A Lot of Heat, Not Much Rain

It should not be surprising that the extended period of high temperatures (90+) and the small amount of rain we have experienced would result in stress in the plants in my garden. I prefer to show pictures of cheerful, happy and thriving plants, but just now I feel the need to share a little bit of what these bad conditions are doing. A lot of my plants are sad.

I planted ‘Golconda’ Leyland cypress nine years ago and for awhile it was a beautiful gem in the garden. When I bought it, I was enthralled by its gold beauty, and I had not yet learned about the disease running rampant through its green cousins in our area. For the past several years its tips have turned brown, and I had to cut out a large section at the top. I called in our local professional tree experts, and they were not able to identify a reason. The extra heat and lack of rain have taken their toll; the foliage has lost its gold color and the browning of the exterior is almost complete. I am debating whether or not to take it out. The picture on the left was taken in the spring to compare with its current condition.

What has been more surprising is the damage in our woods. All four of these trees are in the edge of the woods and are showing severe stress. (Run your cursor over the photos to see the ID.)

Very disappointing are the hellebores and Autumn ferns in the woods that are now on their backsides. Azaleas and oak leaf hydrangeas at the edge of the woods are also wilting.

We are on County mandated watering restrictions, but I am allowed to hand water these areas hoping to relieve the stress. A few short months ago I was complaining about the extended cold and extreme wet conditions. It looks like the worm has turned. Commiserations will be gracefully accepted.

Surely we will have a glorious autumn.

About johnvic8

John Viccellio retired after 24 years in the U. S. Navy and began to dig into gardening when he could finally land in one place. He completed the Master Gardener course in 1992 and has since designed and constructed two of his own gardens. He wrote a monthly garden column for ten years and was a regular contributor to Carolina Gardener magazine. John published his first book, Guess What's in My Garden!, in 2014. He lives in a retirement community in Matthews, NC.
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7 Responses to A Lot of Heat, Not Much Rain

  1. pbmgarden says:

    I am sad to see what damage your plants are experiencing John. Very frustrating for you and I certainly hope you get some decent rains soon.


  2. John, my heart is breaking to see your beautiful garden in such distress. I hope your rain comes soon, and in time to sustain the plants. And of course when they are weakened by stress, they are more vulnerable to whatever disease; like your poor Dogwood. I’m a little surprised to see your Redbud so stressed. They are basically pretty weeds! Do you think the hybrid is having more difficulty than the species? Thank you for showing the truth of it. It is good to be honest about the problems of gardening even as we share the joy living with beautiful plants. My best to your patient Arranger 😉 WG


    • johnvic8 says:

      Thanks for your concern. I do think the hybrids have more difficulty…at least in my garden…but that doesn’t explain the tulip poplar.


      • Gwennie, of Gwennie’s Garden, who gardens in Belgium, showed a very similiar series of photos nearly a month ago. They were on the dry side too, but not full drought. The sun feels much more fierce these days than it did even 10 to 15 years ago. You are probably aware of the instability of our planet’s magnetic field, and how that allows more radiation to reach the planet’s surface. It is sad to see the effect in our garden; but I take it as a canary’s silence and stay out of the sun as much as possible during mid-day. By the way, we have yellow Tulip Poplar leaves falling on our driveway frequently now, and have for the last few weeks. We will persevere and expect our gardens to revive and be lovely by September 😉


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