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Ugh. Losses from last year's drought

PostPosted: Apr 26, 2013 12:25 pm
by kaylyred
Living within the city limits like I do, with expensive water and water restrictions, last year's drought was a killer. Literally. Although I think I preserved most of my hostas with drip irrigation, there are some spots in the garden I had to let fend for themselves. Although spring's been slow in coming to Wisconsin, I have a sinking feeling I've lost quite a few things, among them most of my pulmonaria (the stuff that was in fairly heavy shade is coming up, although it's much smaller than it was, but anything getting some sun hasn't shown at all, and even last year's foliage seems to have disappeared) and my beloved delphiniums.

I guess I'll wait and hope that they still show their faces this year. Anyone else fearing that they've lost some perennials because of the drought?

Re: Ugh. Losses from last year's drought

PostPosted: Apr 26, 2013 6:45 pm
by party_music50
kaylyred, we've gone through a few very dry (some full drought) summers recently and then last winter was freakishly mild. Last year was also the first time I ever lost any plants to weather conditions -- including several heucheras and my 'Little Sunspot' hosta! :( In general, last year was the worst gardening year here ever. My lilacs never bloomed! the flowerbuds formed early due to very warm weather in early March, then froze and died the next week when temps dropped like a rock. That wild weather last March killed a lot of plants. I'm just happy to see that my lilacs are budding out leaves this year!

We had a watering ban here a few years ago, but they did allow some watering during certain hours of the day for awhile. My sister suffered a full watering ban last year (southeast Mass) and pretty much lost everything. I kept trying to get her to collect all her dirty water to use for watering (catch it in the shower, dishwater, etc.), but she said they even ban using that! how does that make sense? it would go down the drain otherwise! I'd catch and use it -- even if I had to sneak out at night with a bucket. :)

Good luck with your plants!

Re: Ugh. Losses from last year's drought

PostPosted: Apr 27, 2013 12:24 am
by kaylyred
I never thought of saving water from dishes, etc. Good idea! Unfortunately for me, bathwater is out, since we only have showers in our old house. (How does an old Victorian end up with only showers?) And rain barrels are only effective when you actually have some rain.

I think I've lost heucheras, too. Hopefully, I kept the hosta beds watered enough that nothing perished. I think I did. But since everything is so slow waking up this year, I'm on pins and needles to see those first pips. Nothing is showing yet. :o

Re: Ugh. Losses from last year's drought

PostPosted: Apr 28, 2013 4:56 am
by party_music50
I'd at least set a bucket or two down to try to catch water from the shower. :)

I installed a rain barrel last year -- primarily to minimize the water going down into my basement walls, but also thinking it would be a bonus for plant watering after so many dry summers. If it rains a decent amount at all it overfills the rain barrel in *minutes*! If it rains hard the water rushes off the roof so fast and forcefully that it flows over the guttering system and never makes it into the rain barrel. As a result, I generally leave an open hose hooked up to the barrel so that any water entering it will be redirected to flow either onto my veg garden or the compost pile. Oh well, I tried. :p

Re: Ugh. Losses from last year's drought

PostPosted: Apr 28, 2013 8:21 am
by Chris_W
I don't think we were in a particularly bad drought area last year, because so far we aren't seeing any real problems. The hostas I'm digging look like they didn't miss a beat, but then again, many of them were hit so bad with the late freeze last year at the end of April that they spent an extra year in the ground here anyway. Some of the Astilbe in my display garden might be gone, because we just could never get enough water there the past couple summers, but I'd pretty much given up on them in that spot even before the drought.

Hopefully things will surprise you once it consistently warms up. Are you getting some good spring rain so far? I can't remember the last year we actually had April showers!

Re: Ugh. Losses from last year's drought

PostPosted: May 02, 2013 11:13 am
by kaylyred
I think we've pretty much made up for the drought deficit with all the spring rain we've had. There's been some minor flooding around here as a result. My silty loam doesn't hold as much moisture as I'd like, but I'll just have to deal with it and keep adding more organic material as the years go by.

Chris, the funny thing for me this year is that I was certain I'd lost my astilbes because they're such moisture hogs, and yet...they're coming up. They definitely look smaller, but they're at least making an appearance. I do think that the delphiniums are goners, though. They're some of the first to start showing up every spring, and there's absolutely no sign of them right now. At least they're not difficult to replace--they grow pretty quickly for me.

Re: Ugh. Losses from last year's drought

PostPosted: May 10, 2013 11:02 am
by Midnight Reiter
I have brown shrubs everywhere because of last summer's drought! :bawl: And I don't know why we're getting such little rain this spring. So I definitely can relate to "Losses." Unfortunately.