Monday, August 2, 2010

Gardening against the odds: Part One...Mother Nature

A gardener's dilemma, the constant battle with critters and Mother Nature...a lesson in patience and perseverance.
The road to a beautiful garden, isn't easy, even for the most experienced gardener. If it's not torrential rain such as the northeast had in 2009 or the constant and never-ending heat of this year, coupled with no rain, then it's deer, rabbits, ground hogs, chipmunks, squirrels, snails and a dozen other critters that may see your garden as the buffet du jour.
This year the heat and drought we've been having in the northeast has been a challenge...for me, the additional challenge is I can't be constantly watering because I have a well and I have to dole out the water so I don't run my well dry. I have two 50 gallon rain barrels to help but even those aren't doing the job this's severe and devastating....plants are crispy, trees and shrubs are stressing. I have even lugged water from my dehumidifier and bath water to water that's a gardener's devotion. My usual beautiful garden has taken the hit and I will definitely lose plants this year but hopefully some of the most affected may actually live to bloom another day and year.
Personally I have a pecking order in a drought and heat situation...the first to get water are container plants, roses and astilbe, next the plants that are drooping, obviously in need of water and finally the woody plants and trees since they seem to weather the situations in the long run because of their size and root systems. My lawn doesn't even get a's all a matter of time before I replace it with new garden beds anyway. Usually I don't see large shrubs and trees showing much sign of being affected...this year is different.

This Rhododendron is shriveling up and no matter how much I water, it isn't having any affect on it, I just hope because of it's size and established root system, that it will survive and flourish again next year.

Astilbe are water and shade lovers so they are always a problem in a drought and heat situation but from my past experience even in this pathetic state, this once lush Astilbe will be back next year, unaffected by this years circumstances.

Unfortunately this Euphorbia will not be as lucky as the is doubtful it will survive. It went from beautiful to dead in the course of a couple days.

Some plants can bounce right back with a little water, such as this Abutilon...once it's watered it will just come back, and the difference can be dramatic...this plant has actually tripled it's size since spring, even while battling the lack of water and the heat.

Another plant that will dramatically bounce back with a little water is the Hydrangea though a few blooms may be lost, the plant will be back the next year as if nothing had happened.

This Spirea will be back but it will take some pruning and TLC to bring it back to health, I have no doubt it will survive, but it's size will be affected because a lot of dead wood will have to be pruned away.

Container plants are always a challenge in heat and a drought, they really need to be watered daily to not be affected and missing one day can result in the above...but since these are annuals, they have a limited shelf life anyway and for now, some water will bring them back to life, until the frost finally kills them.

Mother Nature is more than heat and drought situations...last year we had so much rain, my roses rotted before they could bloom. Earlier this spring, during some hurricane force winds, my wooden arbor was thrashed to such a degree, it broken in two and had to be replaced.  I've had trees fall on a garden squashing everything in sight. Gardening brings challenges and no one is immune. Please come back for the next installment on critters, cute and beautiful and fun to watch, but watch out...they can decimate a garden.

1 comment:

  1. O woe is me! My beautiful phlox was stripped naked today- I suspect a woodchuck or something similar. Pests are really wreaking havoc this summer- not to mention humidity/fungus/mold from lack of air circulation. Oh well...some plants will come back. I'm hopeful!