And the clouds opened

For some reason my little valley has been missing all the rains again, and up until last week it’s just been dry, dry, dry…. until Tuesday.  The cold front came through and we enjoyed two days of on and off rain, and the garden just soaked it all up.  It reminded me of one of those nature specials out of the Serengeti.

heucheras in dry shade

You can’t even weed this rock hard “topsoil”. My new heucheras are toughing it out, but this bed sure won’t make it onto a postcard any time soon!

The grass dried up, the trees started dropping leaves, the waterhole pulled in all the wildlife, and animals were on the move.  Anything not within hose range shriveled up, but at least the temperatures were low.  Last year we had a hot baking which killed off the weak, this year I think everyone should recover.

asclepias tuberosa during drought

Asclepias tuberosa is a tough one. I planted these seedlings out last summer and after a few weeks they shriveled up and died due to neglect. Spring resurrected them and they are now trying so hard…. but they’re not cacti!

It looks horrible though.  The front yard had two sprinkler days and just looks dry, the back looks dead!  Here’s the director of cinematography following me around getting the shots that I missed.

lawn dead from drought

I would call this dormant. The weeds even gave up.

But just like in the nature specials, when the rains return the landscape springs back into life.  I took a couple pictures at the end of the two days and although a few things look a bit battered, even the dead back lawn is giving out a sigh of relief.

front border with hydrangea

The front street border starts to put on its best show at this time of year, and although polite people would refer to its plantings as “a riot of color” others would call it a mess. Suits me just fine though!

The front foundation bed is a much calmer mix this year.  No bright oranges or over-bright coleus, but all my good intentions from last year of removing the overgrown evergreen and NOT letting any sunflowers grow up kinda fell to the wayside.

foundation planting

I don’t think I can physically pull and compost a sunflower, it’s just unethical to me…. sunflowers and dogwood seedlings, can’t pull either one.

I spend way too much time admiring the “Limelight” hydrangea.  It’s just about at full bloom now and I love its green going into white phase and the way its heavy flower heads are held up on strong stems.  It’s the only white plant out there, and it does stick out, but each spring I look proudly at its buds and imagine how much bigger the show will be!

limelight hydrangea

“Limelight” hydrangea nearly overwhelming the border….More of a purple-yellow theme going on here, but none of my planting plans are ever set in stone.

For some reason prior to the rain the yard was overrun with birds.  Flocks of starlings, catbirds, sparrows, house finches, hummingbirds, goldfinches, cardinals, doves, robins and mockingbirds would swarm each morning.  A large cherry and staghorn sumac berries brought in the fruit eaters, but the others were just all milling about looking for what-nots.  With all those hungry eyes it’s no wonder I’ve seen so few butterflies.

holes in lawn from birds feeding

The day after the rain the back lawn was riddled with all these bill holes. I don’t know what they found in the freshly wetted grass, but there was a flock of around 50 who kept milling around going from lawn to cherry to sumac to lawn.

Strangely enough since the rains came there seem to be far fewer birds.  I need to get out there and explain why their straying from script is throwing off the documentary.  On TV the return of the rains always brings on the migrating hordes!

sunflowers, dahlias and cannas

The rains were just in time for the former tropical bed. Leaves were starting to wilt and I just didn’t have it in me to add another bed to the water-triage list.

So we are back in business.  I hate drought and I hate watering and between the two of them dry spells always get ugly.  Now if it can only get a little warmer again this could have the makings of a great end of summer rally.

Ipomoea quamoclit

Maybe the birds can stop pecking off the tips of the cypress vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) long enough for it to scale the arbor. It’s heading for the top but the birds are relentless. Good thing it’s not a bunny though, the other side for some reason is abused daily by our single resident baby bunny, and can’t even start climbing.

I should be thinking fall garden but I’m going to hide behind denial for a few more days.  The cool weather is supposed to warm up again and hopefully summer will stay strong for another couple weeks.  It’s hard to deny though as the cyclamen sprout and the corn ripens.  Go away autumn, I’m not a fall person!