Now that fall is here, it’s time to look back at some of the interesting things that happened in the yard this summer.

1. We had plenty of rain until August when heat and drought arrived. That may have been the reason the Tropicana Rose sent up new growth that never got around to turning green. I thought something was wrong.

Then it flowered!

2. I have four paw paw trees. The tallest is around 8 feet tall. Suddenly, in August, its leaves drooped. They didn’t turn yellow or fall off, they just drooped. And stayed drooped. The picture below shows the leaves of the droopy paw paw on the left next to a normal one on the right. I gave the tree a slow, steady soak for a few hours, hoping it just needed water, but it made no difference. Paw paws have very few pests, so it’s a mystery what the problem is, or even if it is a problem.

3. My first batch of lemon cucumbers did not do well due to being planted in garden soil. Or so I thought. In July, I planted three more in potting soil and crossed my fingers. For the past two years, lemon cucumbers have been the picture of exuberant health. These started out with their usual high energy, slowed and then started dying from the top down.

When I finally yanked them out, I discovered the culprit was cucumber worm. A lot of cucumber worms. Ick.

4. In this photo taken in mid August, the first butternut squash planted in garden soil are in the pot on the right. Although wimpy, they’d already produced a handful of small butternuts. The second planting of squash in potting soil in July is on the left. They were lush and producing squash.

The first week in September, I noticed holes in the squash on the plants on the left. Then the plants on the left collapsed. Although butternut is resistant to pests, the squash vine borer had found them anyway. The older plant on the right, planted in garden soil, never had a pest problem.

5. The tomatoes did surprisingly well in garden soil. They produced a nice amount of smaller tomatoes with no sign of any pests. Next spring I’ll try mixing some garden soil in with potting soil.

6. Cicadas are fascinating. Soon after I moved here, a 17 year brood emerged. I’d never seen a cicada before and suddenly my entire yard was moving. I’m happy now to see just one cicada shell.

For a look at a colorful garden, free of pests and drooping, check out The Propagator, along with links to colorful gardens from around the world in the comment section.