Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Rain is Like a Butterfly

The more you chase it, the more it will elude you.

After reading my comments on my last post, I chuckled.   Many people were confused and confounded as to why I would haul my potted stuff inside when a storm is on the horizon.  My answer to this is simple.

I'm a Control Freak. 

Indian Summer rudbeckias everywhere, but mildew is taking a toll.

When the rest of my dust-bowl garden is starting to go downhill at a rapid rate, I can at least control the moisture levels in the pots and protect them from flying ice cubes should Mother Nature see fit to fling them in my general direction.   My potted plants are the only thing I can protect and monitor, fuss over and fertilize, dead-head and preen in this uncertain gardening world.  They are my pampered pets. 

In dry years, like this one, the only dependable color we'll have are the pots. 

 So, that's why I have such a bizarre tendency to coddle my potted plants.  I'm just silly. 

And I didn't do a very good job protecting them on Monday.  Yesterday was such a bizarre day.  I have a doctor's appointment for a physical coming up on Friday.  The 13th.  Ah, that bodes well, doesn't it?  I'm not superstitious (much) but many of you know my history with the medical community hasn't always been fun. I had to run to the Big City by 8:45 AM to have blood drawn for lab work.  Traffic is not my forte' at all and I so dislike city driving that I was tense to begin with and hadn't slept well the night before.  I made it to and fro with no incidents, thank goodness, and with a bit of time to spare for exercise class.  We'll see how Friday goes when I get the results of the labs. 

Four dump truck loads of black dirt also arrived yesterday which was exciting.  I tried to find good places for the truck driver to dump all the dirt that would make less work for him and us.  No new gardens are on the horizon at the moment, in case you're wondering.  We're trying to downsize, remember?  But it's always good to have topsoil waiting in the wings.  Like a spare car in the garage.  You never know when you might need it. 

But back to the rain ........I find myself simply obsessed.  I'm Rain Crazy.  I swear these storms are just playing head games with me.  Yesterday afternoon the sky grew very dark and there were grumblings and rumblings to our north.  I watched it on radar and it was headed right for us.  We had a garden walk to go to last night about 40 miles south of us and I had to walk the dogs before we could leave.  The dogs and I headed out to the Back Eight to watch this storm approach.  It looked so promising (and I had left my potted plants out for Bait!)   But suddenly, the wind picked up and the doggies and I had to run back to the house as fast as we could.

I put the dogs inside and since Carl wasn't quite ready to leave yet, I told him I was going to take the car out back and watch the storm come in.  That's right, I wanted to enjoy every drip of rain and be in the middle of it.  I drove down our lane and sat out in the Eight watching the clouds form over the woods and watched the cornfield and the white pines whip around in the wind. And the dust.

The wind shook my car as I sat and watched the rain take a turn for the east.  And the south. 

Once again, so close and yet so far.  I got grumpy and drove out of our field and down the road to the next mile where it was raining a little.  At least I got the dust off the windshield.  I made a U-turn on the corner and came back home to sunshine and my driveway pots lying in the driveway.  The wind tipped them off the plant stands very effectively.  So much for bait.  They do a great job attracting wind, however.

We drove to the garden walk and followed the storm all the way.  The hosts of the garden received a much-needed, beneficial rain on their beautiful garden.  There were actually puddles after the storm.  Puddles.  We haven't seen puddles since May.  Oh, well, better luck next time.

I've been watering the rest of the garden very sparingly.  The lilies and the hostas are looking  surprisingly quite well yet, but I suspect it has something to do with the 4+ inches of mulch we put down this spring.  There's still some dampness in the soil when I dig down a bit.  We did get a very light misting drizzle for about fifteen minutes on Sunday, but not enough to even settle the dust this time.
The pictures look refreshing though, don't they, with the rain drops hanging on the needles of the pine?

The tall lilies are putting on such a show and their fragrance is everywhere.
The incredible shrinking Quarry Pond is not a pretty sight, but the rudbeckias are going nuts on the hills.  So is the powdery mildew, unfortunately, so I'll be pulling many of them out very soon.  They're self-seeders though, so I don't work very hard for their bountiful blooms.

We did some pruning on the big Scotch pine a few weeks ago and removed many of the lower limbs.  It took some getting used to after we were done, but at least the other trees will have some more light and the hostas seem ok with it.

The Quarry Hill looks tired.
No, those aren't raindrops, just leftover drips from the sprinkler. 

More rudbeckias on the hill we call 'Thing One'. 

The Pachyberm 
I'm going to have to move some of the plants I have on the Pachyberm.  Last year when we took out the perennial bed in the Formal Garden, I moved all the plants I wanted to save to this site.  Now it's rather congested and the heights of the plants need some tweaking.  Alot of tweaking.

Fresh Look celosias are sulking this year

Persian Ruby daylily

Huge flowers....wish they lasted longer than a day.

More Pachyberm and front lawn

Hosta bed on other side of the yard

Hosta 'Liberty' shows up well in front of the big rocks.  Rocks do help hold moisture, too.

These lilies are taking a nap on the stone wall. 

 In case you're wondering about Castle Aaargh.........we're cutting stone again!  But with the hot weather, it's really tough to stand in the full sun and work.  You can just see a glimpse of Aaargh through the gate above.
So, like the saying about happiness and butterflies being elusive, I just have to forgeddaboutthe rain.

I simply need to turn my attention to other things.

Now, where did I leave that soaker hose?


Anonymous said...

Even without the rain your garden is stunning. We still have all the rain sorry! Good luck with the tests had mine done today feel like a pincushion I’m sure the blood lady had fangs!
Hugs SueB

Lona said...

Hi Karen. Your garden looks beautiful even with the lack of rain. We are in desperate need of rain here. Mildew has been a problem here also. The pachyderm looks lovely with all of the Rudbeckia. I love your Persian Ruby lilies. What a bright and beautiful bloom. The orienpet lilies by the fence are just beautiful. I hope we all get some rain soon.

Pamela Gordon said...

Your gardens and property are just stunningly beautiful! It looks so nice and I know you put a lot of hard work into making it that way. I hope you have some rain soon. Blessings, Pamela

Sue said...

Only you could go through a drought and have your garden STILL look better than anyones!
And I am so so so so so jealous of all your rudbeckia's. The deer mowed mine down so close to the ground--I don't think they are going to make it.

FlowerLady said...

In spite of your drought Karen I think your gardens look stunning. I especially love that last photo.

I do hope you get some rain soon.

We had a little during the wee hours of the morning. More was predicted, but nothing yet. I did get a load of wash hung out to dry and brought back in, and mowed too. Oh yea, made a loaf of banana bread also.

Hope all goes well Friday.

Hugs ~ FlowerLady

El Gaucho said...

Sorry to hear that the rain Gods are still actively taunting you. That sure is a testament to the power of mulch (I"m a mulch junkie myself) that there was still some moisture as you dig down. Good luck both on Friday and in finally getting some rain.

Zoey said...

Your gardens still looks quite nice, despite no rain.

We, too, are in need. Our grass is crunchy. We had a bit last Saturday, but it was not enough to do much good. Everything is bone dry in my garden.

After working all day, I have no energy to go out there and water for two hours. I watered the containers and that's all I am doing today.

I can understand pampering your containers. You put so much work into them that it would be a shame to loose them during a storm.

I hope we both get an all-day rain soon!

Sandy said...

Let me tell you.. your garden has flowers and mine have none! We are in the SoFla rainy season. The thunder/lightening storms roll in each afternoon and totally destroy all floral plants. Really, it's Hot and Steaming outside and if you look you see no people. All are inside in the a/c or in their cars.... As funny as this may sound we who live here can't imagine why people come to Florida for vacation in the summer?
I know this is your growing season and you expect much more but I'm lovin your garden as I do each year... simply beautiful!
Take care

Missy said...

I hope you get some nice gentle soaking rain soon. I know your frustration. We live in a valley and when it comes to rain, they call it the Bermuda Triangle. Trademen say that if it's raining elsewhere they can still work in our area because it will be fine. Rain clouds split in two and go either side of us quite often. Watching the rain fall and not getting any can be worse than clear blue skies. Although lately, it's been the opposite we have more than we need and if I could send it to you I would.

Rosemary said...

For the lack of water your garden has an abundance of colour happening.. Gorgeous as usual.......... Dry and hot here having to resort to watering trees ! I too am doing a rain dance but so far not a drop. One would think with all this heat thunderstorms would happen, but they are not!

Sall's Country Life said...

It all looks really beautiful Karen, you must be watering like crazy! We had sprinklers running constantly here last week while the family gathered, heaven forbid they should have to walk across prickly dry grass! You have so many lillies, I would be in heaven just going from patch to patch! Let's hope for a rainy August? Hey, stranger things have happened!

africanaussie said...

that final photo is stunning! I also have no idea how you get your potted plants to just be a solid mass of color. so pretty - I always enjoy a wander through your garden....

Andrea said...

OMG Karen, so your garden looks like these when in full bloom. It is like taken from a glossy garden magazine. I was accustomed to see that area full of rocks, big and small, and some more rocks! Now it changed to a different personality, but of course i am still looking for the big project, the unfinished circle. And you are still funny, like that photo mimicking the rain, hahaha. I hope your health will always be good.

Indie said...

I'm so impressed with how beautiful your garden looks in this weather! Mine looks rather charred! I love all the rudbeckia, so bright and cheerful, especially with the blues right next to them to contrast.

It's been a horrible year for powdery mildew here as well! I've had to cut back quite a few plants to try to revive them.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Dragging around the hose as become my full time job. I hven't had any mildew but the japanese beetles are having a feast.

Your flowers still look great so that mulch is certainly doing its job.


Carol said...

Your garden always makes me smile :0)

Beth said...

Thigs look beautiful, especially quarry hill and the pachyberm. Praying for rain for us all - over 50% of the country is in drought conditions.