This has been the worst summer.......

gardengranny2(6 CT)August 27, 2010

for gardening, that is. As temps here in central CT have been consistently higher than normal (high 90's and some days over 100) with little to no rain.

I have only gone out in the early morning hours since the 1st week of July. It's been too darn hot to do anything outside. Never have I been so greatful for central air. One day it was 112 in my neck of the woods (when the electric bill came DH said it was worth every penny).

Roses did not flower due to the heat. Daylilies melted as soon as they opened. Spirea never did bloom. Hydrangeas browned on July 7th. Shasta daisies fried to a black crisp. These look awful, but they are alive. Palace purple heucheras are dead dead dead. All in all, a total gardening disappointment.

Needless to say, my beds and my lawn are disaster areas (large segments of dead grass). All will require major work to bring them back to their previous glory.

DH took a vacation week, and the plan was to renovate the lawn this week as temps have seemingly returned to 'normal' for several days. However, while Saturday is expected to be in the high 70's, Sunday brings the return of 90's and expected to continue thru the week.

My property is in full sun. 90's for everybody else means 100+ for us.

You just can't labor in that kind of heat, and the lawn should have been done 2 weeks ago allowing time for it to develop before the first frost (late Oct early Nov).

I hope to start putting things to bed for the season and hope for a return to more 'normal' weather conditions next summer. Because that's what gardeners do!

Liz

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gldno1

It has not been a good gardening year here either. I am ready to mow some flower beds into oblivion with the tractor!
A few I will retire permanently.

I still have some hopes for pumpkins and sweet potatoes but the squash bugs may defeat me.

We are needing rain badly here too. We have had a few cooler days but they are to end soon I hear.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 5:31AM
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Oakley

We got that cool front early this week where it dipped down in the 50s at night, from the usual high 70s, and has been in the 80s to low 90s from the usual 100s.

I don't know if it's getting older or what, but when I go out in this heat, my energy level just goes down to zero.

My garden is in full sun too but luckily it gets shade by 6 pm. The flowers are doing good though, but I have to water them religiously and even that brings out a huge sweat! lol

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 7:32AM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

It really has been an exceptionally hot, dry summer here in NE. We have been watering, watering, watering. I can't help but think my well-pump is going to die soon from all the use this year. Most years we have to water here or there but generally get enough rain to help it along. We finally got a lot of rain this past week for a couple days, but before that the last rainfall of any note was June 6. Unheard of in NE for summer. On a positive note, everyone who was taking vacation this summer had beautiful sunny, hot weather! Not so great for gardens though!! I'm hoping next summer we'll have something in between from the entirely rainy summer of last year and the hot, dry summer of this year. The weather sure has been weird these past couple of years.

Hang in there Liz. It has been a very rough summer on gardens (and gardeners alike), but if it's any consolation our glorious NE fall will be coming soon.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 9:32AM
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aftermidnight Zone7b B.C. Canada

It's been the opposite here, I can't remember a worse spring, cold, wet, and when it did warm up the tomato flowers were drying up without forming any fruit. I had to go out and shake the plants, even this didn't help much we've got a few tomatoes but they still haven't ripened. Last year we had tomatoes galore.

The warm weather finally arrived and stuck around for awhile but it has cooled off considerably this week, I'm hoping for an indian summer but that might just be wishful thinking on my part.

It was a struggle for the beans but they finally started to produce and I'm picking cucumbers and carrots so the veggie garden isn't a complete loss. I hope these climate changes get themselves sorted out soon, if not the future looks bleak no matter where you live.

Annette

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 10:43AM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

Well, I feel a little blessed! While we have had the heat, we have also had rain, rain, rain. We had a dry winter, which means even with all of this rain, our aquifers are still not up to usual levels. However, in terms of my gardens, it has helped me tremendously. I was not able to do much this Spring and early Summer, due to surgery. The rain kept much alive, but I have one pepper(total) on 6 plants; few green beans, but the 2nd (3rd?) planting is showing promise. Sweet Million cherries are living up to their name, as usual. Only the Brandywines survived my early neglect, and I think I might have the 1st one ripened, finally. Beets have been good; potatoes didn't get hilled quite as well as they should have, but I've still got a good amount. Cukes were planted late, but are flowering now; Montreal Melons struggled against weeds, and seem to be dwarfed. Didn't get carrots or squash planted.
Liz, hang in there. August heat usually wipes out the grass here, but not this year. Parts of my lawn did not get mowed by my wonderful neighbours, so it was more like haying!! lol. I have lots of sumac shoots to pull out, and just found out some of the shrubs I have been encouraging as a worthwhile fruiting shrub are actually noxious imports. Last week was cool, but this weekend brings another week of high temperatures. Yes, there is always next year. The gardeners mantra.

Nancy.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 11:26AM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

It's been hotter than normal here and normal is miserable! For a couple weeks this month the morning low never got below 80 ... normal is low-mid 70s.

Oakley, getting older definitely increases the misery whether it's heat or cold ... one of the reasons I'm beginning to research other areas of the country to retire. I know there's a trade-off to be made with more of a winter, but I can't handle six months of constant heat and humidity anymore.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 11:45AM
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scully931(6)

Been great here in Pittsburgh! Hot, yes. But I'll take that ANYTIME over the cool, rainy summer we had last year. A few things came and went quickly, but for the most part the flowers and I are enjoying it.

Hope everyone else finishes out the gardening season on a good note. :-)

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 1:07PM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

I wonder if there is a 'perfect' place to live, for a gardener. Winter here is harsh, but it is the perfect excuse to curl up and dream of next year. I guess the south isn't really the opposite - curl up in the summer. Who has a thought on this??

Nancy.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 1:09PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Nancy, only curling up done here would have to be in air-conditioned comfort. ;) It's not a fun time ... there's no "comfort" to be found. No cooking pleasures, no curling up by the fire or with a good book, no energy for much of anything. I could handle that for 3 months, but this 6 is for the birds!

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 1:19PM
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woodyoak zone 5 Canada(5b)

We're not the only part of the world having an unusual summer. I get a magazine from England called 'New Scientist' - sort of a Newsweek style science news magazine. There was an article in the Aug. 14-20 issue that says all the northern hemisphere of the world has had unusual stalled weather systems which have caused things like the floods in Pakistan, wildfires in western Russia, heatwaves with high fatalities in Japan and, of course, the high heat in much of the US and Canada. The culprit seems to be that the jet stream has experienced a number of 'blocking events' that have prevented weather systems from moving in their normal wave-like west-to-east flow. The blocked systems sat over areas for unusually long times, resulting in unusually high temperatures and rainfalls in various areas. The cause is uncertain - perhaps global warming but someone at the University of Reading in England has reviewed 350 years of data and showed a link between blocking events and periods of low solar activity. He says that 'blocking events have been unusually common over the last three years, for instance, causing severe floods in the UK and heatwaves in eastern Europe in 2007. Solar activity has been low throughout.'

I normally get garden doldrums by late August - and have them in spades this year! The garden has actually survived reasonably well. Aside from the pots on the driveway, we haven't done much watering other than to attempt to keep newly planted stuff alive.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 1:28PM
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ginny12

My solution to this summer's garden woes has been my bad eyesight. When I stay inside and look out the windows, everything is fuzzy and green with fuzzy blobs of color. It's only when I actually am outside--as little as possible this broiling summer--that I see all the problems.

So if you wear glasses or contacts, take them off when you look at your garden--it will look like an Impressionist masterpiece.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 2:05PM
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lavender_lass(4b)

Liz- Have you thought of putting more trees in your yard? I don't know if the weather will go back to "normal" or not, but I did see an article about cottage gardening in California. With all the heat they have in the summer, the gal in the article had planted lots of shade trees on her property. This allowed here to have lots of roses and other cottage garden flowers that never would have survived in the direct sun.

Natal- I remember those hot humid summers and I don't miss them. One of the clearest memories I have of Arkansas (I was 6) is driving through the cotton fields to go from Blytheville Air Force Base to Blytheville. It was about a 20 minute drive and the heat was awful! Where do you think you want to move? We have beautiful summers in eastern Washington/northern Idaho and western Montana...but most people don't like the long winters. Western Washington and western Oregon are nice, but much cooler and more humid, but more rain than snow in the winters. I've always thought western North Carolina would be very nice (I love the opening to Last of the Mohicans) but I don't know what the weather would be like all year long.

Ginny- Excellent suggestion. That's why I like the pictures of my kitchen garden in the evening. The ones in the daytime show every weed! LOL

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 2:31PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

ginny, I actually have been taking my glasses off outdoors for brief periods to let the sunlight reach my eyes. It is supposed to help regulate your sleep cycle among other things, but it really does help you to see the garden in a 'new' way. [g]

Interesting information, Woody. It would be nice to at least hope that all of this is some flash in the pan kind of effect and not global warming marching on.

We had 10 inches of rain between April 1st and the 3rd week of August. Almost the entire growing season. Very unusual for us. We were lucky we did not have a watering ban for most of that time, but I had to water constantly just to keep everything from burning to a crisp. We have a lot of mature trees around the property. 15 in a small area all close to our lot line, so our property is normally dry when others are not. Even watering nearly every day, the trees would just suck all the moisture from everything else. I have two Viburnums that still lost 3/4 their foliage and what is left on them is brown and crispy. I don't even know if they will come back next year. Even the shady part of the garden is crispy. Astilbes are brown around the edges, even my Japanese Painted Ferns in some places have 1/2 the plant brown.

We did receive 5 inches of rain last week over 3 days. What a relief. I hope we will get a lot more rain this fall to make up for it before the plants have to go into winter.

Our eggplants had two flower buds that dropped and never produced one fruit. Barely had any growth on them. Beans had problems that I never have. The only thing that did well were peppers and basil. Tomatoes did okay, but I had some sort of foliage problem and had to pull two plants. I just sowed peas and hope it will be seasonal for them.

The full sun bed with drought tolerant plants did the best, with less watering than the rest of the garden. I think maybe because it is the one spot that is farthest away from the tree roots.

It is sobering though. If we have more of this kind of weather next year and beyond, there are more things that I can do to adapt. I'm already planning some changes. I don't normally mulch all of the beds that are closely planted with perennials because there isn't a lot of competition from weeds, but I think I am going to put down a thick layer of mulch next year. I'm also adding more drought tolerant shrubs to replace some of the perennials. I'm reviewing every plant with a critical eye to see if it's going to make the cut for next year.

Some plants did much better than others. Usually my Butterfly bushes are uneffected by heat. This year, they didn't perform as well. Flowers were smaller and the foliage was not as lush. Hardy Hibiscus did very well though. Barely noticed the dry, hot weather. Echinaceas gave one good flush of bloom, then no rebloom and the foliage is looking awful right now. Perovskia looked as good as ever. Asters are a mess. Rosa 'Julia Child' barely skipped a beat and bloomed well, foliage looked good, but it was in a container that was kept watered. Hydrangea barely bloomed at all. Clethra 'Hummingbird' looked great. Not a brown edge or yellow leaf on the bush. Azalea 'Girard's Purple' surprised me, planted around Mother's Day, it pushed out a nice healthy 2 inches of new growth that looked good all season. Ninebark 'Summer Wine' near the trees was brown and crispy and near the foundation of the house, with the same amount of watering, looks very good. Sedum 'Autumn Joy' looked as fresh and vigorous as it always does, but 'Purple Emperor' bleached out and 'Vera Jameson' is not looking as good as usual. Pennisetum 'Hamelin' looks better than usual, with a fair amount of watering. Salvia 'Purple Rain' with deadheading pushed out healthy looking foliage and bloom after bloom all season.

So, did anyone else have plants that performed well in spite of the heat/drought?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 3:09PM
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ghoghunter

Somewhere long ago I remember reading that as far as weather goes the most perfect place in the US was San Francisco...I have never been there so what do you think? I don't even remember where I heard it since I live on the East coast but it sounded like a wonderful gardening climate!
Joann

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 3:39PM
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natal(Louisiana 8b)

Lavender, we're interested in the southeastern Tennessee area along with North Carolina and Virginia, although I'm wondering if Virginia might be a little too far north. Don't want to trade a long, hot summer, for a long, cold winter. Looking for a bit of compromise.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 3:58PM
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midnightsmum (Z4, ON)

The coldest May day I ever spent was in SFO!! lol. I was on a cruise ship positioning from the Mexican Riviera to Alaska. It had been gorgeous May weather here, but I froze in San Francisco!! By the time the ship stopped in Victoria (Libbyshome territory) we all hit Eatons - like Macy's, to buy gloves and toques. They had packed them all away!!

I too have heard that North Carolina is near perfect. Also, San Diego. They say if Canadians didn't have the weather to complain about, we'd have nothing to talk about!!

I just came in from a little walkabout in the yard. The small shrubs along the roadway are a bit crunchy. I'd have thought that with the rain we've had, they've been OK, but the land there is not too rich. I hadn't really looked at them with glasses on...that's also how I avoid housework, too.

Nancy.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2010 at 4:28PM
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thinman(Z5 MI)

Here in northern lower Michigan it's been a good summer for gardening - hotter and more humid than I like, but mostly not unbearable, just uncomfortable. The AC units have been running a lot.

We've had a good amount of rain with the heat and most things are growing their fool heads off. Snapdragons and dahlias have been disappointing, especially since I have been growing the dahlias in a hoop-house (because last summer was so chilly). The dahlias have barely bloomed at all. I didn't realize that snaps liked it cooler, but apparently they do. Zinnias, rudbeckia, sunflowers, and various other annuals and veggies have done great. Still, I would like to have had a cooler summer, though I don't have much to complain about compared to some of you.

I was reading one of my grandsons a truck book the other day and on one page we saw a snowplow. I was a little startled to feel a sudden yearning for that weather. The hot weather must have addled my brain.

I think weather-wise we are in a situation where the unusual will become usual for a long time to come. I would love to be wrong about that.

ThinMan

    Bookmark   August 29, 2010 at 1:27PM
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