We are halfway through meteorological summer and halfway through the “Dog Days.” How does your garden look?
It’s okay if you said “tired,” “dry,” burned up” or some such thing. Keeping a garden going all summer is a real challenge and an art. There have been hundreds if not thousands of books written about it.
What I don’t want to hear is “this is not my growing season,” (unless you live in the southern hemisphere.) Try telling that to the numerous Botanic Gardens all over the south. Do you expect they can get away with that? They have to have gardens that look good all summer long. There is plenty that looks good–and is water-wise–in Florida and Texas and New Mexico and Denver–in the heat of the summer. I know this from personal experience. I’ve been to most of those Botanic gardens in the heat. If you don’t know what those plants are, go to your local Botanic gardens. If you don’t like those plants, that’s a different story.
So now that we’ve established that folks can find out what grows in their region in mid-summer, how do you go about getting some of those plants into the garden in a sensible way?
The sensible way is not to go out and buy those plants and plant them when it’s 90-100 degrees, of course. Even I am trying to limit what I plant right now since we are in the middle of a drought advisory (although, since I do have a couple of shrubs still in pots, the sensible thing to do is to get them in the ground and water them sustainably rather than to continue to water them every day!)
The sensible thing is to try to find plants earlier in the season–when the heat is not at its worst–and to plant them then. That means doing your research now and planting next spring–or for those of you in the south with a longer growing season, planting this fall, if you can find the plants you want to add to the garden.
But don’t just settle for tired, burned up sad looking gardens in July. It doesn’t have to be that way. With a little research, you can have a vibrant, sustainable, lovely garden all summer long.
Oh, and about that photo above? It’s almost all native plants. That makes these blooms fairly drought resistant once they are established. And they are great for the wildlife as well (in fact, they are a little too great in my drought! A rabbit has been helping itself to the echinacea plants. That’s never happened before. Poor thing probably needs a little extra nourishment and moisture!)