Sunday, August 14, 2011

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - August 2011

Hi, everybody -- Welcome to Apocalypse Gardens!
Dead lawn

We're in the midst of an Exceptional Drought, according to the USDA, and verified by this 8 Ball squash plant.
8 Ball squash
Dead squash

These are the sights that greeted me upon my arrival home from lush, green, moist Seattle.
'Blackhawk' black raspberry
Dead 'Black Hawk' black raspberry

There will be no Great Pumpkin this year, Charlie Brown. Neither compost nor mulch nor drip irrigation spared the pumpkin seedlings from Helios' death rays. They simply disappeared. (Naturally, the nut grass lives on.)
Pumpkin patch
Who stole the pumpkin patch?

All the plants in these beds get drip irrigation twice a week. When (not if) Austin moves to the next stage of water restrictions, we'll be restricted to watering once a week, unless watering with a hand-held hose.

Normally, I would be cutting back the roses, salvias and flame acanthus, in anticipation of fall. Under these conditions, however, it seems unwise to cue any suffering plant to put on new foliage or buds, so I'm leaving them alone for now. Click here to see what this grouping looked like two years ago.
Salvia, flame acanthus & roses
'Mutabilis' and 'Dame du Coeur' roses, flame acanthus, 'Hot Lips' salvia

Drought-tolerant does not mean drought-proof, as these 'Bright Lights' cosmos testify.
'Bright Lights' cosmos
'Bright Lights' cosmos

Even the sunflowers are drooping. And who can blame them? We've had temperatures over 100°F for weeks, the sunlight has been extremely intense, and we've had less than two inches of rain in the past three months.
Bird-planted sunflower

There are a few plants that are blooming despite the drought, though. And the survivors are:

dwarf ruellia,

dwarf pomegranate -- blooms and fruit,
Dwarf pomegranate

rock rose,
Rock rose


and portulaca.

Here's hoping your GBBD is less dry and more bloomy than mine! Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting GBBD. Visit her GBBD page for August to see what's blooming all over the globe.

Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. Oh, you poor thing! This has been the hardest summer, hasn't it?. I really like your style of's about all we've got left at times. I think you've convinced me to get some rock rose for my garden.
    Happy GBBD and may we all get rain. There was some rumblings today, but I got nary a drop.
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston :-)

  2. Oh my, a picture really does paint the sad picture od drought. I am so sorry!

  3. The first half of this post is tragic! I'm glad you still have some blooming survivors.

  4. Dreadful conditions for both gardens and gardeners. It is lovely to see the Portulacas, Rock Rose and Esperanza powering on, and of course, the Ruellia still showing some flowers. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that decent rain arrives in your area soon.

  5. Oh, my. So many dry plants. Hope you get the needed rain. It keeps missing us, but I would gladly send any your way if I could. Even as bad as it is, the first image of the grass is rather nice. I love the color and texture of the image.

  6. I am glad you still have some plants left. The good old toughies like ruellia and esperanza. I wonder if we will all be gardening differently next year.

  7. I am so sorry about the drought you are experiencing...ugh! I have portulacas, and they are simply the best plants for drought or for dry beds. I love them! Happy GBBD!

  8. This drought is taking a toll on our gardens. And, the wildlife is really suffering, too. I'm feeling sorry for those pesky deer around here.
    Let's hope some rain finds us soon.
    Stay cool.

  9. Oh dear ... but your bloomers are lovely! Especially like the dwarf pomegranate - its gorgeous!
    Wishing you some rain and a happy GBBD :)

  10. Gee, those pics look a lot like my yard! Caroline, it's a tough year - the 3rd like this we've had. It's just too much for these poor plants. it was rather heartbreaking to see your "previous years" photo at the top. Good on you for using the energy to post! I can't get outside to even take a pic.

  11. Love that dwarf pomegranate! It doesn't look like it minds this hell at all. My rock rose is in a big pot but doesn't seem to have the energy to send more than one bloom at a time. Yours looks happy.

  12. So sorry bout your lack of rain but what you got blooming sure is pretty. I hope you folks get some rain real soon and lots of it.

  13. Those first pictures look much like a lot of my garden this August. I feel your pain.

    I'm very envious of your pomegranate. Have to get me one of those!

  14. You are so brave to post the real pictures! Am so sorry for your heavy drought - at least ours is not that bad and we did get an inch over the weekend.

    Good luck. You know the hallmark of a gardener is believing that it will improve. I'm sure it will.

  15. My daughter moved to Houston about 6 years ago so ever since we have paid a lot of attention to Texas weather and we have been so worried about this drought and heat. It made the NYTimes on Sunday.

  16. At first I thought you had snuck over and taken pictures of my garden! Isn't it impressive how the Rock Rose keeps on blooming. Happy GBBD!

  17. What's worse, I wonder - having a break from the heat & drought in Seattle and then coming back? Or being trapped here for what seems like forever? The readjustment must have been so hard, Caroline!
    My rock rose looks terrible and the portulaca isn't blooming but the milkweed carries on ;-)

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

  18. I'm past the brown grass stage and have entered the 3 inches of dust stage. No need to put down plastic to kill the Bermuda though! Your esparanza is gorgeous by the way. :-)