Ugh! One hundred degrees for the next couple days, and no rain in the forecast. Perhaps by the end of the week this short, overheated dry spell will end in thunderstorms, but for now the garden is parched. There is nothing unusual about the occasional drought in the summer, and it’s too soon for gardeners to fret, established trees and shrubs will tolerate more prolonged dry spells, but it is cause for vigilance in watching out for shallow rooted plants, mostly perennials, and for those planted earlier in the season.
I don’t have automatic irrigation in the garden, rarely put out a sprinkler, and there are a few perennials that suffer in the midday sun. Bigleaf hydrangeas commonly wilt when soil is dry and heat intense, usually recover in the evening, but the ground is so dry today that they’ll remain limp. A few more days and they might not recover.
I’m not concerned with the small areas of lawn, which have gone dormant and slightly brown with patches of green clover and ground hugging weeds that are more tolerant. The fescue lawn will green up when adequate ground moisture returns, but with the inauspicious beginning to summer I wouldn’t be surprised if that is not well into September.
I completed my short list of garden chores Saturday (relatively cool with mid-eighties), weeding and spraying the deer repellent on schedule on the first weekend of the month. I have had some trouble with coneflowers and perennial sunflowers that grew so quickly in the heat of June that most of the plants were unprotected by the spray from early in the month, and sure enough, deer found them and nibbled them back to the lower foliage that had been sprayed.
A few coneflowers (Echinacea) that border a stone patio and are protected by larger shrubs and granite boulders were not bothered, and they are blooming merrily along. The others that were damaged will flower later, as if they were pruned severely, so they must grow a bit and reset buds.
I was surprised that deer had eaten the succulent chartreuse leaves of a sweet potato vine that tumbles several feet over boulders into the large swimming pond (above and below). This annual grows prodigiously, but I did not expect that deer would be so brave as to risk tumbling into the water. It will recover quickly, and I’ll spray again at mid-month to prevent a recurrence.
After watering the sunny areas of the garden today the plants appear refreshed, but irrigation for an hour will provide only temporary relief and so I’ll be hoping for more generous rainfall later in the week.