Death Valley

Pallida(Zone 7b)July 5, 2011

I was born and raised in Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, a pleasant little town with tree-lined streets, friendly neighbors and the county seat of Garvin County. I moved to OKC in adulthood, lived there for about 45 yrs. then moved back to Garvin County, South of Wynnewood onto a small acreage, atop a windy hill with soil that could be used to pave interstates. I have been struggling ever since to adapt and garden. I grow only heat and drought-tolerant plants (when I discovered it takes a pick-axe to break up the soil), and this year, even THEY are stressed. I am soaker-hosing most every day, every day, if it is windy (HA). I am seriously beginning to consider Cactusgarden's take on landscaping. I just checked the projected temps. for today, and it is supposed to be 106* in my area! How can you keep things alive in this kind of weather? Therefore, I am changing Pauls Valley's name to Death Valley, as of today! I have NEVER seen it this hot in all my years in South-Central Oklahoma! This just ain't normal. Sure makes one respect our forefathers who settled this land before shelterbelts, Walmart and AC's!!!!!!!


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A pick-axe, huh? That's not a bad idea. I was going to see if I could find an ice pick next time I went to Lowe's, but if I can do it without accidentally swinging the hammer at my hand and fingers I'll try it! I was going to buy a dirt fork, too, but somehow I doubt that will be good enough on its own.

My lilacs look downright terrible right now. I really should have done more research before planting them here.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 11:49AM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

NORMALLY, Lilacs do fine in zone 7. My perennials bloomed early this year and already are going to seed. I usually look forward to Spring and Summer, but this year, looking forward to Autumn. Hopefully, it will cool down a little by then!


    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 1:14PM
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I'm sorry, really truly...but I laughed! I laughed, only because this year is SO ridiculous and there's really not much left to do BUT laugh..and come back to try again next year!
Seriously, though...we should take up a compost collection for you to get that soil whipped into shape (!)


    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 1:26PM
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Maybe that's what is going on with my rose of sharon too. I could have sworn that it wasn't supposed to bloom until August from what I read, but it has been blooming for the last month or so. I planted it with forsythias, viburnums, and chaste trees (vitex) along a border thinking I'd have at least one of them blooming through the whole growing season, and instead it's blooming in lock step with the chaste trees.

I hope you're right about the lilacs. Half the things I read about them raved about how easy and carefree they are to grow, and that is not my experience with them so far.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 1:27PM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

AMEN on the compost! Sure hope next year gives us a chance to bounce back!
With things going to seed so soon, it is going to be a drab Summer.
It is way too hot to plant anything, if not for the plants, it is for ME.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 2:06PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

But Jeanie, you're not in the valley. You're on a hill! lol I am grinning as I type that. Around here, people with acreage give their property a know, something pretty like "Pecan Valley" or "Cedar Ridge" or "South Wind". Maybe you could name yours "Death Hill".

Our property kind of came with a name of its own, althought we had no idea at the time. I learned the name of it when I found "our" creek on a detailed county map during the wildfire year of 2005-2006. Had I known the name when we bought the property, I likely wouldn't have planted some of the plants I spent time planting, watering and then watching them die the first 3 or 4 years here. Our place is a low-lying creek hollow in the Red River Valley. The name of the creek? Dry Hollow Creek. Gee, had I known that in the beginning, I would have known hostas and hydrangeas wouldn't survive our summers no matter what I did in terms of soil amendment and watering. Live and learn.

Still, I'm happy none of us are living in Death Valley, California, where the forecast high for today, per Weather Underground, is a cool 108 but later in the week is 115 to 117.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 2:48PM
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Jeanie, I fully agree that this is a horrible year. My pastures are all crunchy and we're going to be faced with buying feed. I imagine the market for livestock is going to bottom out pretty soon, when ranchers have to begin to feed them to keep them alive because the grazing is all gone. I never thought I'd wish for a western-style wheel irrigation system, but this year is enough to bring it to mind. Our well seems to be holding up so far, but I'm nervous about it. I can't risk running it dry by watering lawns and pasture except in an emergency.

The Rose of Sharon is all sparse and shriveled looking, half its normal size, and I'm afraid I've lost one young maple tree completely. The hydrangeas are still alive, but I'm afraid they are so stressed that they won't come back until next year. Yesterday they were all but lying flat on the ground. The young lilacs seem to be hanging in there, and the wild polyantha roses seem to be okay, but the tea roses are a mess. The hibiscus are not happy campers and seem to have quit blooming as well as being limp. I completely lost the annual dahlias, and may have lost all the young perennial baby's breath I set out recently. It's usually pretty drought tolerant, but the root systems were not large enough to make it through this heat, in spite of watering, Even the zonal geraniums have quit blooming.

I just came in from watering the cantaloupe, which I hate to do in the middle of the day, but it was so limp that I had to do something. I have a soaker running in the wilted strawberry bed while I'm writing this. Even the leaves on the pepper plants are hanging limp.

Someone mentioned that this La Nina effect can go on for another year? I swear, next year I'm going to put in the veggie garden in western raised hill and trench style, so I can flood irrigate; start the water at one end and let it flow to the other. I already have a big V-shaped hoe, so it makes the job fast and easy. I can only hope that deep watering every few days will make the roots go deeper and be more effective. I've used the method in west coast areas that have summers like this every year, so I can only hope. It's infinitely cheaper than buying enough soaker hose to do the job, and putting in a drip system for the veggies is out of the question. I may even put in modest trenches around the roses so I can really soak them.

I agree that it's way too hot to stay out there for very long. I've hit a point where I only go out and do minimal weeding and enough watering to try to keep things alive. If I didn't already have a drip system in my flower bed, I don't know what I'd do. Lose a whole big bunch of plants, probably.


    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 2:54PM
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Pat; I completely understand. I have my cucumbers and portions of the squash and all of my seedings, cabbage, brussels and cauliflower in permanent shade.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 4:10PM
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