Closing Out June — Yellowing, Browning, Wilting, Crisping

Despite many ominous indicators around the garden, Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ cheerfully showed itself off in the new front garden.

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

I worry most about the shrubs and trees, which take so long to establish and are so expensive to replace. Inexplicably though, I spend the most time watering the Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes,’ which is ever so close to blooming, and also the patch of annuals where this morning I discover the first zinnia flower of the summer. Last year’s ‘Blue Point’ Juniper hedge gets a reasonable amount of water.

Watering the garden is something I rarely do, but for two of the last three days I have entered the garden very early and dragged around a water hose, encouraging selected plants to deeply soak in as much as possible of this cool, wet offering in preparation for serious times ahead.

The garden’s situation is diminishing rapidly as no appreciable rain has fallen here in a few weeks. The temperature was 105°F. yesterday and today is 102°F. so far this mid-afternoon. (These days forecasts are frequently supplemented with the feels like number, so I must add it currently feels like 105°F. if one takes the heat index into account.)

How do the plants like it? Much of the Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ is shriveled and no longer blooming. Shasta daisies are wilting, wilting, with many of the 4-foot stems simply flopping over. Other floppers include the northern border’s rosy Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower), which tends to land askew, pushing anything nearby down as well.

Almost evergreen here most years, the foliage of German bearded iris is yellowing throughout the garden. [Those irises really need to be divided this year.] Tall fescue lawn never tolerates the summer well and is a crispy brown, receding visibly and opening up patches of hard, cracked earth where weeds are waiting to take hold.

The garden always holds some measure of optimism. Just as I had begun to worry about it, thyme in the meditation circle (Thymus x citriodorus (Silver Edge Thyme)) presented a tiny little bloom yesterday. And today’s early morning walk around the meditation path was peaceful and full of sighs.

Thymus x citriodorus (Silver Edge Thyme)

Since starting to write this article our neighborhood lost electricity due to the demands from the serious heat wave. After 45 minutes it has come back on. Other neighbors across the highway were without power for 4 hours.

5 thoughts on “Closing Out June — Yellowing, Browning, Wilting, Crisping

  1. Cathy

    I know how you feel as the same has happened here, and everything is slowly frazzling… until yesterday. We had a thundery night and it is raining in torrents! I hope you get some relief soon too. How does your lavender stand up to the heat? Mine is looking browned already.

    1. pbmgarden Post author

      Wow. Very sorry to hear that Cathy. Hope your stormy weather has settled down. Is it normal for things to be frazzling there so early? It’s unusual for us to have such prolonged high temperatures. The lavender leaves still look ok but the flowers have dried up. Actually there are so many areas currently in the U.S. with fire and storm damages, I have to say things could be a lot worse, so in the large scheme of things, of course, my little backyard is insignificant. But it is remarkable to observe a place day-to-day as I do this garden, and notice such dramatic shifts.

      1. Cathy

        We have had a couple of very dry May-June periods in recent years, but it is unusual. This April/May was very hot, and extremely dry and I really feared for my plants – the same for the past two weeks… till yesterday’s and today’s rain! Things don’t usually frazzle until August… but a “usual” gardening year doesn’t really exist, does it?! 😉

  2. Christina

    I have to reporrt the same here. Although mid-July and August are the months when plants really begin to suffer from the prolonged drought, this year that has begun to happen in mid-June. Like you I am guiltily using a hose to help certain plants. Christina


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