Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Little Stress

Hot and muggy yesterday, up to the mid 90s, and then a little cooler and fresher today after a brief thunderstorm rolled through last night. There was no rain from the storm though, just rumbles and flashes.

After drowning in two and a half inches of rain on August 13, it's now been over two weeks without any rain (I think a quarter inch fell the day we left for Denver, but that's hardly enough).

Some things look stressed.

The 'White Chiffon' Rose of Sharon looks really stressed. Leaves are turning yellow and it's not very leafy any more. I can see through it as I sit on the porch.  It is flowering but not as much as in other years and the blooms are shattering on the ground.

There has been vole activity all along the east foundation, and one tunnel leads directly into the rootball of the Rose of Sharon. Could that be part of the problem or is it just the long dry stretches with too little water?

The 'Edo Shibori' bush clover also looks bad. It is starting to flower now all along the bouncing stems, but the whole plant has flopped and splayed open down the middle. It's just messy looking. In other years it has been fuller and more arching.

'Forest Pansy' redbud looks stressed, but then this one is a constant concern -- it struggled in winter, never bloomed in spring, and leafed out late. But it did leaf out and it did look good in the cooler parts of summer. Now it looks limp, although it is one of the trees I do spend time watering deeply when I can.

The dogwoods look limp now too. The Cornus florida flowering dogwood in front and both Cornus mas corneliancherry dogwoods all have curled leaves, which is typical at the end of the season, but it seems very pronounced now. Is it the heat? The dry stretch? Is it normal?

Does it help if I worry?

Aesculus pavia, red buckeye, always yellows and drops its leaves early. Late summer is not unusual for this little tree to look raggedy and go bare. I did water this heavily this summer, as it crisped badly  in late summer last year. Even with the extra water it wants to close up shop in August.

It does seem unusual for the iteas in the Birch Garden to be reddening up already. They are bronzy now, and will be deep garnet red in October, if they hang on that long. I think the cool nights all summer this year and the dry conditions have stressed them into early color.

But some things actually look really good, with no signs of stress. The 'Robustissima' anemone, for example.

And the sweet autumn clematis continues to be spectacular, looking up at it from below, or looking out at it standing on the deck. Lovely from all angles.

And the 'Yellow Gleam' nasturtiums, after bunching around the foot of the twig towers all summer, have now made a shapely climb up the structure.

It's been a stressful summer for some of my plants. Too many chilly summer nights and too little rain. Then too much.

There's been a little stress in the household too -- Jim came home from Denver with a cold. It's almost a guarantee that airplane travel will sicken us.

Since retirement we are not around people enough, and with no grandchildren to share germs, we've lost immunity to anything.


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