Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Garden in Distress

This year had started out so promising:
lots of rain and just the right amount of sun.

And then the rains stopped.

Just like that.

Never in all of my years of gardening have I ever experienced a spring drought.
This is not good.  Especially since many of our plants are still trying to recover from the severe drought we had two years ago.

 Even the native echinacea are wilted.*

*Disclaimer: I only water plants in pots in normal years and trees in drought years.
A plant has to be tough to survive in my garden.  I don't pamper any of my plants.  They survive or they're out of here.  Given the fact that my main garden lies on a severe southern facing slope that consists of very shallow soil (read a thin dusting of soil over limestone), any rain that does fall, either runs off immediately or doesn't stay around long.  

The best I can do is to build up the soil, but that takes time.
There is no magic bullet in gardening, folks.
Since I do have such adverse growing conditions in my garden, I have made a conscious effort to grow more native plants that are naturally suited to this climate and its quirks.

That certainly doesn't exempt them from feeling the pain in extreme weather, though.

 The dreaded Japanese beetles have hit with a vengeance.

They have practically denuded some of my roses.

 The goose neck loosestrife is severely wilted.

 It's looking sad.

 No, this isn't snow, this is grass.  It's dead grass.

Just a couple of days into summer.


At least we won't need to mow.

Hey, do you know how bad a drought is?

When even the weeds stop growing!

Yep, we're there.

 The butterfly bush out front is very unhappy.

 All right, I admit it.  We've been watering the hydrangea.

But with blooms this pretty, do you blame me?

As I said, we have been watering the pots.

The bush beans have been doing well and we got our first harvest this week.

Haricot verts.  Or young green beans.

Very tasty.

I planted four tomato plants in two large pots this year and we are being overrun with tomatoes.
We have already harvested our first tomatoes of the season.

Oh, and that greenhouse window to the right of the tomato plants?
I bought that off a neighbor at a garage sale for $5.  I plan to use it for a greenhouse for my potted herb plants to extend the growing season.

 But even in these darkest of times, there is life in the garden.

 A tiger swallowtail has been busy feeding on the butterfly bushes.

 As has a bumblebee.

 This guy proved a bit more elusive to photograph.

The Eastern black swallowtail.

Please remember when you water your gardens to also leave out sources of water for the insects and the birds, especially in times of drought. 


Rosie Hawthorne said...

Sorry to see all the dryness, but lovely butterfly pics.

Wonder Schwermin said...

Good for you and your water conservation. It makes me crazy to see all the water wasted on keeping lawns green. Grass is hardy. It will come back.

Marilyn said...

Thanks, Wonder Schwermin. I've always thought it to be the height of idiocy and almost a sin to water a lawn in times of drought. As you pointed out, grass grows back, and at worst can be cheaply sown again. I worry about the trees. You know, those long term, expensive and stately landscaping items? But what do I know?

While I was out of town this weekend, I read the online newspaper and learned that we are being asked to conserve water. Not because the lake is low, but because the water pumps are running hot and are in danger of burning out. So stop watering your lawns, people!

Stay tuned for my post on West Baden Springs and how they are handling the drought. Hint: D+

Anonymous said...

We are under a water conservation order, too. Our county is in a state of drought, in spite of being adjacent to the Chesapeake Bay. You are right, though, grass does grow back.

vera charles