Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?

Well, I'm not Mary, but I am contrary!  You almost have to be to garden in Texas!  Why?  The heat!  Here's the scoop: 111 degrees F today is the prediction.  Temperatures have been ranging between 105 and 111 degrees for over a week, over 100 degrees for over a month, with no end in sight.  Lows in high 80's - last night's low was 88.

How does the garden stand it?  Is there anything alive out there?  Gardeners all over Texas are complaining.  So, I thought I needed to post how it's affecting my garden.  Let's take a tour:

The front looks good and green.  Dwarf Indian Hawthorns look remarkably well, Ebb Tide and Julia Child are blooming, although Julia has a case of rust (she's shaded until late in the day).  The jasmine on the arbor is growing like crazy, and I need to tie it up - it's just been too hot to work outside much!

James Galway resides behind Ebb Tide, and he's full of leaves:

Except his new growth is getting burned:

We walk around to the boxwood lined beds:

The boxwood is not fazed by the heat, and has new growth on it.  There are not a lot of plants in this area, as I'm in the middle of re-doing it.  The lantana has seen better days, but it looked this way last year, so I'm not concerned.

This bring us around to the walking garden.

Which is still inviting.

Even though this camellia's leaves are burned:

The south side looks pretty good:

Except I've had to replace a couple of plants that died due to drought.  (The cannas are the replacement.)

The north side is also holding up well:

In fact, this bed is surprising me with blooms.  I never expected anything to bloom in this heat!  Yes, I need to mow, but again - I can only do so much in this heat.

Some of the tender blooms are showing signs of burning:

But this bed still has the capacity to enchant:

Moving on, the pond garden is always refreshingly green, but the water plants don't like the excessive heat.  The lotus looks bad every year, and then usually makes a surprising come back when the weather cools a bit.  I hope this year will be no exception.

We're arriving now at main rose garden.  A lot of the companion plantings are cut down right now.

And most of the roses are resting, but there are still a few that continue to delight me with their capacity to bloom in this heat:

We walk east to a newly planted bed.  This bed has the most casualties.  I'm starting to pull them out and replace them.  These plants all died from the drought.

Not everything died, though, and there are parts that look pretty good.

Do you see the dead rose (below)?  Look closely - a new plant is coming up from its roots.  I have yet to cut down the dead parts, but I'll get to it eventually!  Something else to do on my ever-expanding list of garden chores, which is getting longer every day this heat wave continues.  I work outside in the morning, but only for an hour or two.  I want to work for many more years in the future, and am not willing to risk heat exhaustion.

Moving on, we pass by a few knockouts:

The only knockouts that are not doing well are the ones that were not getting sufficient water.  The flower carpet roses look fine.  Weeds always grow, no matter the weather.  Just something else to put on my list!

I've never posted a tour of my garden, and I didn't expect to do one under these types of circumstances.  But I am pleased with my garden.  Given the heat and stress it is undergoing right now, I think it looks pretty good.  No, make that - given the heat and stress, I think it looks great!  I have to thank my husband for working so hard to give it the water it needs.

That's my garden.  All these pictures were taken this morning.  In a couple of weeks, things may look worse.  Or better!  There's always hope that something will break this heat wave!


  1. I feel for you. You have it worse than us, but you always do down there. The heat is extreme here and no end in sight. I've also lost quite a number of new things this year to burn up. I keep hoping August is going to surprise us also and be cool. :)
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. I have been working early in my garden the last two mornings and trying to focus on the things that are doing well, and thinking about what might need to be moved. I took some pictures this morning of the plants that are downright thriving in this heat, which is hard to imagine -- salvias, blackfoot daisy, turk's cap, ornamental grasses, zexmenia, heliotrope, melampoduium, vinca, just to name some. Looks like you've got your list too :-) Yea for a little encouragement in these difficult days. Hang in there!

  3. I cannot imagine how you function with that kind of heat! It's been unusually hot and humid here, too, but nothing like what you have had to endure. Plants are pretty resiliant, roses included, if they get water. As soon as things cool down, they will grow and flower again.

  4. Your garden still looks lovely, even in the middle of this desert heat wave. :) I would probably have to set my alarm for midnight if I wanted to garden...I don't think I could make it in that heat! Be careful!

  5. In spite of your awful hot temps your gardens do look darn great! It is horrible working out in the heat. I wanted to do more this morning, but my body said 'enough already', get inside. I did mow yesterday and rain is predicted the rest of the week, so I got that done just in time.

    I hope it cools off for you soon.

    Thanks for the tour.


  6. Du har en smuk have, selv med al den varme.
    Tak for kigget.

  7. Oof, that heat sounds brutal, and so relentless! Your garden does look lovely and refreshing, though--what a pleasure to be able to look out at all that greenery and those beautiful roses or to wander down the walking path (first thing in the morning). I hope you get some respite soon!

  8. Cher - What a wonderful though - a cool August! I'm going to dream of that tonight!

    Toni - It's amazing that any plant can do well in this heat, but there are a few. They certainly do deserve to have a bigger stake in our gardens.

    Connie - I'm waiting for it to cool - just a few degrees would make a big difference! I'm hoping when it does cool down, the roses will put on a big flush.

    Hanni - I don't do much out there, as you can tell from all the chores that are piling up. I worry about people that have to work outside in this heat. It's just not safe.

    FlowerLady - I'm glad you're getting some rain, and that you listen when your body says "enough!". I'm hoping the heat will end before I lose any more plants.

    Landbohaven - Thank you. I'm amazed that some of the plants are not only living, but growing!

  9. Stacy - Yes, first thing in the morning is about the only time I'll go out. Any other time and I'm blown away by the heat - amazed that the entire place hasn't turned into dry sand!

  10. Isn't it amazing how some plants are tough enough to bloom and do OK in this terrible heat? Sorry you've lost some plants. The new rose popping up under the dead roots of the other one is a nice treat though! Hope you get some relief soon. Here in DC we're supposed to cool down to the high 80s tomorrow. Woohoo!

  11. For the most part, your garden is holding up extremely well to the heat. You must have planned it very well.

  12. Holley, we are having the warmest winter I can remember here. temperatures feel like spring temperatures when it should be cold. it's like we only had a month of winter (June) the rest has been springlike, and the plants are acting that way too. your garden looks lovely despite the heat! love all your roses!

  13. Holley, your are gardening under truly extreme circumstances. This heat is unbelievable and I am very surprised that your garden is looking that great and that there are even plants blooming right now. Honestly I don't know how you keep the garden in this shape, you must work incredible hard. The last two days our highest temperatures in the day time were 89 degrees Fahrenheit, which is slightly hotter than it was many days prior to that and I feel the garden's need for water is climbing with each degree of Fahrenheit that is been added. My garden is already on the edge with these temperatures and I really can't imagine how it would look with temps in the 100's. Truly wishing you that this heat wave ends soon! I admire your perseverance and courage in terms of gardening under these conditions!

  14. Bumble Lush - Glad someone is cooling down! :) Even us tough Texans aren't used to these temperatures, and yes, it is amazing that the plants can take it. I would combust if I had to stay out there!

    Sage Butterfly - hahaha - Oh, yeah, that's right - I planned it well! ;)

    Gardening Blog - I hope you don't have a late winter and hurt the plants. Our winter last year was odd, too. It was like an extended fall. Finally we got some cold, but very late and it didn't last very long. I love the roses more and more if they can take this heat!

    Christina - I'm amazed anything is blooming in this heat, too. I'm most proud of the nice foliage that most of the roses have. I'm hoping to have an incredible fall once the weather cools and the roses start to bloom again. I guess all we can do is hope and look forward.

  15. Is boxwood not amazing, it whines at nothing. Man are your temps intimidating.

  16. GWGT - I was thinking about boxwood the other day, and how I need even more of it! It really does well, and doesn't need much water, either. A real winner here!

  17. I sure hope the heatwave breaks soon. It's got to be discouraging not being able to garden because of the heat. All things considered, your garden looks really, really nice.

  18. It never ceases to amaze me how well everyone's garden seems to manage and bloom in that heat. Sounds like the most important blooms ie the gardeners are suffering the most!

  19. Your garden is faring well in the heat. So many have just burned up this year. It seems like all I do is water... Dreaming of cooler days and brighter blooms....

  20. How strange to be sitting in Yorkshire, England (in Bronte Country) and read about all the heat problems you have... when the only sound I hear is the steady fall of heavy summer rain. I can't get out to do any gardening at all in this, so I have an excuse for a wander around other people's gardens in the blogosphere! Hope you all get some rain and cooler weather soon :-)
    The Time Sculptor's Secret

  21. Thankfully you do have the water to give your plants. They are faring well despite the heat. We have had high humidity with the heat but not the temps you've seen. I tried to trim lavender yesterday and was dripping wet but gave it up after I got stung on the back of my hand. I decided it could wait for another cooler day.

    Thanks for the garden tour. I enjoyed it.

  22. Grace - It is discouraging not to be able to be out there. It's like another winter, but with sunshine! I think the garden has held up well, and hope it continues to do so until we get some relief!

    Janet - You're right. It's more upsetting psychologically than anything else! Mentally I'm ready to go outside, but physically unable to do so.

    redneckrosarian - I feel for the gardeners whose gardens have not fared as well. It's discouraging to put your love into the garden, only to have it die due to a fluke in the weather. Stay cool while you're watering. Even that chore gets unbearable in this heat!

    Jane - You're stuck inside like I am! I hope your garden is loving the rains, and that it's not raining too much. Glad you stopped by.

    Marcia - I am so thankful we put in the well - just in the nick of time, too! Sorry about the sting. I saw a butterfly the other day, and wondered how the bugs, bees, and other insects could stand this heat!

  23. That's a huge garden and it does look like it is doing well despite the heat. You guys have been so hot. Yesterday my thermometer registered 104 (in the shade). It's the hottest ever and my goodness it was awful so I so sympathize with you all. We Marys just can't give up though:)

  24. Your garden looks so stunning, if you hadn't said it was being heat-stressed every day for weeks on end, I would have never known. Hearing three digit temps is enough to make me sweat sitting in the AC! Your garden is just gorgeous despite the grueling conditions, you have chosen plants that can survive it and this is so wise. All too often I pick things that just don't thrive here. I hope the temperatures cool down and some nice, gentle rain arrives soon.

  25. Wow, it's amazing how adaptable plants are.

  26. tina - It's a chore just to go outside and turn on the water! lol I feel for anyone that has to be out in this for over just a few minutes. 104 is not fun, either! No, we Marys can't give up!

    Karen - If things don't make it here, I rarely replace it with the same thing. There are so many different plants I want to try, anyway! Oh, a gentle rain would be dreamy. Even some cloud coverage would be nice!

    Carolyn - Isn't it? Although I'm wondering how much longer some of them can hang on. I don't dare miss a day of watering!

  27. Your garden looks great, I especially like the walking garden. Even some roses are blooming despite the heat. I hope you will have a milder fall, and more things will come back...

  28. Masha - It's my favorite right now, too. But that's just because it's a little older and the plants are more mature and filled out. In another year or two I hope the main rose bed will be just as beautiful in my eyes. It will be nice to have cooler temps this fall. I hope we get some rains then!

  29. I love a garden tour. It's always nice to see a little further out than close ups of the flowers and get a sense of how the garden flows together. I agree that your garden is doing admirably despite the weather.

  30. I would never know from your photos that you've had 100+ weather for weeks on end. Seriously. My garden looks worse, and we only had 100+ heat indexes for about a week or so. Back to 80s and 70s now, so I am very happy!

  31. It's amazing to see what your garden doing so well in all the heat. I don't envy you though. I'm just glad to be living in Canada right now.

  32. It's late and that didn't make much sense the way I wrote it.

  33. Wow considering the heat, so many of your plants are looking great! I hope your Camellia is ok, I have such a soft spot for that finicky plant, its a love/hate thing! Your garden is looking gorgeous, such a relief =)

  34. Holley, despite the heat and a bit of damage on certain plants, the garden is still looking great :) Glad to see 'dead' rose making a come back and I like your replacement Cannas, gorgeous colour!

  35. Appreciate you coming by my blog and I like your blog. Our heat is really bad also. Working on getting my own gardens finished. I'm following now and thanks.
    Ohio Outdoors

  36. Marguerite - Although there has been some damage, and I've had to replace a few plants, I really couldn't be happier with my garden. I hope it will be able to take a few more days or a few more weeks of this - it will probably take a hurricane to change the weather here.

    PlantPostings - We won't get back to 70's until October or so! I bet your garden looks great, although I'm certain your garden wasn't used to such high heat (or you, either!). We're not used to the duration of the heat, or quite the intensity, but we do have 100 degree weather usually for a day or two every year.

    Carol - You made perfect sense. I don't envy you your winters!

    Julia - I love camellias, too. That one is in more sun than the rest. I don't want to move it, though, so it'll just have to get tough!

    Mark and Gaz - That rose was such a surprise! I'm glad I didn't dig up the dead plant immediately (one good thing about being lazy!). I thought the dark canna leaves were striking, too. I think they'll look great next to the golden barberry there.

    Ohio Outdoors - Welcome! Good luck on getting your gardens finished. It's been many years for me, and I'm still not finished with mine, either!


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