Our last rainfall, noted on my calendar, was an afternoon shower on 10th June. Heavy rain on 26th and 27th May shattered roses and foxglove, splattered muddy soil onto tomato plants.
For more than two weeks Jim has watered the garden each evening. I carry water to planters near the front steps; rosemarys summering on the east porch are watered each morning.
Nearly every afternoon the sky is overlaid with grey clouds, a hot restless wind stirs the trees that rim the north and south ravines. The weather ribbon that runs across the bottom of my PC screen declares "Rain Coming"--but it doesn't.
There was a brief moment last week when the wind carried a scent of rain--an elusive promise never fulfilled. By mid-afternoon the sun strikes the back porch, beating in hotly from the south-west. Laundry pegged out earlier stiffens in the heat.
The west wall garden has to survive on its own without supplemental moisture once plants are established. The soil is shallow there; in the right foreground of the photo you can see that the blue prairie sage , not yet in bloom, is starting to wilt at the tips.
During lunch today I glanced through the little window at the top of the front door--and noted a flash of color in the sunflower row.
The back of a sunflower is nearly as intriguing as its face.
Some of my sunflowers are from saved seed; last August goldfinches descended on the flower heads as soon as seed began to ripen and there was only a little left for me to glean.
I picked up several packets of novelty sunflowers from an inexpensive line of seeds; each season I try for a few that are a bit different hoping that I can salvage seed for another summer.
New England asters started from seed last year. This color surprised me. If you look closely you can spot the more conventional purple behind them. I suspect that our hot dry weather has forced them into bloom ahead of time.
This front bed needs to be over hauled. The asters and other prairie wildflowers are too tall and lanky for this shallow raised bed--they flop forward and overwhelm plants at the edge.
My plans for extending the west garden as well as moving plants from this space are on hold until cooler weather and the end of the drought.
A flock of eight guineas appeared late in January. I first heard their distinctive chatter and saw them near the pond at the end of the lane. They became regular visitors, usually strolling through as a group, sometimes with a few straggling behind.
Often on my way back from the mailbox I saw them trundling across a neighboring field.
In early May I realized they had gone away. I know that guinea fowl refuse to 'stay home' and are prone to disappearing, still I missed them and hoped they hadn't become a meal for foxes or coyotes.
Two weeks ago I heard guineas chattering in a gulley below the pond, but until last week we hadn't seen them. Walking up the lane past the neighbor's cow pasture I noticed a heap of white feathers lying out in the rough grass. Prudently, I didn't climb the gate and prowl amongst the cattle to verify that one of the two white guineas had likely met with disaster.
All this past week three speckled and one white guinea have made their rounds through the dooryard. Today another speckled bird was with the group.
Do we consider that only the five remain of the original eight?
Jim is watching to make sure they don't show an interest in the ripe tomatoes!
Daylilies and bee balm hold their own against invasive weeds and rough grass in the strip along the drive. Many hours of strenuous digging, many bags of bark mulch, have not deterred hardy native weeds. A few roots of gooseneck loosestrife hastily poked in with the first transplants proved to be a mistake. I regularly yank it out from around the peonies and the three shrub roses, but it thrives on abuse. I moved a clump of dwarf monarda before it was completely engulfed and rescued two phlox. A white coneflower bloomed in the tangle last week and will be somehow tagged so that it can be moved.
I can no longer garden in day-long marathons, but I can doggedly salvage and tend a few plants at a time--if only we have rain.