The dry garden in a dry summer

Curse you. I don’t want to hear that the storm that veered north a few days ago dumped an inch and a half of rain on your garden. This was two days after you had another half inch that came so close, but scooted north of here at the last moment. A few storms the same week split just when it seemed rain was inevitable, to move both north and south, teasing with a few raindrops, but then, nothing.

Many Encore azaleas are just beginning to flower. Blooming will continue through September and often into October.

Many Encore azaleas are just beginning to flower. Blooming will continue through September and often into October.

You say your grass is green. Not that I care much about the lawn, but mine looks like straw. If not for the nutgrass, that grows in wet or dry, there would be no need to kick up the dust to mow it.

Certainly, you’ve complained about summer drought as much as I have over the years. I don’t know if I’d be happier if we were all in this together, but at least it wouldn’t seem that Mother Nature is conspiring against me. As dry as it is at my place, I’m overjoyed just to see a dark cloud that might bring only enough rain to keep the dust down. I watch the forecast, then the sky, but it does no good except to aggravate me.

The variegated liriopes are flowering. Just behind is Chocolate Joe Pye weed, that will flower in two or three weeks.

The variegated liriopes are flowering. Just behind is Chocolate Joe Pye weed, that will flower in two or three weeks.

The gardener understands risks inherent when he plants a garden without irrigation, and has no plans to drag hoses across the lot in summer. In this acre of garden there’s too much ground to cover, and too many obstructions to even consider setting out sprinklers. I’ve done this for one spot or another a time or two over  the years, but now there’s not enough hose, and as long as plants are not dying off I won’t be motivated to put in the effort. Fortunately, rarely is the lack of irrigation a big concern since droughts in this part of the world seldom last for long, but when leaves of the red Horse chestnut begin to wilt there are bound to be second thoughts on the matter.

Peak flowering for toad lilies is mid to late September, but there are abundant flowers this last day in August.

Peak flowering for toad lilies is mid to late September, but there are abundant flowers this last day in August.

Nothing’s been lost as far as I’ve seen, and few plants are looking as desperate as I think they should. Of course, the gardener does not expect spring lushness after a hot and dry August, and in a dry garden there’s a bit of a survival of the fittest mentality. I’ve long forgotten most of the perennials that were ill suited to my neglect. There are plenty that do just fine through the heat of summer without any attention. Still, all will be happier with cooler temperatures and a rainy day or two.

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2 thoughts on “The dry garden in a dry summer

  1. I had a weak smile on my face as I read this, as I could have written the same thing. Here in southern New Hampshire, we are officially in an “extreme drought” – the highest category of drought there is. I, too, have watched weather radar fronts approach, and then either evaporate, or split in two and go around us. It’s almost unbelievable.

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