Perennial gardens love rainy days, but the vegetables, tropicals and annuals, not so much. The tropical plants are shivering in their little holes. I keep telling them to hang on. It will get hot again.
My garden has had over sixteen inches of rain in the last few weeks. I started out counting, but I didn’t keep up so I don’t know the exact amount. The vegetable garden looks nearly drowned, but I know it will be okay. I lost a few plants which I wrote about in a vegetable garden update. I just replaced them. Even the best gardeners kill plants so don’t feel bad when it happens to you.
Fortunately, since our weather has stayed cool, most nurseries and box stores have plenty of tomatoes, peppers and basil. I also planted basil seeds. I love basil.
Nature turned on the spigot in late April, and it’s rained nearly everyday since. We were in a terrible five-year drought so we needed the rain. Oklahoma City, which is just south of me, broke it’s all-time record for the most rain in a month. We haven’t had flooding here, but the Cimarron River, a few miles north of me, is very high. Normally, it looks more like this. However, I took a photo of it on May 17, as we drove over the bridge. It was nearly at flood stage then, but now it’s swallowing houses along the edge and is flowing right beneath the bridge. I think we’ve had six more inches of rain at my house this week. The river is that lovely shade of red because of all the soil washed down into it.
Mr. Sun is out this morning although we have thunderstorms forecast for later tonight. I went outside and thinned seedlings. I know this much about Oklahoma–the weather will change. We’ll be complaining about the heat in July and August, but I’m so grateful to see raindrops glistening in sunlight. No clouds this morning. Just a gorgeous blue sky.
In the meantime, here’s the plants really happy this year. Hydrangeas and daylilies top the list. Both love water. Hydrangea even comes from the Greek word, hydro, meaning water so you can guess they are rejoicing this spring. All are just starting to bloom. Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ leads the charge with H. arborescens ‘Annabelle’ and H. paniculata Quick Fire® coming up quickly behind.
When you shop, pay attention to the species of hydrangea you’re trying to grow. Panicle (paniculata) and oak leaf (quercifolia) hydrangeas are much easier to grow in Oklahoma than mopheads (macrophylla.)
In fact, I can’t grow any of the H. macrophylla very well. I know some people in Oklahoma City can, but that shows the difference in microclimates. It gets so hot and cold where I live, that mopheads can’t seem to cope. I also don’t have the protection that you get in an urban garden because I live in the country.
I am trying H. serrata Tiny Tuff Stuff™ from Proven Winners this year. The plant is tiny so I’ll let you know how it does in coming years. ‘Limelight’, ‘Pinky Winky’ and Little Lime® are just starting to form buds. I have a hydrangea show that will go on for months. Some hydrangeas can even survive full sun if they receive consistent water, but most like at least a little shade. Who doesn’t?
The whole garden is draped in emeralds with only a ruby or two from plants with red leaves.
Not much is blooming because of cloudy skies, but it won’t be long before everything breaks out. Daylilies are scaping, and it should be quite a show in two weeks–just in time for our local daylily show open to the public on June 20, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Will Rogers Park. You should come. It’s fun to see what’s blooming in everyone’s garden. I added many new cultivars this year so they are small single or double fans, but the rain will make them mighty.
Everyone has asked about my crapemyrtles. We had that early and very hard freeze last year. They all were shocked by winter’s rude behavior when it muscled out fall. Several of my crapemyrtles died back to the ground. ‘Pink Velour’ didn’t. It was the hardiest of them all. Smaller cultivars seemed especially hard hit, but that may be because they are young. However, all are recovering rapidly. They will be fine this summer. Just cut off anything that looks dead at this point because they are fully out of dormancy. If you don’t see live growth, that part of the branch is dead.
My perennial garden is singing a happy song. Even the hostas are happy for a change. I look forward to the culmination in summer and fall, but I’m enjoying now too. Let’s hope the rain gives Oklahoma and Texas a rest though. We need a little sun to grow.