simultaneous flowering/drought

plants4chris(7)June 16, 2007

Has anyone seen a crazier year for weather in this area?

Yesterday I noticed that a couple of my perreniels, Russian Sage and Caryopteris, are already flowering. I may be wrong of course, but I could swear they usually don't flower until August.

As I was thinking about this, I remembered that back in the super-hot spring (before the Easter freeze) many varieties of flowers came into bloom before they would be expected to. In other words later bloomers were blooming alongside earlier bloomers. I read about it somewhere or other and it was being called "simultaneous flowering". Looking at it in retrospect, after the freeze it seemed like the plants had precognition of the drastic temperatures to come!

I know that there have been storms around Eastern TN here and there. But they have all managed to miss my little piece of heaven here about 25 miles north of Chattanooga and my ground has turned to dust and even the weeds are dieing. So in other words, the weather has not really been normal since winter as far as I can see.

Which brings me back to my Russian Sage and Caryopteris. I am wondering if this phenomenon referred to as "simulataneous flowering" is going on again now.

Is anybody noticing strange things going on in their gardens and yards due to all this back-to-back nutty weather? Or have I just lost track of the months again? :-))))


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ladybug37091(z7 Tennessee)

Oh yeah, it is a crazy year alright. This is the worst year I can remember. I have weathered droughts before but the severe drought after the freak freeze really blistered my property. I am just trying to keep things alive here not thriving just living to see another year. I have crepe myrtles that died to the ground. I see people posting about fall planting and I am blown away. It is costing a fortune just to keep things alive now. There will be no fall crop for me this year. You could fit a pack of cigarettes in the cracks of my lawn. Rhonda

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 9:40AM
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Hi, Chris. I'm half-way between Chattanooga and Nashville, near I-24, and we've had less than 1/8 inch rain in over two months! It's bad when the weeds start dying, along with yarrow, bee balm, and I swear, some of my flowers have just melted away!
Just when you think it can't get worse, the Japanese beetles are baaaaaccckkkk!! :(

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 2:09PM
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tngreenthumb(z6 TN)

Well...maybe the little buggers will starve to death and break the cycle this year.

Trying real hard to find that silver lining here....

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 5:45PM
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Ha! tngreenthumb is an optimist! It's my thinking that those evil japanese beetles will be munching away long after we are gone! I'm coddling my roses along, trying to keep them alive and the stinkin' things are eating them faster than I can keep up.

We are not the only ones in dire straits. I have family in Western NY and in Indiana. Every time I talk to them lately it's the same temperature there as it is here! And just about as dry. Remember when it used to get cooler the further north you went?

We had a thunderstorm this afternoon. It's the first one that has actually dropped a little rain on us. We have been missed by any others that were nearby... just thunder to taunt me!

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 6:45PM
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We got (and this is an optimistic measurement) a whopping 1 inch of rain between last night and into today... now it's MUGGY...

I saw a Japanese Beetle yesterday -- and snorted at the little heathen because he was having to forage on weeds in the "formal garden", which I did not plant this year (everything started from seed in the winter was killed by the freeze in April since they had all been moved outside, and the second sowing/planting gave up to the heat and drought following that - so no garden to speak of this year. Due to another thread, I'm trying to be optimistic about some Fall gardening) and is essentially nothing but weeds - not even a single volunteer tomato plant out there!

Crepe Myrtle? Ha! The one that has been on this property for 18+ years... I haven't seen a single new leaf form on it yet. I haven't cut it down yet, I am waiting - hoping that maybe there's some life left in it deep down underground... but if I don't see anything by the end of the year, it's on the removal list. I've felt fortunate that the Oaks and other hardwoods did manage to recover. The blueberry bushes are struggling to put out new growth, so I'm watching and waiting - so that once they show me what parts are dead and what parts are alive, I can begin cutting out the dead wood. If I had done it sooner, I would have cut living wood, so I'm glad I procrastinated on that now. There will be no berries this year though. None.... zip, zilch, nadda, zero.

Roses? Three out of four Angel's Face I am assuming are dead. I'm glad I didn't pay a fortune for them, but it still breaks my heart. The one out of four is struggling to produce one new shoot. It's a sad state of affairs.

I did see some surprises in the early, uncannily warm Spring - what could qualify as "simultaneous flowering", but for the most part, those plants ended up dying later (or are presumed dead). Yet, irises that should have bloomed - didn't - they have clung onto strictly foliar growth.

And yet, there are some "small" 'miracles' for me this year that I just "discovered" yesterday. While I had spent the last approximately 8 years trying to transplant divisions of an incredibly productive Saint John's Wort plant from the place where I used to live in Alabama, each time the multiple divisions/transplants failed. I didn't feel hard-pressed on the matter because I had assurances from the landowners and subsequent residents that my plants (more than just the SJW) were going to remain undisturbed there and were welcomed and would be allowed to continue self-propagating. On Saturday I went there, and while I was there for other reasons, I went to check on the plants. "Someone" had had the great idea of doing a major "yard clean-up" there, which is all fine and well - it needed it. You know, things like junk cars and the like removed. But of the multiple people there aware of my plants, and those very same people assuring me - even promising me, that they would be fine and guarded... I thought I was going to throw up even as I held back tears to discover that the plants were no more. If they had just been cut back, I probably wouldn't have had the reaction that I did, but this went beyond being cut back. If there are any roots still in the ground that any of those plants can return from, I'd be surprised. There was a hyacinth that was irreplaceable... and it's gone... the SJW... which I had told the current residents if they wanted (the last time I spoke to them about it because I was planning to dig more divisions) - since they are also experiencing the lack of employment situation - they could dig and sell divisions. There was enough there to pay all of the bills for two households for at least a month and that was at an under-market value price for more than ample plants. I held off on digging any divisions because they appeared interested in doing just that in order to pay the bills, and I was assured of the remaining mother plant for my own divisions. To see it all ripped out... was devastating to me. Pleasant conversation went south/sour real fast... while I was disappointed, disheartened, etc. I certainly didn't expect to be cussed out by one of the people that had promised to safeguard the plants. It was a BAD day. The point in sharing all of THAT? Yesterday I discovered in the "formal garden", right before I snorted at the Japanese Beetle, that despite the trials of drought last year, 2, possibly 3, of the 4 or 5 divisions of SJW that I had transplanted out there in 2006 had not only survived, but at least two were thriving. The possible third is just a wee thing. I did cry when I saw those... cried in sheer joy and felt blessed. Can't help but feel with all of the former transplant-failures, that there was a Guardian Garden Angel overlooking things and knew what was to come and insured that those particular transplants "took". In addition to the SJW, while I have spent years (literally) trying to grow Bells of Ireland from seed with no success, I have ONE plant that is out there. It never grew or even appeared to have germinated last year and I sowed a lot of seed. I was disgusted about it of course. I think maybe, just maybe, it was that lasting hard freeze in April that might have provided just the trigger that one seed needed - while it is very short, it's blooming itself silly out there. It was the second small miracle for me. The third? I dug up a type of Hyssop last year from the same area and put it into a pot, which went on the soil surface in a larger pot - and remained there all winter and spring - staying green - it was great. :) But, when I went to move the smaller pot that it was in, I discovered its roots had gone through into the soil in the larger pot - and in pulling those free combined with the heat, it looked like that hyssop was a goner. A couple of weeks and mostly shade and watering and there appeared to be one bit of new growth... but it wasn't out of the woods yet. But while I was out there in the garden being thrilled about the SJW and the BoI... lo and behold, while I had dug all KNOWN hyssop, more must have germinated much later because there's more growing there now AND blooming!

So, as nutty and not-nice as the weather has been, I'm seeing that at least some seeds and plants still have tricks up their figurative sleeves. It's not a lush landscape or anything, but those little spots of surprises sure help to make the bigger scene less depressing. Well, that and reaffirms a greater interest (if not necessity in some cases) in container gardening. :)

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 11:48PM
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Hermit that is one sad story about the SJW. It's so hard to move when you've put so much sweat and caring into the plants on your land. I've been there. Especially something like SJW... that's an endangered native isn't it? I was glad when the ending was a happy one (or relatively so). One of the biggest fascinations for me about plants is that it's just constant magic, surprises and learning.

I live in the woods and when the Easter freeze ruined the oaks and hickories I was just sick. I could not imagine that they could recover. It was hardest on the really huge old ones. When I finally saw new leaves emerging among the dead brown ones hanging pitifully from the branches I was thrilled and shocked both. And with this draught going on, it's like a miracle to see them every day still hanging on even after that freeze. How much more stress can they take?

I seem to be faring better than some with my garden plants. One reason might be that I am watering all the time. I'm very lucky to have well-water. If I was paying city water prices, I would probably have to take out a second mortgage to pay the bill or let the plants die. I've tried to use plants that will do well in the conditions nature gives them here, (with the exception of my roses) but nature is unpredictable. But as you pointed out it's also full of miracles too.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2007 at 6:42AM
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utdeedee(7A-East Tennessee)

I am between Knoxville/Oak Ridge, it's dry, hot and like everyone elses yard, the grass is dead, weeds are dying, trees are weepy.....We've had some sparadic showers but not enought to help but wet the plants a little....
My three Crepe Myrtles were hurt in the late freeze, but, luckily the have new leaves but no blooms. So, I am happy they are still alive. I'm sorry others have lost theirs. A friend of mine may have lost 4, still no leaves two weeks ago and last week she trimmed them back hoping....
Maybe some showers today, let's hope!

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 4:42PM
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