Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Limping Along

Too many weeks without rain, too many days of unending sunshine and dry breezes. It's been lovely for sitting on the patio in the nice weather, but the gardens are suffering. It hasn't been overly hot, and nights are downright cool, but without any rain at all, plants are going limp.

The prickly pear cactus (Opuntia) is happy

There was a bit of damp sprinkles last night, but not enough to soak, and no soaking rain in the long range forecast either.

This year I promised myself that I would not stress over conditions. I vowed to take care of what I could do reasonably, like water the containers daily, keep the birdbath filled, prevent seedlings from drying up, and lug the hoses out to get water to any new transplants.

Everything else is on its own, and I simply have to stop looking.

Orange Butterflyweed is doing well.

And so the garden dries up. The astilbes are gone, totally crisp. Viburnums and hydrangeas are alarmingly droopy, coneflowers are wilted and the lovely drumstick alliums that stand so tall and straight have started to lie down in the dirt and make little piles of hay before even opening their buds.

The tightly budded drumstick alliums usually open wine red and make a great contrast
with hot orange Butterflyweed. But the alliums are starting to give up and wilt now.

Blueberries have brown edges on some leaves. The lawn grass is, of course, browning. Everyone's is. It will come back with wetter conditions, but right now it's another thing I try not to look at.

This is where I add modest disclaimers about my issues compared to truly horrific situations like the floods in West Virginia, the fires out west, or tornadoes in the south. My garden is no tragedy. Not even close. Some things even look good.

But I work hard all winter and spring on it, with great anticipation that I will enjoy it when summer comes and that visitors will see something nice when they visit.

I'm not enjoying it. I'm keeping what I can limping along, watered enough not to die, and waiting for another season.


  1. Confessions of a control freak, here: I actually don't worry too much about rain. My garden is much smaller than yours, of course, but several years ago I made the decision that I was going to institute tough love. The plants that could survive without a lot of rain would, and they'd stay. The others? They get chopped too early (the astilbe) or just don't make it. I do water all same things you do, but it's an interesting design challenge to figure out what works in dry conditions and what doesn't.

    1. Your tough love approach to watering is exactly what I am implementing --- but I worry more than you do! Or get discouraged easier. I am trying not to look at the fried stuff, and not to obsess over wilting and limp leaves --- rain will come when it comes! Easier said than done, though.