Several blogger friends have recently been writing Winners and Losers posts, touting the virtues of plants sailed through this summer’s adverse conditions, and lamenting which ones didn’t (here and here). Heaven knows it’s been a hot summer, and our spring was so miserably dry. Today, I had a very interesting conversation with Tamara of Chickadee Garden fame. We were talking about how – although some plants are listed all over the internet as “drought resistant” they truly aren’t holding up at all, without some liquid help. For example, Susan (in the first link) remarked that Echinaceas don’t at all live up to their reputation of purported toughness. This prompted the thought that lots of things have changed since the internet (which we now all rely so heavily upon) was first instigated back in the early 90’s. Maybe Echinaceas truly were drought tolerant back then. I mean, before our summers all of a sudden had 30 days over 90F, and we had to water excessivly in June. Tamara, who is of the organized sort, added support to this notion. She had looked in her garden diary, at an entry from 2015, where she had jotted down that we had just broken a heat record with 15 (I think it was) days over 90F. That was only three years ago, and this year, a mere 15 days of that kind of heat sounds quite benevolent, by comparison.
I wonder what this means? At the rate we’re going, maybe by 2023, we’ll have 60 days over 90. And, in another ten years, maybe any summer temps under 100F will feel cool? I don’t know, but my point is that the concept of “drought tolerant” likely is a moving target. Today’s Manzanitas might be tomorrow’s pansies? Well, hopefully not, but you know what I mean.