Garden Lessons Learned Under Stress

Garden Lessons Learned Under Stress

I am observing both myself and my gardens as we deal with these record high temperatures with no rain. Both of us are under stress and the stress is related. We are both dealing with the effects of the drought and how to handle the stress. However, we have different options in seeking solutions.

Most of the stress I experience related to my gardens is eighty percent psychological, twenty percent physical. I am concerned with the health, wellbeing and appearance of my gardens so that pushes on me to do something. When and just how much of the do is optional. I can work early mornings, perhaps late afternoons, or early evenings moving hoses and sprinklers. When it gets too hot for my comfort level, I can come inside to air conditioning and a cold drink, perhaps catch up on some office work. Maybe even take a nap. The plants in my gardens are not mobile in the same sense as I, so they stand there and take what is dealt, day in and day out. And, of course, some plants do not, cannot, take the heat.

I am watching the ones that are holding up well under the heat and drought with minimal watering, the ones looking good in foliage and/or bloom. A pattern seems to be emerging for some winning this beauty pageant. The foliage and blooms coming from bulbs, tubers and corms, large rhizomes are prominent, All Arisaema are looking good, including the ones that emerged early and are now going into seed production. Some of their relatives from the Arum family are providing great rich-green exotic foliage from tubers. The Lilium bulbs are in flower and continue to come into bloom. Corms such as Cyclamen purpurascens are in full bloom under root competition as well as drought and heat and will still be in bloom come October. Favorite rhizomes are almost any Polygonatum, or Solomons Seal, especially the variegated. They are all using today what they stored up last year, so they only need minimal attention.

So, guess what I will be adding to my garden this fall? It is only logical (as Spock would say) to expect these weather patterns to continue. If this heat and drought does not continue in the years to come, then I am selecting tough plants requiring little attention from me. Adding more tubers, rhizomes, bulbs and corms, I am taking stress off my myself and my gardens.