Six on Saturday – 20AUG2022 – Survival Mode

The somewhat annoying thing about summer storms these days is you can track individual clouds, or a line of clouds, on a weather site and think you’ll finally get some much needed rain, only to have the cloud, or line of clouds, shift a few kilometres south, or north, or east or west, leaving a neighbouring village inundated but depositing only a few drops on rain on your own, parched, garden. That’s what happened here on Thursday. Heavy sigh. If I was a tourist I’d be loving this hot sunny summer, able to spend every day at the beach or by the pool. As a gardener, I’ve almost depleted the close to 3,000 litres of water stored in rain barrels and butts, measuring out meager amounts every few days to my raised vegetable beds, a few containers with ornamentals and a handful of trees and shrubs planted in the spring. Fingers crossed that the rain currently forecast for tomorrow and Monday actually does show up!

Every Saturday, The Propagator encourages gardeners around the world to share six things that are happening in their garden. So I’ll stop whining now in order to celebrate a few things in my garden that have, so far, survived.

I think this hardy Hibiscus must have grown very deep roots because here it is, even though they’re supposed to need moist soil.

In the same bed as the Hibiscus are five Dahlias, three of which are finally blooming. I mulched them deeply after planting but have watered them just twice this summer. The results are very short plants and very few blooms. The big white one is Fleurel – my plant is barely two feet high and has just a single bloom so far. The other one is the gorgeous and gorgeously named Ferncliff Tropics.

One of the containers I’ve kept watering is on the porch; it holds Purple Pineapple Lily bulbs – Eucomis. This pot started with just one bulb many years ago, and it’s multiplied since then, sending up a record eight flower spikes this year. In mid September I’ll stop watering it and let the leaves die back, before storing it (pot with bulbs in situ) in a paper bag in the basement for the winter.

Another pot I’ve kept watered sits out in the garden, and holds a King Tut ornamental grass (Cyperus papyrus ‘King Tut’) surrounded by sweet Allysum I started from seed. The grass is, of course, more of an aquatic plant so it needs watering every day just to survive. It’s also proven quite resilient, bouncing back after an ambitious rabbit jumped into the pot early in the summer and ate back all but one ‘blade.’

One of my raised beds started the season with a few rows of radishes. They were really happy there and we were able to add them to many salads in the early summer. I left one in place, more of an oversight than planned, and after it started to bolt decided to let it flower and collect seeds. This is what it looks like now, more like a turnip than a radish, with loads of seed heads forming.

I’ll end today’s SIx with a beautiful yet sad sight. I have a patch of Turtlehead (Chelone lyonii – not the more native, white Chelone glabra) that I brought from my previous garden many years ago. That garden was in a yard in the city with unlimited water coming miraculously from a spigot at the side of the house. I can’t water it here so it’s not terribly happy, even though the patch spreads a bit every year. Just one stalk has bothered to produce flower buds this year.

Hope your weekend isn’t sad!

26 Comments

  1. It’s true that as tourists we had a nice weather in Quebec. There was a night of rain and a big storm but over 15 days that’s all. ( You live in a great country !)
    I understand your feeling by the lack of rain, what there is here. My radishes have gone up in flowers, like carrots and I have a lot of things to dig up like lettuces or sorrel. Very pretty well flowered hibiscus

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  2. Good morning Chris, I think you have a wonderful selection of flowers. The Hibiscus is a lovely colour. Nature does what it does and we can only try to work with it. We had a short burst of rain and I was out it in emptying pots into buckets and watering cans to save as much water as I could. I expect it raised my ‘madness’ factor in the eyes of some of my neighbours.

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  3. I do hope you get that rain Chris, to save the weekend. The same has happened to us. We were forecast torrential rain for two days and have got intermittent light drizzle which has just dampened the surface of the soil. Not far from us are floods! Your dahlias did well for having no water, and the Hibiscus is really pretty. Amazing how some plants seem to survive while others give up.

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  4. There’s a spot across Galveston Bay that’s informally known as “Umbrella Point.” It experiences the same phenomenon: rain all around, but none there — consistently. Our pattern finally has changed, and with luck yours will, too. We had two inches of rain the past two days, and more widespread rain is coming in the next week.

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    1. Since I was a boy listening to Glen Campbell I’ve wanted to visit Galveston…. Your coming rain is part of a hurricane though, according to the news, ?? 2 inches is about 50 mm, I think, and the weather channel says up to 30 mm here over the next few days…fingers crossed!

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      1. No, we’re several hundred miles to the north of where that tropical system was located. Ours is complements of a standard low pressure system, fronts, etc. In fact, the ‘hurricane’ never even reached tropical storm status. It dissipated, and now is inland in Mexico. From the National Hurricane Center: “Potential Tropical Cyclone #Four Advisory 6: Disturbance Has Moved Inland Over Northeastern Mexico and The Chance For Development Has Ended. ” Forecasting’s an art!

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  5. I am a constant radar watcher and a lot of rain just never gets here. It is frustrating. I think some of the hibiscus are pretty tolerant of drought. Yours looks wonderful as do the Dahlias. There is an ancient red hibiscus here that gets no water and is flowering.

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    1. I went out yesterday and snipped off a bunch of side flower buds, hoping to let the dahlias focus on a few blooms rather than a lot. That, plus the big batch of green and yellow showing on the weather radar heading our way (😁) gives me hope…

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  6. I’ve decided to ignore those weather satellite images… I’ve been disappointed too many times! We did get a cloudburst today, which wet the leaves of everything, with nothing measurable, but happy for the little bit. Yeah, sad here, too. A deer ate my chelone and blue lobelia buds, just ready to bloom. Gardening is not for the faint of heart. 😦

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  7. Hope you get a nice soaking rain! I am trying also to be strategic with watering, even going to far as to use water from the dehumidifier and from cooking. I often get a fall crop of radish from fallen seed, so hopefully you will also! The fall radishes in WI are nice as they don’t bolt too soon and I get a good flavor. Sometimes my spring ones get a bit sharp.

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    1. Radar shows rain clouds should arrive here in an hour or so!!! And there must be a system somewhere because odds are high for rain over the next three days! Do you think it’s too late to plant radish now?

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      1. Nice! we had rain yesterday – everything looks perky and my barrels are overflowing again! I think you could plant radish. It germinates so fast. I may plant some myself – I have some watermelon type that may have ripe seed now, or I have some french breakfast seed.

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  8. ‘King Tut’ papyrus is something that my colleague down south just recently added to his garden, adjacent to a fountain, where it gets water splattered onto it. I really did not know what to think of it, since it resembles nutsedge and other related weeds. It occurred to me that the older type of papyrus that I remember from the early 1970s never became weedy within the landscapes that it inhabited. I still do not want to add it to our pond, but only because it is not so compatible with the style of the landscape there, . . . and because I must remove so much nutsedge! I do not leave the nutsedge because it migrates. Anyway, is yours well foliated most of the time, or does it get sparse by the end of summer?

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    1. If the rabbits leave it alone it continues to send up stalks until October frosts eventually kill it. They have a huge root mass and the dead stalks are great for mulching (after chopping them up a bit). The top of them (do you call it the flower??) can be larger than a softball making the whole plant quite spectacular.

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      1. I think of it as ‘bloom’. I really do not know what the individual flowers are like. Gee, I did not consider that until you just mentioned it. There is all that foliage, which is likely what you mean, that is all tufted on top. Wow, I really should pay more attention. At least it stays well foliated until frost.

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