Thursday, July 5, 2012

Oh my poor garden!

The unknown summer continues here for me in Central Ohio. Two factors are combining into one of the worst garden years I've ever had. I'm still recovering from a knee injury and minor surgery, so I can't get around very well. We are also suffering with extreme heat and drought. It's a bad combination.
 I've had hubby out watering for me almost daily, and while I so much appreciate his help, it's not the same thing as monitoring the health of your garden on your own. When I do get out there, I find the Japanese beetles ravaging what few roses have managed to bloom in the heat. I find plants struggling to survive, and inexplicably dying. I find everything needs to be deadheaded. I find few plants even bothering to bloom till the heat lets up. It's not a pretty sight. Not to mention that we have had lots of company lately, and they come expecting to find my famous flowers in bloom. It makes me sad.
For instance, I have terrible luck growing delphiniums. I've tried so many times, with little success. This year I wanted to give it one last shot, and just as a bud stalk went up, the terrible derecho storm blew through and snapped it off. How depressing! One lonely little delphinium showed it's flowers for me, so I have to treasure it's lonely bloom.
My little hibiscus tree was refusing to bloom, and the leaves were turning yellow. Now it has decided to bloom again, but as soon as a flower appears, the Japanese beetles come and devour the blooms. Poor little thing.
This Mexican sunflower is doing okay, but the others near the back door are covered in spider mites. I hope it's attracting butterflies, but it's in a spot around the corner where I rarely see it these days.
My beloved coneflowers are doing okay, those that have survived. So many of them did not come back this year, despite the mild winter. They are often nibbled gently around the edge, but I try not to notice. In the background here, you will see a yellow and pink achillea intertwined. I'm particularly fond of the pink one, because it was a rescue from my old Michigan garden. I had given some of it to my MIL, and I noticed last year that it was barely surviving there at her house. I scooped it out, brought it here, and it's starting to catch on. I love having remnants of my old garden!
Another favorite here are black eyed susans, and they have begun to bloom. Yes, they are also being nibbled by something, but at least they are a bright and cheerful golden spot in the garden. Besides, from a distance you can't even see the munch marks!
 But I must admit I have seen an endless array of bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds around the butterfly bush just outside the sliding glass door. It warms my heart to see them there, even if I am not fast enough to capture them on film. I also see baby praying mantis often on the glass door and screens. I have no idea it's the same one, but he makes me smile to see him standing his ground. He's small, but fierce!
There are other sad tales to tell, but as a gardener, it just makes me depressed. Even one of my butterfly bushes is looking burned and sad. I thought they were pretty much indestructible. So I'll try to look at the bright side, as it was. The veggie garden actually looks lovely! Soon, we'll be eating cucumbers and after that, the green beans and tomatoes. Peppers are a way off yet, as is the basil. But I'll take what I can get in this summer of frustration. 


  1. This has sure been a trying year in the garden. I am amazed at the lose of flowers over such a mild winter. I have lost track. LOL! You take care now and just get well.

  2. I feel for you, Robin! I posted about some of my poor flowers today, too. You'll have to check out my blog. I planted my basil in a pot this year instead of the ground, and it's doing fantastic. I think the other years that it was in the ground, some kind of insect got to it.

  3. That is a really nice shot of the pretty blue fly. However did you get it so close? I hope your knee heals up soon!

  4. Hope your knee is getting better and recovers quickly. The heat must be really hard on your plants. The ones you photographed look good. Hopefully the others will survive and recover. Plants can often withstand extremes so fingers crossed. We're getting the opposite of course in Northern Ireland - buckets of rain.

  5. Robin girl I am so sorry you are having such a difficult time .. I hope the knee is mending (do NOT strain yourself with it and undo the good !!).. the heat and drought is a double whammy on the garden let alone those horrible beetles .. so far I haven't seen any, but that doesn't mean they aren't here .. I have only the one lily .. Casa Blanca and I keep checking on it to see if those nasty bugs are eating it ... cone flowers and the Susans help us get through the damage being done .. even the good insects can take our minds off to it for a little while too thankfully ... I have yet to see a Praying Mantis but I know there are some in Kingston because another garden friend of mine has seen them in her garden ! LOL
    Try not to be disheartened .. I know it can be so depressing to see your hard work being eaten or dried up .. but when Autumn comes and some cooler weather with it .. cutting back the damage and letting the roots get ready to rest for winter .. well, it will come back in the Spring again and look lovely !
    So hang in there girl ... the good garden is under the bad looking one at the moment !
    Now rest that knee girl !!!

  6. Oh Robin ~ I feel your pain. I would be beside myself if I were laid up in this heat & drought. No one loves their garden quite like the gardener. It is a double whammy. Hang in there & I agree with Joy ~ don't hurry the mending process. Even tho I understand the temptation! Hopefully the plants will rebound whenever we get some relief.
    p.s. Inspired by you, I brought some new echinaceas home but still haven't found 'Green Envy!' Darn it.

  7. June started out so nice and sweet and my garden look amazing, then came the HEAT! So is the life of a gardener. We just know cooler weather and a lazy day of rain can't be too far off. I hope!


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