Thursday, August 30, 2012

The drought continues... Dadgummit!

Dead Ginkgo in Waverly.
There is still no relief from the unrelenting drought of 2012. Last weekend brought an 80% chance of a good rain, and yet it just ended up spitting a bit. Which made me mad enough to spit. Since mid-June in Waverly where I live, we've only had a few light showers here and there totalling perhaps a half inch. A half inch of moisture for the entire summer!! I've never seen anything like it. The soil is cracking wide enough now that small dogs are disappearing! Much of the landscape is now a disheartening tan-brown and drab. I must admit that it's hard to stay enthused about things in the landscape this year. Many of the stalwart perennials are looking rough and there are very few blooms to punctuate the summer drabness. I often find myself thinking that it would be good if a frost came along and just ended the growing season and put us all out of our misery.

Dotted Gayfeather - Liatris punctata
Along with most non-irrigated perennials, many woody plants are really struggling or have just given up the ghost. Things that have caught my eye include young ginkgos, magnolias, Japanese maples, white pines, flowering dogwoods, and several types of viburnums. The most glaring struggle is perhaps revealed in the many brown and crispy burning bushes (Euonymus alatus) seen around Lincoln. They definitely have "burned" up this year. I don't mourn their passing as they're mostly out of place here anyhow.

But then I take a closer look at the landscape and am pleasantly surprised to see many plants hanging on, some producing flowers and fruits, and making me wonder how anything can survive with such little moisture. Species that have caught my eye in a positive perspective include most oak trees, our native burning bush (Eastern Wahoo - Euonymus atropurpureus), gray dogwood, most native grasses, several native perennials including ironweed and dotted gayfeather, stiff goldenrod, compass plant, etc. All is certainly not lost and Mother Nature is telling us something if we care to listen: "Work with me here folks and your gardens can flourish even in a bad drought year".

Ironweed - Vernonia baldwinii

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