Sunday, September 23, 2007


I know you're tired of weather stats from Greensboro, but indulge me in a little complaining on this first day of autumn, with the temperature a crisp 92 degrees...That is the 59th day this year it has been above 90. The average is 27 days.

I went back and did some checking on rainfall too.

Since June 5:

25 days with measurable rainfall--normal is 40 days
5.5 inches of rain total--normal 15.13 inches
Average amount of rain per shower--.22 inches
Days with more than a quarter inch of rain: 6

That last one is what has really ticked me off this summer. When it does rain, it is barely enough to dampen the ground, let alone soak down to the roots. I am thinking seriously about giving up my garden. Well, not really, but I am giving up anything and everything whose water needs are anything other than minimal. I don't care if my garden looks like it was planted by the Highway Department.

Here are the plants that have done well with minimal or no watering from me this summer. Expect to see a lot more of these in my garden in coming years.

Pyracantha "Mojave"
Lantana "Miss Huff"
Cherry Laurel "Otto Luyken"
Spirea "Little Princess" and "Anthony Waterer"
Butterfly Bush
Crape Myrtle

Things I might try more of:
Burning Bush
Emerald Arborvitae

Biggest Disappointment:
Japanese Holly "Soft Touch" These are supposed to be indestructible, but every one of my new plantings has either:

a) died
b) almost died and now is cut back to miniscule proportions
c) got lots of brown stems
d) got burned leaves

They are supposed to like full sun; I planted them in good soil and, as we say in NC "liked to busted my @$$ keeping the &^$# things watered all summer."
Has anybody else had experience with these, for good or ill?

As for perennials, call me Daylily Man. Or Yarrow Man. Or maybe Butterfly Weed Man. Or maybe I'll just let the Virginia Creeper take over and grow wherever it wants.

Can you tell I'm in a bad mood? All I've got to say is this: if the temperature is going to be 15 degrees above normal every freakin' day this summer, I had better not see the first bit of ice or frost all winter. In fact, I'd better be going down the waterslide on Christmas Day and lathering on sunscreen in February...

And if that's not enough, the Tar Heels football team is so abysmal, we're already counting the days until basketball season. Forty-one, in case you're wondering.


Carol said...

We got some rain a few weeks ago that seems to have helped, though it sure is hot for September 'round here. We are supposed to get rain Monday night, all day Tuesday, after record heat on Monday. Then "fall" weather starting on Thursday.

We gardeners sure pay a lot of attention to the weather, don't we?

And my Purdue Boilermakers, thank you for asking, are 4-0, and the Colts, 3-0! Football is turning out to be pretty good, but in just a few weeks NBA training camps start and then the fun begins!

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

Gina said...

david - i was going to suggest saving water in rain barrels but i suppose if its not raining at all then that would be pointless. i got nothin!

Wrenna said...

I planted 9 emerald arborvitae's this year but I have kept them watered. No way was I going to let that 700 dollar investment go down the tubes.

I was considering the same thing you are. Drought tolerant plants from now on. This summer has been awful. I'm from AZ, so I mostly wander around whining.... "it's not fairrrrrrrrrrr".

Mary said...

The weather has been ridiculous and you (all of us) have every right to whine about it. The water restrictions are going to get tighter on October 1 in Charlotte and surrounding counties. We'll lose everything then. Areas in town are having "brown water" problems now. Not looking good.

We have similar stats but I know it didn't rain 25 times. Most of the showers we had evaporated under the intense heat!

I agree with focusing attention on drought tolerant plants for next year!

David, even when you freaking mad, you are funny!

Nancy said...

Couldn't agree more. I'm from Wilson NC (on 95, about 45 miles east of Raleigh) and our rain/heat stats are as bad as yours. I think the plants could have taken the heat if we had rain, or survived the drought if we had normal temps. The combination was a killer. Lantana "Miss Huff" is incredible, isn't it? Mine hasn't stopped blooming.

I would add to your list of things that can/have survived such awful weather: rosemary, lavender (I guess because it was dry?), all of my different types of salvia, Rose "Mutabilis," solomon's seal, Peegee hydrangeas (never watered; still looks good), Solidago, all of my different types of dianthus, cannas, and hardy geraniums.

I'm really worried about what will survive if this drought continues all winter, as they are predicting.

Jen said...

I had great results with it not only survived the harsh season we had (i'm over in chapel hill) it THRIVES in it. It puts off more blossoms the less care you give it. Only problem is its going to be an annual in our zone, unless you leave it in a pot and try and overwinter it like I'm going to. I love this plant!

Q said...

Oh David I so understand!
I went to native this year. After the April freeze took over 400 plants in my gardens I thought I would never garden again. I am breating a butterfly habitat. It is fun and so lovely.
Rains will come I just know it!
Sherry, who is chanting "rain" for you and Mary

David in Greensboro, NC said...

Carol--Glad your Boilermakers can find the end zone. I hope they aren't on our schedule anytime soon!

I do want some rain barrels, Gina, but like you said...

Wrenna--How big ARE those arborvitae? At $700, I'd be serving them water in a chalice!

Mary, 25 days with rain sounded like a lot to me too, so I did some further investigating. "Measurable rain" is anything over one-one-hundredth of an inch (which is basically a good spit!) I updated my post to show how many days re got more than a quarter inch--care to venture a guess?

That's a good list, Nancy. I hadn't thought about several of those. What are we going to do if we have a dry winter? Anybody know anything about cactus?

Jen, Bougainvillea is something I've wanted to try and never have. (I also want to learn to spell it!)

Thanks for the rain chant, Sherry. I hope you're right!

Wrenna said...

I know plenty about cactus. It's ugly and prickly. That's all you need to know.

Layanee said...

I think you need a break! How about a nice cool drink and a piece of lemon meringue pie to take your mind off the drought. You will probably get forty inches of rain in two days but, I hope not! It is pretty dry here now and I have been watering. It is supposed to be very warm for the next few days. I'm going to go have a nice cool drink...

Birdscapes said...

At least you didn't have a top 10 team flounder to the likes of Kentucky and Syracuse. My Louisville Cardinals have no defense.

Oh yeah, plants and the drought. I started my new native garden this spring. Hope it survives the horrible rain-free summer. As well as the cute little tree rats that continue to dig up my lovely plants. I was thinking about using my tomato cages (when I dig up the vegetable garden this weekend) to guard my plants. Think this will help?

Catherine said...

I think we are all frustrated with the heat, & lack of rain this year...You go right ahead and complain!~Right along with the rest of us! Even when you are in a bad mood, you make me laugh!!

Sorry about the Tarheels...but How bout' them Cowboys..sorry couldn't resist..I'm a huge Dallas Cowboy fan, they are 3-0... :)

I've got my fingers crossed for rain...& cooler temp's...

Come check out my Monarchs they sure cheered me up today!!


LBP said...

I am right on that bandwagon with you! Come on! It's supposed to be Fall! You know, cool crisp days, chilly nights! NOT!

I am in SW Virginia and luckily I live at the lake where I can "Borrow" water for my garden. Still alot of trouble.

David in Greensboro, NC said...

Layanee, a cool drink sounds good. I'll take whatever you have, as long as it's sweet tea.

Birdscapes, I was pulling for your Cardinals today. They were playing our nemesis, NC State!

Great butterfly photos, Cat!

LBP-You said it! Where is fall? You live in a beautiful part of the world. I was up near Abingdon a few years ago and loved it.

Iris said...

Now that I have this big, dry yard, I feel your pain. What a year to buy a big, dry yard! But you can bet I'm taking your list (and Nancy's) of drought-busters with me to the nursery. Your vast gardening knowledge and experience are much appreciated.

I put in exactly 4 plants so far Russian sage, hyssop, gaura, and some type of coneflower. I barely water them and they're all doing great. I'll be planting more of these for sure.

Iris @ Greensboro Birds

David in Greensboro, NC said...

Good Luck, Iris. Let me know how your gaura does. I've wanted to try that for a while, but haven't found the right place for it. I'll want to see photos!!!