What my flowers think about the weather (pics)

tigerdawn(7)July 3, 2011

I have taken pictures of my flowerbeds and evaluated how the plants are handling the summer. Keep in mind I water at least once a week. The categories are:

1. What? We're in a drought?

2. I'd like some water please, thanks.

3. Why don't you just pull me up and compost me already!!

So here we go. The zinnia is definitely not phazed. The birdseed plants behind it seem to feel the same way. Category 1.

Cosmos: category 1

From left to right: Ajuga, Helleborus, Volunteer Morning Glory, Solomon's Seal: category 1

Last fall's kale, morning glories in the sun, last fall's pansies, angelonica (sp?), and daisy foliage. Most seem to be in category 2, but the kale, pansies, and morning glory volunteers are about to give up I think.

This bed is fun. In category 1 we have CRABGRASS!!!! Also, the prickly pear, yew, mums, and unknown purple thing. Category 2 includes the Shasta Daisies. Category 3 has the Orange Symphony Osteospermum and what's left of the pansies. I'm not sure if I should go ahead and dig up the Orange Symphony and try to revive it or cut it back and leave it in the ground.

The Datura seems to be unphased. I'm going to have to move this monster next season. Last night it put on the biggest show yet. The things in pots are mostly category 2.

Rose of Sharon, category 2. Leaves on all the RoS bushes are ok, but the flowers are few and small.

The poor redbud was buffeted by wind all spring and now heat and drought. It's hanging on pretty well considering. Category 2.

White butterfly bush. I just got it this year. It isn't blooming but otherwise Category 1

Brown Turkey fig, planted this spring. Category 2. I never thought you could get too hot for a fig.

Daylilies, category 1-2 depending on where they are planted

Snow Hill Salvia, category 1. This is a picture from when it was still in bloom. Now it needs to be deadheaded but it is probably 1/3 bigger than this picture. I am constantly impressed with this plant.

I really hope this is not our new normal. But thanks to this forum, I've got lots of options if we do end up hot and dry forever!

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joellenh(6b Jenks)

Tigerdawn, beautiful pics. I am so glad to see more landscaping options that dowell in this CRAZY heat.

I love your Datura. My figs (Chicago cold hardy) all seem to be lush and healthy despite very infrequent watering. They were planted last fall. My two daylillies are very yellow and forlorn looking, yours are gorgeous!


    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 2:27PM
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I've definitely had some surprises with the plants this year. The Rose of Sharon are pretty limp, with sparse and drooping foliage and about half the blossom they would normally have.
One of the hibiscus is sadly wilted, as is one of the hydrangeas, in spite of trying to keep them watered. I suspect I may have a gopher lurking under the mulch. Two other hydrangeas (you can see one of them in the upper right in this photo) seem to be fine, and another hibiscus is taking the situation much more in stride.
The peonies don't seem to mind it a bit. They are full and lush.

The little malva fastigata (to the left in this photo) are all still alive, but have quit blooming. The small ones out in the sun are struggling, and I don't know if I'll be able to save the perennial gypsophilla or not.

The young spiderwort that are in the shade appear to be fine, but the parent that's out in the sun is a disaster. Too ugly to even photograph. The little Buddleia Bicolor is all but dead, along with the annual dahlias and acorn squash. Even the lemon cucumbers are sparse, wilted and really struggling. The annual portulaca and purslane appear to be just fine. The big patch of monarda has quit blooming and was not very showy this year. I only got a brief burst of bloom and then it was gone, but it's still alive.

The new perovskia "Longin' appears to be okay, as is the white sage, and the hosta in the shade are the biggest surprise. They seem to be taking it in stride, right along with the Virginia creeper and morning glory that I keep trying to control around them.

Even the azaleas that are in the shade seem to be handling it pretty well. The coreopsis seems fine, but is in serious need of deadheading.

The big bearded iris are trucking right along, which is no surprise, and all the daffodils, narcissus, and Dutch iris were fine, but I tried putting in some crocosmia and they promptly all turned brown and shriveled before blooming. I'll try moving them if I can whack my way down into the clay soil, and hope for better luck next year.

I think this is going to be a very educational year, all around. I was seriously impressed with the drought tolerant things that cactusgarden has put in, and will need to rethink my own garden for next year if this is going to continue.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 2:35PM
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At least you have something to take pictures of.

I will try to allow my garden and outside plants 100 Gal. per day and see how they do. If that does not work the list will be cut shorter.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 2:46PM
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Larry, I have an (unfinished) drip system installed, with little spinner spray heads on it, so I can control the amount of water loss. They are rated for about 10 gph and I have them set down low, about 5-6" off the ground, so it doesn't all just evaporate. It's working for some of the plants, but not for others, so I'll have to revise it. I'm just glad I didn't get it all finished and buried before I found that my mulch is not working. The whole mess has to be taken up and replaced (all 1700 sq ft of it!) if I want any hope at all of controlling the weeds. Maybe then I can cut my battle zone down to just the 75' of edge that is up against the fence.


    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 3:11PM
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Thank you, Tigerdawn. I've always wondered what that is in my yard. Rose of Sharon, you said. I happen to have three beautiful well-aged blue chiffon rose of sharon in my yard. OK OK .. it's my garden. I guess I can call them mine since I'll be pruning them. Your garden is bootiful. I can't even imagine have half of this nice stuff.

YA'LL KEEP SAYING "IF THIS CONTINUES". Please tell me it's not cuz .. I DON'T WANNA. LOL


    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 7:02PM
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I did some reading yesterday and it looks like this will NOT be the new normal. It may continue through next year but it is just as likely that we'll return to cooler and wetter conditions too. Basically, the La Nina that is causing the hot and dry is moving to a more normal pattern. But, our low soil moisture will prevent cool and wet for the rest of this year. Soil moisture apparently feeds on itself so it you're already dry, the sun can't evaporate anything to make it cooler or make it rain so you stay hot and dry. But! This is just the hot and dry part of our normal oscillation so in a year or two we should get cooler and wetter again.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 1:19PM
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That's pretty good news, even if it isn't going to help us for this year. At least OK does have a huge number of lakes and ponds that might help contribute to the moisture, although the ones near us are drying up all too quickly to suit me. There's a back-water pond off of Twin Lakes that used to take up about an acre of space, but it is completely empty now. Still muddy in places, but no water.

Did the report say anything at all about our rainfall levels for the next rainy season, or can we expect it to be below normal for the next 18 months or so?

I just walked out to check the flower border and found one of the hydrangeas almost completely collapsed. I hope that getting some water on it will be enough to revive it, since it has some shade protection. The hibiscus are all drooping, so they will be next.

I've also noticed that the peppers in the garden have tough thin walls and are not nearly as meaty as they should be, and the lemon cukes are shriveling up on the vines. . . which are also shriveling up. I've never seen that happen until now, and I've grown peppers and cukes in really hot climates.


    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 3:37PM
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