Garbage Day

So it’s been hot and hasn’t rained more than half an inch here in the last three weeks.  My “garden” has always been a little more interesting than it is beautiful, and now with things wilting and dying left and right, on top of the construction debris and damage, my yard has officially entered the trash stage.  Visiting several beautiful gardens last weekend, filled with lush goodies, all artfully combined and arranged was a nice exercise, but did not help my opinion at all so earlier last week I decided to rip half of it out, mulch most of it, and try to save a few bits through the daily triage of going plant to plant with a water hose.

low water perennials

Lawn is not drought tolerant but rudbeckia and a few other things are.  At least not everything is brown.

Maybe we’ll get lucky tonight and the storms rolling through will drop some moisture, but it’s going to take a couple days straight to get anything into the hard-baked soil and that’s not going to happen.  Also the next week’s forecast is full of 90’s (32+C) so any rain tonight is more a teaser than relief.

low water perennials

With half the plants now ripped out, and a couple days of standing around with a water hose under my belt, the front border no longer shouts ‘save me!’  and instead just looks hot.

So plenty of people have it worse, and some people always have it worse, so please don’t feel the need to be nice and sympathetic when this kind of summer really isn’t that out of the ordinary for us.  There’s still plenty of recyclables in this trash pile, and always a few treasures to pick out, such as the orien-pet lily ‘Conca d’Or which dominates the front border this week.  I love everything about it this year, it’s huge, fragrant, creamy lemony, and as solid as a tree.

low water perennials

‘Conca d’Or’, perovskia, and some ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass doing just fine under the triage of ‘just in time’ watering.  

Now faced with a garden of mostly trash, more garden visits sounds like a good idea, right?  I think so, but little did I know how dangerous they can be.  Some friends and I traveled up into the far reaches of Northeastern Pennsylvania this weekend to visit a daylily farm and it was a bad thing…

lambertsons daylilies

A perfect, Idyllic, country view of the daylily sales-field at Lambertson’s Daylilies.  Mark it with a flag, pay, they’ll dig it and it’s yours… what a deadly temptation!

I’m not above taking one for the team, so when a visit to Lambertson’s Daylilys came up in conversation, I of course politely agreed.  “You hate daylilies” was mentioned, and that’s kind of extreme, but I can be nice and keep my thoughts to myself when opinions vary… and try not to relentlessly steamroll people with my beliefs and opinions just like all adults should… but I’m digressing… we met for breakfast and all of us headed out for a day at the farm.

lambertsons daylilies

Some of the display beds coming into bloom around the house.  No trash here! 

I bought one.  It’s planted and gets checked way too much each morning.  Today I cross-pollinated a few flowers and I’m already thinking about going back to see about picking another one… or possibly two… dammit…

growing daylilies

The mother in law’s garden bed and it also looks very non-trash.  I guess I’ll have to swipe a bit of this one and add it to my new daylily adventure.

When I returned home (filled with delicious ice cream because of course we had enough sense to stop at a dairy while in farm country) I put a critical eye towards the depressingly stunted tropical garden.  A daylily would look good in there.

low water perennials

Even with watering there’s little hope for this year’s tropical garden.  I’m far too lazy and cheap to water properly and the cannas are knee-high rather than chest height.

Seriously.  It’s the perfect spot for a daylily patch… bed… border… growing field  😉  The peak bloom will match pool season, and that’s when this sidewalk gets nearly all its traffic.

lambertsons daylilies

My selection out of the farm’s seedling patch.  At Lambertson’s the seedlings grow for a number of years, the under performers are culled out and most of the good ones are just sold as un-named seedlings.      

Tree lilies, daylilies… I’m sensing a theme for easing the pain of a better-for-the-pool-than-the-garden summer.  Waterlilies fit right into that.

pink water lily

The pond is thick with debris and whatever else washes in off the construction site, but the pink water lily has never grown as lush before.  The tadpoles are also doing well, and I guess a dirty pond is still better than no pond.

So it’s not all bad, unless you judge me for finally falling into the daylily trap.  I was doing so good…  in 20 years I think I never went over a total of five daylily plants, and no one needs to know about the other 30 years of my life and the rows of daylilies that still grow at my parent’s house.  I had put that behind me.

deck container plants

Not daylilies, just a couple hundred bricks which I chipped the mortar off and neatly stacked so that they can sit here for decades until I finally get around to doing something with them.  In the meantime I’ve camouflaged them with potted plants which I couldn’t be bothered to bring up onto the deck.  

It’s just one daylily.  Maybe it’s just the dry weather and heat that are getting to me.  Luckily plants other than lilies are still chugging along and even enjoying the weather.  All those geranium (pelargonium) cuttings from the winter garden are loving the dry, sunny days, and were a nice, cheap way to fill a bunch of planters.

deck container plants

Maybe a few too many geraniums on the deck.  

Another potted plant which has surprised me are the rhodohypoxis bulbs.  They’ve been blooming for over a month and I didn’t expect that at all.  In fact they’ve grown so well I might need to divide them soon, and don’t know if now or next spring would be the better time.


Some of the rhodohypoxis pots still doing well.  The large-flowered, pale pink ‘Pintado’ is by far my favorite.

Maybe I mentioned one other bulb which wasn’t doing as well as the rhodohypoxis (actually both are classified as corms, and not really bulbs).  Last winter I lost about half of the caladiums I was so excited about last year summer, but that doesn’t mean the ones which made it are pitiful.  A couple are awesome again, and since many are of the same sort I’ll be referring to them as some of the idiot-proof cultivars and think twice about trying new ones this year. -which is something I decided last night after closing an online order which was soooo tempting until I thought about the daylilies again-

growing caladiums

A few caladiums coming back to life now that temperatures have warmed.  I think a cold, wet spell last fall did a few of the others in, as well as not hot enough weather in June.

So that’s what’s been going on here for the last couple weeks.  It’s not bad at all but the garden really is trash, and only close editing and avoiding the majority of the yard has saved this post from becoming a complete downer.  There’s a new daylily though, and the pool is always refreshing, but don’t bother asking how the construction is going, and just for reference it’s midnight and the possibility for a good rain is dwindling with each hour.

All the best for those in really hot and dry weather patterns, and I hope you still all have a great week.  There’s always ice cream.

24 comments on “Garbage Day

  1. Su says:

    Hot. Dry. Very dry. Ice cream was good.

  2. TimC says:

    Drought is the worst, I find it very depressing, although watering can be a therapeutic activity as it simulates actual work when it’s too hot to give much effort. Your July sounds like our June, every storm went somewhere else. Daylilies hold up well even in dry years (at least East coast dry years), and come in tropical colors. I see more in your future.

    • bittster says:

      You were right! There was another daylily farm and another daylily last Saturday. For a minute I felt better but then saw the dead garden again when I returned so we headed off for a two night camping trip in an area where the grass isn’t all dead.
      There was a little rain but not enough, but when do you ever get “just enough”?

  3. Paddy Tobin says:

    There is consolation to be found in reading of somebody else’s garden suffering from the heat and drought. We are not at all at the same stage but are experiencing exceptionally (for us) hot days and we are struggling a little under the conditions. Let’s do a rain dance and live in hope.

    • bittster says:

      We had a brief break with a little rain, and I hope you’ve had the same. At least the gardens here are used to it, I can imagine the shock your plants faced when the thermometer skyrocketed. Some days it’s better to just embrace good things like a roof and insulation and a window you can look out of, rather than actually being outside.

  4. Eliza Waters says:

    Yeah, the extended forecast is looking pretty grim. Our waterfall and stream have pretty much dried up. Even the trees are showing stress. I don’t worry about the lawn, it goes dormant and at least will regrow, despite its ugly look. Less mowing, too!
    We’re getting showers today, so at least the leaves will drink it in.
    Daylilies do have their place in a time between spring and fall flowers. There are some nice cultivars, I favor the peachy ones. Best kept to a minimum, however!
    Stay cool, enjoy the pool and ice cream. 🙂

    • bittster says:

      I hope you had a little relief up there but I suspect you’re as dry as ever. I just made the mistake of looking over the ten day forecast and maybe I need another daylily. I’m sure there’s something dead I can pull in order to make the room.
      Oh well. If worse comes to worst I know that there might be a new snowdrop or two in my future, and that surely compensates for an overly dry summer 😉

      • Eliza Waters says:

        A couple of years ago, my neighbor dug up their courtyard and threw many excellent hybrid daylilies into the woods(actually on our property, humph), some of which I rescued and put in a garden by the road. They are perfect for the site, and I wonder if they recognize them as once theirs. One man’s trash is another’s treasure. 😉
        Yes, desperately dry. The trees are limp, the waterfall and stream have dried up, even the river is ultra-low. If that dries up, which it never ever has, I’ll know for certain that we are doomed! 😱

  5. Dorothy Swift says:

    Your daylily choice is a definite winner!

  6. I’m a former member of the local Daylily Society and had quite a collection until a couple of years ago, so I understand your past. Daylilies are de rigueur in the Midwest, so I couldn’t get rid of all my daylilies. The ones that are blooming look better than almost anything else in the garden. So I was checking out a specialty nursery online last night looking at dayliles and species Peonies. Always something to get hooked by. We got an inch of much-needed rain last Friday and it soaked in as I have been watering a lot. Still have a couple of tours of my garden (in August no less) and am trying to keep it alive. More hot, sunny weather on tap. No matter where you garden it has not been an easy year.

    • bittster says:

      For now I think I am safe from the species peonies… unless someone points out that there are no threadleaf peonies in this garden, and that there are other peonies with very nice foliage which are also under-represented here 😉
      We did get some rain Sunday into Monday and it took the edge off the dryness but of course it’s back, and now with more hot weather on the way I think I’ll need another daylily. I’m still very daylily sparse here and with all the sun in my garden maybe I’m just doing the garden a disservice by being so stingy.

  7. Studies show that more plants are ordered online during winter and periods of drought. And what is winter but an extended drought? I never judge your plant purchases–I just try to figure out if there will be a way for me to benefit from them a few years later. 😉

    • bittster says:

      I’m sure we can work something out in the future. They wouldn’t be the first plants to make the trip!
      While the colchicums are dormant I don’t see any real obstacles to starting a daylily farm on the side, you do have a lot of lawn which could be growing something more floriferous. Anything would be more floriferous here. The rain from Sunday is about used up and I was back to watering today, with more heat on the way.
      Maybe I should order a few more daffodils…

  8. Cathy says:

    Same here, hot and very dry. But your garden is looking way better than mine! (Always does!) The hot wind has scorched everything here… That huge lily is gorgeous and really stands out. Do you have lily beetle in your part of the world? Cutting back the singed plants is what I should be doing, but it just way too hot to do anything at the moment! (Except watering🤪) It certainly makes your border look great. Day lilies are great. Ice cream too. If I had to choose, it would be day lilies. 😃 Hope you get some rain soon. 🌧🌧🌧

    • bittster says:

      I think things at your place are absolutely nicer than this mess. It’s only the few things which I stand over with the hose that are hanging on (with the exception of the Russian sage which really hasn’t had a single complaint yet!). I’m suddenly not sure if you have Russian sage, but you do have echinops which seem to be doing quite well and that might even be better!
      I’m even watering the echinacea. They are probably more drought tolerant, but my soil is also so thin on top of the dry weather that few things find it easy here.
      Spending more time indoors might be my best way out of this. There’s always cake in front of a window, I think that almost counts as gardening work 😉

      • Cathy says:

        😉 Yes, I have Russian sage and am grateful for it. A few asters are hanging on about to flower, but I have even been watering the Echinacea too. 😮 And I don’t usually water my flower beds…..

  9. Lisa Bowman says:

    I just finished my ice cream. Your daylilies will surely survive and thrive if you give them a little tlc. I haven’t bought a daylily in a long time. I don’t have a lot of sun and what sun I have is too hot for me. ha… That my story and I’m sticking to it. I hope you get relief from this horrid heat and a good rain on top.

    • bittster says:

      I’m enjoying the small patches of shade I have, but grumbling about the red maple roots sucking the life from the soil as well. You just can’t win I guess!
      Less time out in the sun isn’t the worst thing these days. We escaped for a couple nights of camping in the nearby “mountains”. and it was a little cooler and much more green than at home. The escape was nice.
      Stay cool!

  10. I am a VSDN (Very Selective Daylily Nut) because my antipathy to orange flowers means many of them are out of consideration from the get-go. This leaves the true clear yellows, the “whites” (which of course aren’t; cream or yellow-white is the closest possible), the true sunfast reds (not many of these), and the so-called “blues” which are the trickiest because so many of them are actually mauve at best, salmon at worst. But at least the daylilies aren’t wilting in this weather (yet) and just keep on truckin’….. Gotta love them for that. As long as they aren’t orange. 🙂

    • bittster says:

      Haha, and one of my favorites is a bright, saturated, glaring golden orange! Anything that leans towards more golden/brown is a big no-no and the fleshy colors of non-sunfast reds and washed out mauves are also both on the yucky list. Hmmmm. I thought you were the selective one!
      Maybe I do need another one or two. I don’t have any of the real dark ‘purples’ yet, maybe that’s something to consider although I don’t always like how they fade.
      I won’t even start on their August foliage…

      • If you ever want a sunfast true red, check out Heavenly United We Stand. It’s tall, and has a golden yellow throat, but it will stand out like a beacon. I have it in the same bed as a true-red crape myrtle, and although the daylily starts flowering in mid July and the crape not until early August, the daylily keeps going through August as well. Heavenly Gardens always sells it, but Harmon Hill Daylilies also carries it and for a more reasonable price. There is also the daylily auction site, but I have had a 50/50 good/bad experience there with getting what I ordered.

  11. I’m so happy you’ve had a change of heart about daylilies, Frank. Well, a slight change of heart …

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