Okay, so it’s been a horrendous summer – at least from the perspective of a heat-sensitive Swede. Fall couldn’t come soon enough! Looking around the garden, it is apparent that I have not been the only one suffering. So many things are partially crispy, and leaves are yellowing before their normal time. It’s a sad state of affairs, indeed.
My Bloodgood maple did not exactly fare well in the heat. It’s been in the ground for a few years, and with the exception of an occasional deep soak, I usually pretty much leave it to its own devices. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it so crispy.
Per the wisdom of meteorological statistics, this has been the second hottest summer on record for Oregon, and the driest since anyone started paying attention. An engineer friend of mine once said in a rather flippant tone of voice that ” Are you kidding? This is the Pacific Northwest! We will always have plenty of water!” I was astounded by such fabulous arrogance. Of course I wish he’ll be right, but all my senses and all of my intellect tell me that’s not a sure thing. If not even the NOAA, and NASA with all their scientific models can assuredly predict where we’re headed, how could he? I think we’re all in for some dramatic changes – the extent of which none of us can probably even imagine. (Okay, technically he is right – there WILL always be some form of water around, but whether it will be accessible and available for human use – or not – feels extremely relevant to this discussion. Learned today that each American uses as much water as 900 Kenyans. Holy crap – that makes me absolutely sick!)
The cover of this great little book belies its extremely well-researched contents. Its long bibliography contains references to just about every relevant and reputable national and international organization that have ever put out studies or scientific models. One of the biggest take-aways from the book for me, is that the changes we see in weather today were caused by what was emitted into the atmosphere 40 years ago. And we can all agree that our emissions haven’t decreased in the slightest since then… right? Even if we were to completely stop what we’re doing tomorrow, it scares me to even try to imagine what the world will look like 40 years from now…
Okay, I’m off my soap box now… Anyway, for this month’s Foliage post, I decided to celebrate those already established plants in my relatively shady garden that, despite the drought, pulled through, and still look pretty good – with minimal help from me. Let it be said that, as gardeners go, I’m pretty stingy with water. Not super-stingy, but definitely not overly generous. I should also confess that I’m not going to include any recently acquired drought-tolerant faves. They are all doing well, but many of them were new this year, so they have been watered. So, not fair to include them in the line-up. Most often, their biggest challenge has probably been insufficient sunlight, as opposed to water.
First out is the Barberry with nary a sign of stress on its red leaves. Not so the Dogwood in the background, whose leaves are yellowing prematurely. No surprise there – Dogwoods do like their moisture…
My Quicksilver Hebe seems unfazed by it all, but then again, this is a plant superhero. I even ran it over with the car in an unguarded moment, and it shrugged that mistreatment off too.
My other Hebes are still standing strong as well. One has some die-back on the inside, but from a distance it looks pretty good. This one is in my hell strip, and is doing a commendable job surviving. The brown parts are the spent flowers, and are perfectly normal.
Another stellar Hebe, but I should mention that this one (and the surrounding plants) got more water than the others, as this was on a rotating schedule of spots where I emptied our dirty dish water after dinner. (Yes, I told you I’m stingy, and doing that helps alleviate my angst at least a little bit…)
The Daphne and the variegated Fatsia under the massive Magnolia have gotten a few good soaks here and there, but I wouldn’t say they were spoiled. Considering the root competition from the tree, I’d say they are doing fabulously. The brown leaves at the bottom of the photo are the perpetually dropping leaves from the tree. I imagine they help mulch the others.
The Sarcococca confusa looks as glossy green as ever. Mind you, it lives in pretty deep shade.
The Edgeworthia has an occasional yellow leaf, but not many. We’ll see this spring if my stinginess affected its flowering – or not. The drops are from the rain we had today – hooray!!! Finally!
The super-tough Santolina ‘Lemon Fizz’ far surpassed both Carex ‘Evergold’ and the variegated Irises behind it.
A big surprise was the durability of both the native Sword Fern and the Coral bells. This particular fern is certainly not delicate. Elegant yes, but definitely not delicate. Tough as nails, I’d say.
More Coral bells. Perhaps it is because it is planted on the north side of a wall, but still… Knowing that it looks this good after a summer like this is pretty cool.
My beloved Alchemilla alpina sailed through it all. A little yellowing of a leaf or two, but nothing major. SUCH an awesome, underrated plant! This is in my hellstrip.
Sasa veitchii ‘Nana’ is usually kept minimally watered to keep it from spreading too aggressively. This year was no different, and it seems to do alright. It is in pretty deep shade, and gets only morning sun.
I really appreciate the iron constitution of Carex Ice Dance. I really don’t give this plant enough credit. It is a rock star! Note the errant Sword fern in its midst, as well. This is definitely a gathering of the toughest.
Hop on over to Pam Penick at Digging for the latest in foliage fantasy from around the globe.