Sunday, July 29, 2012

Drought and Renewal

(Although the "renewal" in the title might be premature --we're just now moving into what is normally our driest month, August.)

So, Carol at May Dreams has been ruminating on drought recovery --for gardeners and gardens. We've been blessed with about 1&1/2 inches of rain over the last two to three weeks. The mature trees seem to have breathed a definite sigh of relief, but the meteorologists say it's not enough rain to move us out of "severe" drought status. Our temperatures have also stayed below 100, even below 90, for a while now, and I can see that the garden is grateful for that relief as well.

So, taking a look around, here is what I see. First, the ugly. (And mind, these are places I watered religiously!)

Even the daylilies couldn't make it here in full sun. Cardinal flower just died away, two coneflowers and a daisy, a peony, a rose, and some penstemon have all burned up.

This coneflower managed one blossom before the whole thing gave up the ghost. Part of the green in this picture is a tree seedling I haven't had the strength to pull up.

This is what's left of one of my clumps of thyme. Again, a full sun plant, and it's just burned up. It's so sad to walk through that garden.

The shade gardens have fared better. Apparently, when the temperatures regularly reach 100, one can only garden in the shade. The green grass in this photo, however, only appeared over the last few days. Before that it was crispy yellow right up to the bed. Really, it's amazing how fast grass can recover.

There are signs of renewal, just from the little bit of rain we had. 

This is a daylily that never had a chance to bloom. This is an area that I didn't really water much, so I was happy to see green tips coming up out of the brown foliage after the rain.

These morning glory seedlings sprung up over night after a rain. A carpet of seeds from last years' plants, just waiting for a little moisture.

We also have two raised beds, one with tomatoes and one with strawberry starts and flower seeds. These beds received almost daily watering during the heat, and are doing fine. I'm grateful that my tomato bed is so close to a spigot, so it's easy to water. The flower seeds Emma planted this spring are the only color in the garden now, and I enjoy looking at them from the kitchen window.

And really, I just can't get enough of green grass. Most of our yard is still crispy brown, but in these shady areas, just looking at the cool green of the grass makes me feel happy.

I am hoping (crossing my fingers!) that this summer will prove to be very unusual, and we won't have to endure another one like this for a long time.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

July Garden Blogger's Bloom Day

In a general way, my garden looks terrible this summer. The drought, the multiple over-100 degree days, the deer damage, and being away for only one week, have all combined to create a very underwhelming late June/July garden. Still, although I've lost almost every new plant I put in this summer, I have managed to catch some individual blooms that offered a bright spot here and there. 

Late in June, my bee balm bloomed with some blanket flower disguising it's browning feet.

My Asian lilies have really struggled this year --here is a selection of less than stellar examples of three types in one garden. The orange and yellow is a stunner normally, but I think this was its only bloom this year, and it's all mottled. The other two managed a few more blooms, but their color was less than spectacular.

My oriental lilies did better.

This white lily is downward facing, like the martagon lilies. I bought it many years ago, and I have no idea what it is. It's been a consistent performer, but it's usually paired with a pink of the same form, and the pink only had one stem that bloomed, and it was half its usual height.

I also planted an Easter lily many years ago, after it had finished blooming inside. It comes back every year, and this year it really outdid itself.

I've had good luck with alliums this year as well, and this one in particular I thought had such a great form. I don't remember planting this, but I just loved it. They start with this form:

And then proceed to open all the way, like little fireworks.

They are part of this grouping along a path to our mudroom door.

The other stalwart this year has been the daylily. The foliage has browned early, and during the week that I was gone, the heat and lack of water affected the number of blooms, but the individual flowers are still spectacular.

The daylilies have been really the only color over the last week, and now they are going as well. My rudbeckia has not handled the drought well, and is only about half its normal height, and the shasta daisy has been and gone. I don't know if anything will be blooming next month!

Thanks to Carol, at May Dreams Gardens, for hosting!