for the love of mike, why won't it rain?!?!

blanaidJuly 18, 2010

So, last summer it rained almost every day here in Cary, and I gloated a little because my mother, who lives in Greensboro, was constantly complaining of drought. Well, that certainly came back to bite me in the arse!

Everything I have is dying! My sedum are dying - SEDUM!! How do you kill sedum? The only things that are truly happy in this heat are my Dusty Millers and Purple Hearts. So many sad, crispy plants!

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transplanted2scin07(7b upstate SC)

I hear you! I got excited when I heard raindrops today until I realized it was only 10 drops, again. I have Sedums dying, too, and everything else I've managed to keep alive the last 3 years. (We've had 3 years straight of drought in Greer, SC).

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 9:06PM
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We are north of Greensoboro, and after three weeks of intense temperatures and no rain, we had a little over two inches earlier this week and a drizzly, all day rain that left about an inch yesterday. What a relief!

My friend who lives only two miles from me had rain, too, but much less, and another friend who lives about 60 mi. away on Hyco Lake has had nothing at all. It is so spotty. Sorry your plants are crispy. That was my description of my plants last year and most of the summers before. We had a lovely spring, however, so as a true plant lover, I am looking forward to the future.

Oh, all of my shade natives showed no stress in our three week rainless period, but the aliens, even my hellebores, were beginning to wilt. Gotta love those shade natives!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 9:11PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

We must have had some good rains here in western Union Cty while I was in Florida because the grass was greening up and the flowers were perky and blooming when we returned.
I've never known sedum to die out from drought. Even those two years of extraordinary drought my sedums under a vitex tree (so it's already competing for moisture) did just fine.

I am noticing that irregular rainfall necessitating supplement by city water is killing out sections of my lawn. When the rains come, the weakened turf roots are dying from some type of opportunistic black fungus.
Fall will be here soon enough and we can help all our plants recover.
All the regular and abundant rains of spring probably discouraged deep root growth in lawn grasses and landscape plants.
Now, the clouds roll in darkly and ominous..the lightning flashes and the thunder makes you plan for a rainstorm that may not even reach ground. It could be raining like crazy 1000 ft up in the air but evaporate leaving you with a few drops here and there.
If it does reach the ground, it is soaked up by excessive mulch which can actually be starving your plants roots for water and dissolved oxygen.
My main garden is patterned with cracks in the soil as the soil contracts for lack of moisture. Those cracks will self-heal when we get rain and they will trap the heavy rainfall and channel the moisture to the plant roots below ground.
I'm not a proponent of mulching. All that pine straw people lay down every year makes me wonder if people don't notice that nothing grows under a pine tree where the needles fall and are not raked away. Not to mention that pine needles are wonderfully combustible (sarcasm) and make a splendid roof for the warren of field mice and pine voles that live under it.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 2:12AM
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I hear ya! Many an evening I have been outside working the crops, watching the dark clouds dump water a mile or so away with only a few drops hitting my scorched garden. This weekend it finally rained. I raced to the rain gauge and saw a three day total of less than 2 inches - so I'll stop complaining but the plants really need more. I decided to plant a few things in the ground that are struggling in pots and got mighty depressed to find dry-as-a-bone soil 4 inches down.

I've done all the tricks: left the windows down in the car parked out in the open; left tools out in the yard; washed the car. etc. Animal sacrifice and nekkid dancing in the driveway is all I have left to try.

It's so hot and dry that even my potted Aloe's are sunburned!! What are you supposed to do then?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 9:34AM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

And it's to be 99 later this week again, for 2 days. Can't wait to see the backside of this summer!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 10:33AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

John, you had a whole lot more rain than we did here. I wish I had more room for planting near the airconditioning condensate pipe. At least in this heat, some of the shrubs get a regular though small amount of water.
We had such regular and generous rains all spring that the trees went overboard with leaves and seed production. Now they are really stressed.
I suppose next month or so the hurricanes will start rolling aross the Atlantic and we'll be complaining of flash floods and inability to plant and tend our fall crops.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 4:08PM
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tamelask(z8a NC)

Well, dottie, we hadn't had any rain- nada- for about 3 or 4 weeks up til then, even through the hot hot hot stuff so that inch and a half was blessed relief, and not anywhere near enough to help with the deficit. It seemed like there was an umbrella over garner- it went all around us, but not here. I've not had any since. TJ may have had a bit more last night since he's about 10 miles from me now and there was a storm that passed, but unfortunately was all noise & no rain for us. Hoping for a little today before the really awful heat hits and the chance goes down to 0 again.

I'd also noticed that everything set bumper crops, and is definitely stressed out now. Many of my fruit trees are dropping some of their crop and leaves, even with some supplemental watering. Let's hope the natives will do the same to lessen the burden. I've seen several trees in fall colors already- never good in july!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 9:01AM
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With my new digs I get big big views of the sky so it is nice to watch the tall clouds roll in and listen to the thunder while I am standing out there holding a hose above a blueberry bush that has winter-red leaves. The well needs work so the water pressure isn't enough to run a sprinkler which means it can take many hours of handwatering to give everybody a drink. Besides that, the only fluids hitting the leaves are my own tears since it never rains in my neighborhood.

Some sort of insect has built a nest inside my rain gauge.

I just want to make it through August, hopefully after that it will cool down some. By then I'll have a new pressure tank on the well and even more hoses strung around the yard.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 12:48PM
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The only things that are growing well in my yard are some coleus and the crabgrass and Johnson grass. I have not been able to work in the yard for a couple or three weeks and the Johnson grass is back with a vengence and taller than I am. I can't even see the baby roses in my oval rose garden. Heck, I can't even see the mature roses! Where did all the grass come from? and so fast! I haven't had coleus for many years and picked up 4 in two gallon pots for $1 each. They are now huge with a minimal amount of watering. Like John, I can watch the storms come down from the mountains...and watch them go to the west of me....

    Bookmark   July 21, 2010 at 1:21PM
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here's the answer to your prayers: rain barrels!!!

i am so ridiculously broke this summer, and there's no way i could have kept my plants alive without the aid of my rain barrels. i am SO glad that i bought them soon after moving here to NC. each of my five downspouts ends in a rain barrel, so i think we're good for another couple of weeks.

if you don't have the $$$ for rain barrels, i still suggest that you save whatever large containers you come across. one of my neighbors is using his recycling bin in a pinch!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2010 at 9:07PM
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Oh I've got the rain barrels and I have a sorta pond site (low spot in the yard where an above ground pool used to be) that fills with water, and I have the pump to pull water out of it (both electric and manual). What I need is rain. Less than 2 inches in like 3 or 4 months isn't going to cut it. Luckily I am on a well that hasn't shown any problems other than low pressure.

Because I recently moved into this house (Feb) most of the garden plants are still in pots waiting for better soil moisture before getting planted. Because I'm a certifiable plant hoarder my plant collection is enormous and takes up to two hours to water. Nothing much gets done around here except watering.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 10:29AM
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I'm getting cabin fever in summer! This is ridiculous weather. It's dangerous ridiculous. 103 tomorrow. ugh.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2010 at 3:14PM
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The only issue with rain barrels is that I live in a condo, and my "garden" is strips of ground next to the building. So, aside from not having much room for a barrel, the roof hangs over just enough to block rain from coming straight down. Crankypants!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2010 at 11:56PM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

We had hard rain yesterday, too soupy today to even weed.
I still contend that instead of mulch, we ought to be beefing our soils up with more organic matter that will hold the moisture when it does rain.
I think I'm going the rainbarrel route next spring and force myself not to use the rainwater until plants get stressed by too much city water sprinkling.
I've seen a new rainbarrel setup that diverts the rainwater until the barrel gets full and then the diverter goes vertical allowing all the rain to go through the downspout.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2010 at 12:14PM
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I finally got a solid inch of rain after a half inch the day before so I am happy that I don't have to spend a weekend watering.

Friends that traveled about Australia brought back photos of elaborate rain barrel set ups (certain areas have gone ten years without rain!!! farms are empty and the local ag departments at the university closed down, even letting go tenured faculty - yep, its that bad) - even though the barrels were color coordinated with the house or barn it still didn't look very inviting. I plan on rigging up some sort of dolly to wheel my barrels around the orchard and then pump water from the pond to fill the barrels and then turn the spigot to water a row with the 50 gallons from each barrel rather than have a barrel at every corner of the house. Building the drains to move all the run off to the pond will take up most of next summer.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2010 at 9:35AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

John, if Basil is still around lurking you might lure him over (tell him to get dressed first,LOL) for his help and advice on that pond of yours.
When are we going to see some photos of the new property??
Maybe post them on the conversations side of Carolina forum in one of your threads.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 3:20AM
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Ha ha - my neighbors are all in the 80's with faltering eyesight so they probably wouldn't notice the naked muddiness. My pond isn't anything like the magnificent beauty that Basil installed, basically its a 22 foot round crater in a field. It will probably never look "natural" being perfectly round but thats ok, I need it for water storage more than anything else.

I'll get right on those photos. Most of the time my camera seems to omit the fine details that I am trying to point out (couldn't possibly be the photographers fault!).

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 9:15AM
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dottie_in_charlotte(z7-8 NC)

You'd be surprised how many seniors employ binoculars to see what their failing eyesight misses...

    Bookmark   August 8, 2010 at 10:26AM
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No rain up here either. I ripped out my lawn in the front and replaced it with Opuntia cactus--moving to increasingly serious levels of drought. It's been like this since April 1st. Ridiculous is the word for it--and August is usually the wettest month here.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2010 at 8:40PM
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