Sunday, September 19, 2010

The parched garden

One of my favorite classic movies is "Auntie Mame" and when looking at the garden this time of year, I always think of the scene where Brian O'Bannion, the ghostwriter hired to write Mame's memoirs, presents her with "a slim volume of his poetry entitled "The Parched Garden". I think it is funny but our actual garden is no laughing matter. I can't remember the last time we received any significant rainfall and although I'm trying to keep everything watered as best as I can, the water from the hydrant is no match for actual rainwater. 

Some plants do better than others in these dire conditions. The following is one that doesn't - a paniculata hydrangea. It is planted in an extremely dry and poor area anyway. It is a disgusting and disheartening photo.



I am very concerned about the following shrub, one that I searched high and low for. It is a tea viburnum (Viburnum setigerum) and has a gorgeous display of red berries in the fall. It is located in the dry shade area behind the garage, an area that could be called "the death trap". Only the exceptionally tough will survive here. I've been watering this shrub often but the leaves do not seem to be responding. If it survives, I am going to relocate it.



Hosta looks like it is really suffering but I know that it is tough and should be okay. This area was just watered three days ago.



This red buckeye tree (Aesculus pavia) would probably be happier in shady woods than in a sunny border. I often regret planting it because of the seedlings. It is lovely in the spring when it blooms.



Sad, sad phlox -



Today it is 97 degrees and it is September 19th! The last I heard, there isn't a good chance of rain in the near future. The weather forecast is too depressing to watch and the weather people really irk me at times. Last week, a local forecaster said that a band of showers were headed this way and would UNFORTUNATELY interfere with the football games. I sent him an ugly e-mail. It turned out the showers vanished before they reach us. I guess at least the football fans were happy! :(


 

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy

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22 comments:

Jan said...

We are suffering the same way except today it only got up to 90 degrees here. All I do is water, water, water, and my hydrangeas are wilting, too. I don't want to complain too much because this high pressure system, which is keeping us dry, also would keep away any hurricanes.

Jan
Always Growing

debsgarden said...

Here, the earth is dusty and leaves are falling crispy to the earth, without displaying autumn colors first. At least we had rain on and off through the summer, but I am hoping this won't last much longer. Times like this make me consider a sprinkler system, but with my large space it would cost a fortune!

Jeff Branch said...

You and I have just about the same post although you have a more interesting variety of burning up plants :) No rain the forecast for a week and like you say, I can't keep up all the watering that needs to be done. I have started to select which plants won't get water :( which I hate to do.

Cindy said...

Same scenario here ... hot, humid, and too dry. I remember last September & October and how I complained about the nearly constant rainfall ... in months that are typically our driest. But the plus side was that everything looked lush.

joey said...

I so wish you plentiful rain and a beautiful remains of September. You are not alone for even at best, the end of summer is a sad time for all gardeners :(

Pam said...

I feel your pain! My garden here in Baton Rouge is terribly stressed. We need rain, soon! Your photos look like they were taken in my yard. :)

Tim said...

We're dealing with the same thing in Atlanta. I spent the past couple of weeks in England, which only made it worse to come home to the crispy plants! Fortunately Chuck kept up with the watering while we were away, but it's become a game of choosing which ones to baby the most!

Gail said...

It's been a long awful summer. I cannot drag the hoses everywhere. It's bad in the SE and my understanding is that we can expect this kind of extreme weather from now on. Sigh! As soon as we plant xeric, it will flood~What are we to do? gail

~ Jackie said...

I don't want this to sound mean-spirited, but its nice to know that folks with beautiful gardens that usually leave me really green with envy have the same problems and pitfalls that I do. :)

Just keep a watchful eye and remember that plants that are stressed (heat, water issues, etc.) can easily fall prey to other problems because they are weakened. Hopefully, cooler weather is right around the corner, which should help. :)

Randy and Jamie said...

Phillip,
Our water bill has been running over a hundred dollars a month and our garden looks just as bad. We are keeping the plants alive, but they don't look healthy by any stretch. You are right there is no substitute for rain. We are also losing grass for the first time ever. I'm seeing dirt all over the yard where we use to have nice grass.-- Randy

Les said...

These could have been taken in my garden. I made myself late to work today because of watering. I just went out to hit a few things, but every time I turned around I saw yet another emergency.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I am feeling your pain Phillip. I could post some similar photos. It is most discouraging to the gardener. Let it rain out the ballgames I say. They need a break from this weather too. I had the privelege to meet a garden blogger friend from the UK this past week. She wanted to buy a plant for my garden as a gift. I wanted to say no because this is the worst drought ever and I have no idea if it will survive. When we planted it I let the hose run forever to try to moisten the ground around it. Like you say though the hose is no match for the rain. Hopefully it will get better.

Jean said...

Ugh, so sorry to see your garden that way. And it looks way too much like my garden. I was doing an inventory of the plants I have lost this year. It's not pretty. I keep thinking that surely the fall rains will come. Right???

scottweberpdx said...

Ugh...so sorry to see those sad pics :-( My partner loves watching my reactions to the local weather forecasters. I get SO mad when they talk about the awful, awful rain...and then with those stupid, brainless smiles of theirs tell us we're in for a treat next week, 98°! I want to punch them.

sweetbay said...

We are hot and dry here too, but it looks like you're suffering more than we are. The water pressure from our well is going down and I'm afraid to water anymore, so now it's down to survival of the fittest. I hope you get some rain soon!

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

I hope the skies open up sometime soon.

I know how beautiful your garden can look so it's just one of those years I guess. At least you can learn from the experience and have already made decisions as to what to move and where. Cheer up.

sandrajonas.com said...

Phillip, I so appreciate this post. I have been dragging hoses around for weeks and it seems to revive the plants somewhat but a few days later they are wilting again.
Right now my garden is brown & crunchy!!

Wayne said...

Well, here in Michigan, we've had a very hot, dry, summer. My ferns went dormant months ago, and many hostas burned up as well. I know from past experiences, they well come back again next year. The grass was as brown as I've ever seen it, but as soon as Labor Day hit, our weather turned cool with rain, and now the grass is as green as spring.

Darla said...

GEEZ, these photos hurt my heart...we haven't had rain in over 3 weeks ourselves...I do hope the crispy gems survive....

Jennifer said...

Well I was thinking that with my new job and less time right now I had singlehandedly blown the kiss of death on my garden! I have the same story..sporadic watering and crispy results. My stuff looks just like yours! If we can hang in it looks like cooler temps and rain are coming this weekend! I'm sick of this!!! Ditto on wanting to slap weather people!

Mary said...

I've been loosing daylily plants this summer that I've had for years esp. those that should have been divided last year. Seems like the larger clumps are just rotting from the inside out due to the heat. Even in this 100 degree heat I've been digging the most stressed ones up and moving to my theme garden area, UNA, Auburn, Deshler, All American, Pretty in Pink. I've been able to save most except one which was no where in site when I wanted to move it to my UNA section.

Eve said...

This was a tough year for the Alabama gardener Phillip! When I moved to Alabama last April it was a cool year and then it SNOWED!! And I blamed myself for bringing the snow with me! Did I bring the drought too??? I hope not!