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Heat and Drought with water bans, toughest year yet...

prairiemoon2 z6b MA
last month
last modified: last month

Last year I had a windfall of rainy weather at just the right times, when I needed it. I barely had to water or take out the sprinkler. It was so unusual, that it was the first time in my garden that all my plants were happy and had a great year with very little effort from me. It made me aware of just how much of a struggle it often is to keep everything watered well and growing well. I saw how well my plants can do with the right amount of water.

I start out fine in the early spring, right into early summer really, but July and August - every year but last year, the garden suffers. This year has been the worst I've ever had. Everything was fine early spring right up until mid June, but even in the early spring, we weren't getting as much rain. Now I can't even keep it watered. My lawn is really burned up. Plants wilt, I hand water and give them a good soaking and by the end of the next day they are wilting again. And I've just cut the flowers off some of my hydrangeas because they just burned to a crisp and that's in shade and part shade. I have two paniculatas in full sun and I've been soaking them every other day, some times every day. Then we got an inch of rain on Friday and today they are all wilting again.

For the first time, I'm considering pulling out plants that require more water and trying to add plants that have the lowest need for water I can find. One plant that has done very well this year even without a lot of extra watering, is epimediums. I knew they were drought tolerant but they've gone above and beyond what I thought they would tolerate. And they look pretty good too.

The other thing I am considering, is developing a much more extensive system of rain collection and irrigation. We are on town water and I dread looking at the water bill for this year. I've been hand watering just to prevent the plants from burning up all together and not coming back next year. Not to keep them looking great, because most of them look awful at this point. Definitely thinking about pulling out all my hydrangeas. I'd like to hold onto the paniculatas, but I am thinking about moving them into part sun.

Anyone else having a difficult gardening summer? Have any plans to make changes?

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