year’s heat and drought. We recently had a dogwood tree cut down that had been on our property since we moved here in 1984. Now we’ve discovered that a tall sweet gum tree in our backyard has died and must be taken down.

In addition, two huge pine trees in the woods along the perimeter of the yard are leaning severely, and if they fall they will destroy our garage. We don’t really mind losing the sweet gum tree because of the burrs that are dropped, but all the dead trees and shrubs are evidence of how severe last year’s drought was in this area.

While the stump grinders and tree people were here, after the workers removed the dead dogwood tree, we had a couple of crape myrtles cut down that were growing too closely to more desirable trees. We then had all the stumps ground. The landscape looks much better now, but more work remains to be done.

A huge group of yellow flag lilies in a planting bed out back needs to be thinned, and so does a group of monarda (bee balm) in the same bed. In between bouts of health problems, Oscar has been working in the landscape. He started removing a row of hostas that borders the back sidewalk, which will cut down on the job of weeding. I decided I’d rather not have the pretty plants than to deal with the constant need for weeding. I’m all for making yard work easier!

Carol (Bonnie) Link is an Etowah County Master Gardener and an experienced garden writer. Her weekly column is designed to help and encourage others in their gardening endeavors. Send questions or comments to clink43@bellsouth.net.