Tardy Foliage Follow-Up – September 2014

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.

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 bibliography contains 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 all know that our emissions haven't decreased in the slightest since then... right? Even if we completely stop what we're doing tomorrow, I can't even imagine what the world will look like 40 years from now...

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 - they do like their moisture...

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 this one over with the car in an unguarded moment, and it shrugged that mistreatment off too.

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 good. This one is in my hell strip, and is doing a commendable job surviving.

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  fairly regularly the spot where I emptied our dirty dish water after dinner.

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 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 Sarcococca confusa looks as glossy green as ever. Mind you, it lives in pretty deep shade.

The Edgeworthia has a few yellow leaves, but not many. We'll see this spring if my stinginess affected its flowering - or not.

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.

The super-tough Santolina ‘Lemon Fizz’ far surpassed both Carex ‘Evergold’ and the variegated Irises behind it.

A big surprise was the durability of the native Sword Fern and the Coral bells. This particular fern is certainly not delicate. Elegant yes, but not delicate. Tough as nails, I'd say.

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.

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.

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.

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 Edge. I really don't give this plant enough credit. It is a rock star!

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.

 

 

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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12 Responses to Tardy Foliage Follow-Up – September 2014

  1. Pam/Digging says:

    Anna, this post is such a great resource for gardeners in your area, and it opens my eyes to summer-drought challenges faced by gardeners even in rest-of-the-year-moist PacNW. I wish I could grow those hebes here in Austin. They look fabulous.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Pam! Maybe if you put it in part shade, you could get away with one of the little Quicksilver hebes? I’m quite honestly astounded by the abuse it has put up with, both from me, and from weather. Who knows – it might even shrug off the Texas treatment?

  2. ricki grady says:

    I just came from Tamara’s blog, where she posted a wonderful photo of you, all smiles…and also a cute one of Pam (above). Well-written water rants must be considered a public service, especially when accompanied by some examples of how stingy need not preclude lushness.

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh Ricki – you are so nice to put up with my angst-ridden rants… I am soooo behind in reading blogs, but I might have to mosey on over to Tamara’s to check that picture out. 🙂

  3. Loree says:

    I read that it was THE HOTTEST summer ever recorded here in Portland (official summer not meteorological summer) so that would make your successes even more so! The Quicksilver Hebe is a good one, although mine ended up looking pretty rotten after last winter and I pulled them both out. Yours did okay?

    • annamadeit says:

      Ha – not surprised to hear it actually WAS the hottest! I tell you, I was squirming like a snake in an ant heap the whole time. Considering moving to Greenland. There should be plenty of nice green gardening space up there once that ice disappears… And long, light summer nights too! Maybe the fact that my Quicksilver Hebe is sheltered by other shrubs helped it through the winter? I don’t know, but seriously – I ran the damn thing over once, and it is still not dead – or even badly injured. I have to say I am not so little impressed. That one is definitely a keeper!

  4. Kris P says:

    It’s a good thing you didn’t choose to live in California, Anna!. My mother (a Finn) always said that no self-respecting Scandinavian belongs here (although she went ahead to raise 2 native Californians). Still, even I’m disconcerted by the tales of drought affecting the Northwest – I wanted to believe that it was a rain bastion but I’ve heard the reports of your drought conditions as well. We all need to do more to conserve water and treat it as the precious commodity it is. I featured my own drought-tolerant stars for foliage follow-up as well this month.

  5. Rose says:

    What lovely combinations of plantings you have, Anna! I love all the different textures, and I’m glad to hear that the Carex is such a tough plant–I just planted some in some dry shade. I’m so sorry about your weather this year–sounds like you have had the kind of summer we usually have in Illinois. This is one summer you didn’t hear me complain–more than enough rain and rarely too hot.

    • annamadeit says:

      Thank you, Rose – that means a lot! Yeah, I think it was hot and dry from about the Fling, on… It rained quite a bit today, and I was sooo happy! I’m really ready for more of that overcast, wet stuff. I’m glad you had a great summer with a little of both – bet your garden looks spectacular! 🙂

  6. annamadeit says:

    Haha – I’d say your mom was right on! Pretty sure I couldn’t handle California, at least not for any extended periods of time… Can you believe it – it was raining today! I was practically dancing with joy – as were my plants! 🙂 Seriously – I’m really looking forward to following your new drought tolerant garden. Those Leucadendrons are scrumptious indeed! Wish they grew here…

  7. Hi Anna!
    Love hearing about your yard and seeing pictures of the plants. I’d love to to the whole yard. I can’t believe how many plants you have now. I remember when you were starting out. You’re blog is fantastic! I’m going keep up with it. You’re next stop is becoming a Master Gardener.

    • annamadeit says:

      Oh Melisa! I’m practically drowning in plants… I could easily fill the next yard over – if they’d let me! Funny you should mention becoming a Master Gardener… I’m about half way through the course as I write this. Learning tons, and loving it! So glad you stopped by – nice to hear from you! 🙂

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