Monday, August 26, 2013

Strange Summer

Cold and damp today, very overcast, rain coming. In the 70s. What on earth has happened to August?

The weekend was gorgeous, with cool, dry, top-ten sunny weather. But overcast or sunny, it has been oddly cool this August.

We need rain. The river birches are turning yellow.

After so much rain all spring and summer, it has now gone far too long without a drop. The clethra looked crispy and curled today, with limp, browning leaves. The yellowroot looks stressed and other plants do too, despite running the sprinklers.

I hand watered, but that is never enough, and it is never sufficient once the leaves have dried and browned at the edges.

This year has been strange. One thing I have noticed is that whole stands of perennials that made up a big portion of the gardens just did not appear this year.

The physostegia Miss Manners used to be a big patch of tall white spikes in Meadow's Edge. It simply did not show up this year. There were plenty of red cardinal flowers filling the area, but the contrast with the white Obedient plant would have been nice.
This was Miss Manners Obedient Plant in 2011. In 2013 I didn't see any at all!

In 2013 the cardinal flower was nice, but some frilly white spikes with it would have been nice.

I already mentioned the deep purple lobelia, Ruby Slippers. It has come up, and there are about 6 plants, a nice enough little area, but they are shorter and barely seen above the top of the patio wall. In previous years they toppled over.
Last summer, in 2012, the rich purple lobelia towered over the patio wall.
This year they are not even up to the height of the birdbath.

The pink evening primrose, an aggressive spreader, was nowhere at all this year.

The Chocolate Joe Pye Weed is there, but hidden by the sedums around it, barely 10 inches high this summer. It blooms in September, so I will keep an eye out for it, but it is looking very puny.

But the gardens still look good even without these plants. The comptonia looks wonderful, the dahlias and chocolate cosmos were stars. The fall anemone is beautiful.

Black eyed Susans look great.

And the sweet autumn clematis that I planted last fall is looking so nice, and is fragrant. It is still small -- I wonder if it will go rampant all along the deck railing, or will it disappear like some other pretty no-shows in my garden?