Monday, November 2, 2015

Garden casualties

This has been a pretty strange weather year so far. This spring and early summer, we had so much rain that the Arkansas River was at flood stage for weeks. The River Trail still had portions under water well into summer. Then, all of a sudden, it stopped raining and got hot. We didn't have as many days over 100 as we did in 2012, but it was hot and dry for a long time. Enough so that we entered a flash drought. Did you know that was even a thing? I didn't. 

Malcolm and I did our best to keep things watered, but there are some areas of the backyard that are hard to reach properly, and as a result, there were some casualties. The most vexing to me is the jasmine I had planted alongside the fence. When I planted it, I had visions of it growing and overtaking the entire stretch of fence, as I remember seeing jasmine do once in Laguna Beach California. Turns out jasmine is not a fan of drought and low humidity, and despite (semi) regular watering, it dried out as crispy as an overcooked potato chip. I plan to cut it back to the ground and hope that maybe it comes back in the spring, but if I am honest, I am pretty sure it is toast.

The other primary casualties were three rose bushes; one miniature one that was here when we moved in, and two that I planted. They all have had problems with dropping leaves and rust and so forth, so it wasn't a huge surprise when they succumbed. That bed is also impossible to grow anything in, apart from a crepe myrtle, one or two day lilies, and a scraggly hosta. I tried to get lemon balm to grow there, since it seems to like trying to take over my vegetable garden, and it died. Same with the other various supposedly hardy plants I have tried. Now I am thinking of turning that area into a little pebble garden. I could make zen designs in the gravel. 

Surprisingly, the kale I planted way back in the spring is still going strong. It slowed down a bit over the summer, but it is still growing plenty of leaves and has mostly taken over half of one of the raised beds. The other bonus in the garden is the volunteer Thai basil. While we bought a set of Thai basil this year, I planted them in pots on the deck, where they grew but didn't thrive. But as the garden started growing this spring, I noticed several plants of what appeared to be basil, growing among the tomatoes and peas, and I let them go. I figure they must have come from the compost in our bins, after I threw the spent flowers in there last year. 

That is gardening for you - heartbreak and lovely surprises.

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