Too much of a good thing?

No doubt, there can be too much of a good thing, but following a late summer drought the gardener is unlikely to complain that he has not seen the sun for a week. Several times through the weekend I looked out the kitchen window, hoping for the next wave of dark clouds to bring more rain. But, if the rain continues into a second week, this is another matter, and the gardener will voice his discontent loudly and often.

The flowering of Encore Autumn Carnation azalea is as heavy as in spring. Other Encore azaleas flower more sporadically, but not Carnation, at least this year.

The flowering of Encore Autumn Carnation azalea is as heavy as in spring. Other Encore azaleas flower more sporadically, but not Carnation, at least this year.

After several days, and inches of rain, the garden has perked up considerably. Even the small sections of lawn have greened up, though clover and ground ivy threaten to crowd out the fescues. It would hardly bother me if the lawn died completely, and this could be a good excuse to turn the entire property to garden. But, I’m certain my wife wouldn’t agree, she complains that there is already too much garden.

Bloomstruck hydrangea flowered through the summer, but cooler temperatures promoted more buds that will flower until frost.

Bloomstruck hydrangea flowered through the summer, but cooler temperatures promoted more buds that will flower until frost.

In this part of the country, October is the time trees begin to turn, or if there has been an extended drought the leaves might drop without changing color at all. Despite the late dry summer, only the huge beech has dropped significant leaves, and this is not too unusual since it is often dry in late summer and leaves of the beech regularly cover the front garden in September.  It seems that the changing of foliage colors is coming along more slowly than usual, and despite annual forecasts that it will be a poor season for autumn foliage, the dogwoods and Japanese maples are quite dependable. Sooner or later they will turn, and they will be as splendid as any year.Satomi dogwood in November

Many perennials are beginning their decline into dormancy, though temperatures have not been cold enough for frost. I expect that some part of this is due to the dry conditions, and while the recent rains greened things up, it was most beneficial in relieving the stress that can cause problems if plants are too dry going into winter.

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3 thoughts on “Too much of a good thing?

  1. Dave…..here in N. Virginia, when do the buds begin to form on hydrangeas? Methinks I might have missed my scheduled spraying of deer repellent, as my hydrangeas have not bloomed this year, and I can see deer nibbled leaves at the ends of new shoots.

    • Flower buds on mophead hydrangeas begin to form almost immediately after flowering. With recent introductions that are reblooming (such as Endless Summer) this means they will flower in late spring on buds that were formed the year before, and then they will flower again on new growth in summer and autumn. A hydrangea that has not flowered this year is either in too much shade or it is one of the older, non-reblooming types and the flower buds were injured over the winter.

      Deer will certainly nip the tops of hydrangeas. I’ve stretched my deer repellent spraying a bit too long and deer have eaten branch tips of several hydrangeas, but they’re starting new flower buds just above where they were pruned.

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