African Garden + [weather woes]

Midsummer Malaise
drought-stressed Phlox paniculata 'Grenadine Dream'

The grass crunches under my sandals. The rain barrel has run dry. After more than two weeks without even a drop of rain, the lawn and garden are suffering and so am I.

In less than a week, the lawn went from green and lush to this.

While the Chicago area is not considered to be in a drought according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, under NOAA's definition of an Agricultural drought, when "the amount of moisture in the soil no longer meets the needs of a particular crop," Squirrelhaven is in drought.

Some trees have started shedding leaves.

Corylus 'Red Majestic' bearing only the vaguest resemblance to its name. Note the brown willow leaf.

I'm tired of dragging the mile-long hose around to water the woody plants, and I'm ready to let the container plants shrivel. Well, not really, but I'm heartily sick of lugging the watering can around, too.

I know I sound like a whiny little brat when compared to the suffering endured by my friend in Houston, Cindy of From My Corner of Katy, who has been gardening through an "Exceptional Drought," or Dee in Oklahoma at Red Dirt Ramblings. But it's not just the sky's stubborn refusal to drop any moisture on me that has me down. The Japanese beetles are back to munch on Clematis 'Betty Corning'. Ordinarily, they feast on my rose, but it's not in bloom now. I'm waiting for them to discover the new blooms of the Echinaceas, four of which plants I've had to yank so far this summer due to aster yellows. The early-blooming bearded Irises have iris borers. I can blame myself for this one, as I failed to remove promptly the faded bloom stalks and browning leaves. The smell and the mushiness of the infested rhizomes is sickening. I refrain from posting any images.

It's not been a good year for the Lilium longifolium 'Black Dragon Strain.' The number of blooms was paltry. Some of the buds on my new 'Purple Prince' lilies have shriveled, but at least the ones that remain are smashing.

The first blooms opened yesterday.

I notice that every July, I publish a post of unhappiness (Feeling Austin, Texas from 2010, Reality Bites-July from 2009, and Trouble in Paradise from 2008). It is the time when the gardening compost hits the fan. I know I've said I don't like to leave my garden during the growing season, but this year, I'm more than happy to walk away. Fortunately, Garden Bloggers' 2011 fling in Seattle is just a couple of weeks away. I can't wait to see green, lush gardens and forget about my flagging one.