I started answering JustMe's comment in the comments box of the last post, and decided it was long enough for a post.
Her comment: "Lovely garden. I wish you weren't so far away; I'd mug you for your talents. I have a black thumb when it comes to gardening. I can barely keep house plants alive. "
Me too, house plant-wise. Of course it probably doesn't help that my cat's a grazer. Anything I bring into the house gets chewed down to a nub. Doesn't matter where I put it, she can get to it and eat it. Then after there's nothing left to eat she knocks the pot over to let me know I can get rid of it.
I'm amazed by how well things turned out in the flower beds. I only put a few perennials in this year in case they died on me. That way I could console myself with the fact that mostly everything was an annual and was going to die anyway. I think one of the perennials did die, and it may be that I put it in the wrong kind of soil. It's a sandwort. I guess I won't find out if it's really dead until it doesn't come back next year.
Two of my other perennials were bought out of pity. My sister and I were wandering around in Lowes' gardening section (when she was up for Arts Festival) and happened upon the cart I dubbed The Island of Misfit Plants. Poor things were sunburned and almost (but not quite) dead. The little card in the soil called them pincushion flowers, and the tag on the pot said they were $1 apiece. I couldn't decide which of the two orphans to leave behind (guiltguiltguilt) so even though I had no idea where I was going to put two sun-loving perennials in my little patch, I bought them both. One grew faster and larger than the other one did, but they're both healthy now. So I call that plant rescue a success.
Some of the seeds I planted never came up. I think they may have been eaten by birds. I planted dwarf sunflowers and never saw any hint of them. The snapdragon seeds never produced either--I bought some plants from the Ag Dept. on campus and put them where I'd planted the seeds.
I think maybe outdoor plants are harder to kill than houseplants. Either that, or the fact that I walked around the garden everyday on the look-out for changes (and photo-ops) made me more consistent about care & maintenance.