African Garden + weather woes

Reality Bites - July

My kneeling pad after an unknown critter attack

It's already that time of year when gardeners throughout the country begin to feel at a loss over the conditions in the garden. The seeds that never got started, the plants in pots, still waiting for their permanent homes, the plants that are beginning to falter in the heat or the dryness, all make the gardener feel hapless. And then there are the bugs: the earwigs, the Japanese Beetles, the squash borers, the lily beetles, leaving a wide swathe of destruction in their wake. The hopeful plans of April have become the oppressive disappointments of July. There is a cruelty to nature when the gardener watches a carefully nurtured plant wither and die, despite heroic efforts to save it. Then there is the weather: too much rain, causing bugs and slugs to flourish and plants to rot; not enough rain, leaving the plants parched and the soil hard and cracked; the heat beating down chases the gardener inside long before even half the plants are deadheaded, and if not the heat, it's the mosquitoes doing the chasing.
There are places in the world where summer is a delight, such as in the mountains, or at the seashore. I do not garden in such a place. Despite near record precipitation this year, after a week with highs in the mid to upper 90s with no rain, there are once again cracks in the ground.

The temperatures have moderated, but there still has not been measurable rain. Some plants are suffering, such as these Mayapples (Podophyllum pelatatum).

But the garden isn't a wasteland. Daylily season has begun,

(my oldest Daylily, 'Chosen Love' brought from my garden in Bartlett)

(Hemerocallis 'Woodside Amethyst' blooming for the first time)
and my annual Poppies are starting to do their thing.

(mystery poppy)

(direct sown Poppy 'Black Peony' (Papaver paeoniflorum) with Geranium 'Blogold' (Blue Sunrise), Clematis 'Crystal Fairy' and Osteospermum 'Lemon Symphony')
This is my second attempt at Poppies, and it is a much greater success than last year, although the ones out front are stunted and struggling.

It appears lasagna gardening is a dismal failure at Squirrelhaven. The Lilies are also starting to bloom,

(Trumpet Lily 'Black Dragon Strain')
and they will soon fill the garden with their strong perfume. The prairie plants out front will be doing their thing very soon too, but I just don't like July. Heat, humidity, mosquitoes, weeds and their pollen make me long for April or September. How fares your garden in July?

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