Friday, November 20, 2009

Assessing the damage

We live in zone 9a, and have very mild winters. Winter is usually 3 days, not consecutive. Just 3 days total.

It fools you sometimes, and really does get cold. It is the nastiest, wettest, coldest cold when it is cold here; it just goes right through you. But it doesn't last long. The next day, it will be back up in the 60s or 70s, with a bright sun in the sky. We garden year 'round.

The killing weather for us is our hot, HOT summers. August in South Texas can be brutal. We lose more plants in summer than we do in winter.

My husband starts to talk about turning the AC on in April. I resist, usually until about July. Nights are pleasant with a fan, and sleep is comfortable. When it gets too hot at night for tomatoes to set fruit, I relent and turn the AC on. He has never understood this.

So, last April, I told him, "When we turn the AC on, I won't go out to work anymore." And when we turned the AC on in June, I didn’t go out anymore.

This summer was really brutal, because we had a drought. No rain for about 5 months, it was awful! I would go out to pull hoses, or turn the water off or on, but I didn’t spend much time out there weeding, grooming, or anything else. Even with us watering, we lost some things. Many trees are down, due to the drought, and some of them are big trees.
We didn’t lose any trees, but my favorite salvia (seen above) bit the dust. I was very sad to lose this. It is called Bog Salvia, blue and white likes wet feet. I had a swath of it about 15' long x 3' wide. It was soooo pretty. I will have to find some more. The big leaves behind it are 'root beer plant' or 'spice plant'. It is a thug. It is healthy, of course.

I lost my ‘lycoris radiata’, and a prized blood lily. The blood lily, here, was put
in the ground 3 years ago. It was wonderful seeing it come back every year, and put up more and more of those blooms. I will have to find
another. I was very worried about the yellow spiders, but they seem to be fine. No blooms, but there is always next year.

I also lost crocosmia, and I was very
surprised about that. I had these
planted in several places, I will have
to check around to see if
there are some left for next year.
I love them.

Things that did well in the drought included all the natives. Esperanza was especially drought hardy. The ornamental grasses did well, and although we didn't see as many wildflowers, they did not die. They sprang back to life as soon as the first sprinkle hit the ground.

I am sure there are other things that I lost that I don't know about yet. I am just thankful that it isn't worse.

We were out pulling weeds last weekend. My Darling was helping me, (like it isn't his garden, too), and he was just amazed at how I had neglected my duties in the summer.

"We are NEVER turning the AC back on!" he announced. I have been giggling over that for days now.


Rosey Pollen said...

Sometimes the losses can make way for new adventures! I know it is sad to lose some plants! I also have to learn the difficult and expensive way, what will survive up here in the mountains.
Way to go, for being so positive!

Jim-The Gaudy Garden said...

Oh, to have room to try new plants. Mother Nature has just helped on a quest for new varieties.

NellJean said...

I can't imagine that lycoris would not tolerate a drought there, it survived several years of drought here. Crocosmia, too. Look around for little blades of crocosmia foliage peeking out now. I guess there is drought, and then there is drought, different soils.

Randy Emmitt said...

Losing these plants just gives you an excuse to add new ones to the garden. Maybe that Blood Lily needs replaced it is very cool.

Anonymous said...

Your post put a big smile on my face, not about the heat or the drought, but about turning on the AC and not going out.LOL - I think I should put your post up where I can see it about not being able to go out when it is so hot....we have the oposite. The cold, frozen land and sometimes when we go out looking like the Michelin Tire Man. Thanks for the smile - Gloria

Mary Delle said...

Perhaps you will surprised at what will return when weather is right for it. Otherwise you have an excuse for a trip to the plant store. Thank you for your comment on my desert plant post. Yes, you can come. I'll make another post on the arboretum and remember to take you with me.

madblooms said...

I agree Janie, this summer was just awful! No matter how much you water with a hose, it never makes up for the loss of rain. I can't believe you "tough it out" that long with no AC...I guess I'm a wuss when it comes to our heat! I, like you, neglected many weeds in my garden. It was just too darn hot!

ancient one said...

We had good rain this year.. my impatiens are still blooming..

I laughed about the AC. You can take more hot weather than I can .. in my younger years I could take it but now I'm ready when my husband is to cut on the air..

I hope you can find replacements for your beautiful plants. And I hope you will have more rain for next year...

Catherine@AGardenerinProgress said...

We had an extremely dry and warm summer here, I was so tired of watering. I can't imagine having it get as hot and dry and it does there. Hopefully you'll get a surprise return of a few plants.

janie said...

Thanks for all your wonderful comments. The thing about the drought here, is that we have a lot of salts in our water. Without the rain, the salts build up and no amount of 'city water' can wash them away. We have to have the rain to do that.

I have located another blood lily. My friend Pat has one she will share. The bog salvia can be had, but it is dear. I think I will wait for Spring on that one.

Wendy said...

awww...I love that crocosmia.

Interesting how the seasons are flipped and you have killing summers - makes sense. I think it'd definitley be harder to keep a plant alive in a hot summer than a cold winter.

Wendy said...

Oh - suggestion for a future post - something on plants you suggest for a rain garden - things that like wet feet...

Amy said...

I will have to keep an eye out for the bog salvia. I have a spot in my garden that definitely will provide wet feet for those pretty blooms. I planted a swamp rose and I hope it does well in that spot. I have thought about rice :0...just kidding.
Your rootbeer plant is doing very well. Mine is so slow to grow. Looks like you have the right location for much sun does it get in that location? Enjoyed your post... thanks!

janie said...

That root been plant is not supposed to be there. DH stuck it in the ground, and I have never been able to rid myself of it. I love the fragrance, but it is so mean to the other plants!

It gets an annual dressing of compost, as I am ripping it out. Not much care, it doesn't need it! Would that everything I put in the ground did as well as my root beer plant!

I will work on that post, Wendy. Thanks for the suggestion.

azplantlady said...

Hi Janie,

There is an award for you on my blog. I hope that you will accept it but I won't be offended if you don't. You may have already received it, but you have been so supportive and I wanted you to know that I really appreciate it.

LeSan said...

Well this was a nice little color vacation for me. Thank you for that. I almost feel warm and dry. LOL Your place sure looks pretty right now. The drought we had all summer here seems like a distant memory now. We worked hard to keep our plants and trees going but it looked pretty iffy at times. I am glad you didn't lose any trees. You really can't replace the years of growth when you lose one.

Jacqueline said...

You have a lovely garden with interesting and colourful plants, Janie! Well, it does pain us when we loose our favourite ones but as others mention, it's an opportunity to try new ones, huh!
Happy gardening!

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