After six weeks of very warm and sometimes windy weather with very little precipitation, it finally rained. A grey day brought us gentle rain in the morning and then heavy rain. When all was said and done, within a six-hour period, we received 2.5 inches of rain; YEAH! My garden and all those surrounding us perked up considerably. Then, two days later, we got another 1/3 inch of rain. And that was it. Now, 7 days later, we are still hot and dry. Gardens are starting to lag again and there is no rain in the forecast. Without a doubt, after 24 years of gardening, this year is one of the top-five driest. Shrubs and trees planted in 2016 and 2017 are getting by with virtually no help from me, while I water those plants which were put in the ground last year and this spring.
Since I have now gravel paths throughout the gardens in back and on the side, I am putting the finishing touches on beds which were a little bare. Pink blooming plants, which were banned from the main beds now have their very own bed. In early spring my ‘Dancing butterflies’ peony blooms in Pepto-Bismol pink, followed by pink bearded Irises and a smattering of pink as well as blue Columbines. Now, my ‘Pow Wow’ Echinacea are blooming together with a variety of different lilies. The fragrance is enticing and the colors smack you in the eye. I also sprinkled a package of perennial Flax seed throughout this bed and come spring there will be a haze of blue among all the pink. It should look nice.
The side bed near the fence has a collection of orange and yellow varieties of daylilies as well as yellow and blue Siberian irises, plus hardy Geranium ‘Rozanne’. These colors make for a good contrast with the dark red foliage of Sand Cherry and further along the bed, Physocarpus ‘Diablo’ or purple Ninebark, while the yellow-leafed Spirea ‘’ also contrasts nicely with its small leaves. My ‘banana cream’ daisies look nice in this bed, but I have already decided they will get the heave-ho come fall or early spring next year. The same daisies in the bed lining the driveway already need dividing in their second year AND they do not look their best with a lack of rain. Add to that the fact they need to be deadheaded (remove the spent flower) so it can rebloom, and it just becomes too much work. Instead, I will use Melampodium next year. Melampodium falls into the Sunflower family, but it is a low growing annual, which blooms from May until the first frost. It is heat and drought resistant, doesn’t need deadheading and is covered in small yellow flowers until the day it croaks. What’s not to like? I currently have it in another bed among the variegated oregano and it is looking great. Seedlings of a slightly different colored (brighter yellow) Melampodium have popped up in a bed where I had them last year. So, with a bit of luck, I will grow my own plants next winter, and then will have seedlings pop up in the same beds year after year. A great looking garden, with less work; now that is something I like!