Distressed from heat and drought the first yellow flowers of Rudbeckia hirta ‘Irish Eyes’ are opening with petals already streaked with brown. This cultivar gets its name from the green center.
A plant division taken last year is faring better than its parent near the garden’s southern entrance, where it waves above the four-foot gate.
Yesterday I explored the garden and though the heat has been keeping the gardener away, there is activity in this ecosystem.
This morning a steady rain sounds against the roof. From the upstairs window I watch goldfinches dart between spent stalks of verbena and echinacea, supplying bright sunny color to the gray morning.
Early into the record-setting heat of July, the garden became quickly desiccated. The change was dramatic and yet, from the window there is green again in the garden. Plants stand refreshed. Will this rain be restorative? For a time I think so, but the rain stops.
July 3 – 8, 2012. This area of North Carolina set a record for having six consecutive days with temperatures above 100 degrees F. (Most days were hotter and heat indexes were around 110.)
July 8’s 105-degree day tied the record for highest temperature ever recorded for this area and beat the previous record of 103 set in 1977 for the date July 8.
Despite last Friday’s big thunder and wind event that sent two trees crashing down in the garden, July has been seriously hot and dry. That afternoon storm brought an hour of much needed rain, but the severe heat wave continued through the weekend. The heat wave finally broke on Monday leaving the area feeling noticeably cooler with highs in the mid-eighties, even bringing occasional, spotty showers.
Winter and spring were marked by abundant rainfall that left the garden lush and verdant. Rains stopped around mid-June while temperatures steadily rose. Early into July’s record-setting heat the garden responded by shutting down. Now rain is forecast for a couple of days.