It’s foolish to take the weather personally, but I can’t help it. It’s especially foolish given what is going on elsewhere in the country.

Brown-Eyed Susan and Orange Coneflower, unhappy in the Parkway Bed.

Even so, I check the weather app on my phone several times a day. We haven’t had a good rain for over a month. A rainless 10-day forecast provokes exasperated sighs. What’s worse are predictions of rain a few days off. As the promised relief approaches, the likelihood starts to evaporate, so to speak – from 70% chance to 50 to 30. Then nothing.

Alternatively, we may get an hour or two of sprinkles, barely enough to moisten the surface, nothing like the good soaking that we really need.

According to the National Drought Mitigation Center’s Drought Monitor, our area has gone from Abnormally Dry to Moderate Drought. In the Parkway Bed the Orange Coneflowers (Rudbeckia fulgida) and Brown-Eyed Susans (R. triloba) are definitely droopy, and some of their flowers are crinkling up. they look better. Moisture lovers, the Monardas and Joe Pye Weeds, are looking distinctly fatigued.

Approaching the garden from the west.

On the other hand, most established summer- and fall-blooming native plants are holding their own, as are the grasses. Location matters, of course. In general, plants in the most densely planted areas are suffering the least. From a distance the garden as a whole doesn’t look too bad.

View from the front sidewalk.

I don’t have any kind of irrigation system, but a few favored plants get watered by hand. The Mexican Sunflowers (Tithonia rotundifolia) are in this privileged group, along with shrubs and perennials newly planted this year. If they are within range of the hose, I wave a water wand around for the length of a podcast, long enough to give the ground a soaking. Or I might just leave the hose trickling at the base of a woody plant.

Otherwise, I have 2-gallon watering cans. Since the chemo started, I’ve been relying on my sons David and Daniel to carry these around.

A glance at the weather app on my phone tells me that rain is predicted for Sunday and the following three days. I’m hoping for the best, but keeping the watering cans handy.

57 Comments on “Dry”

  1. The worst drought I’ve experienced was in 2008, after Hurricane Ike. We went for weeks and weeks with no rain, and there was so much salt in the soil from the storm surge that the damage to plants and animals was substantial. I still remember waiting for the rain, and how the waiting became almost physically painful, as though we were willing the rain to come.

    Well, your wait surely will be shorter, and less damaging. That doesn’t mean the waiting is any easier, and it has to be worse for you just now because you don’t have the energy to tackle watering chores. That 60% in your forecast is encouraging, though. We’ll hope the forecast verifies this time!

  2. Those wimpy sprinkles are more exasperating, I think, than no rain at all, and the teasing of the forecast is just plain mean. Of course it’s personal! What I see in the photos looks good, but I don’t see it with your eye. May there be a soak soon!

  3. I’m in DuPage country and have been exasperated to see the towns to the north and those to the south getting the rain when it comes toward Chicago, but nothing here. I’m going to need a loan to pay my water and sewer bill. In the past two years I’ve put in a lot of new trees, shrubs, and perennials and don’t want to lose them. I’m encouraged about several days of rain but not putting down the hose yet.

  4. I am feeling your pain. Here in DuPage, since Aug 11 I’ve had .25 in of rain fall. Things are looking parched. Add a nickel spot disease to the lawn from all the extremes this year and it looks like a serious case of neglect. I’m really afraid of my water bill. Glad your boys are pitching in. Here’s to some cooler weather and rain next week! I hope. Also hope you’re doing ok! Btw, my favorite sprinklers are Dramm. Which one depends on what I’m watering. But they’re all really good quality.

  5. Your weather forecasts are starting to look like Australian forecasts! Your garden is still looking good, but I know there is nothing worse than drooping flowers to show you how they feel. Good luck with it all… watering the whole garden is also very time consuming so it’s great you’ve got Daniel and David on hand.

  6. I feel for you, we had this situation in July with a month without rain, but then August was almost non stop rain, everything seems to be in extremes these days. It’s good that your sons are helping with essential watering, plants are pretty tough, they will hopefully survive!

  7. No irrigation?! That still impresses me. I remember gardens and even lawns in the Pacific Northwest without irrigation. Goodness, in our region, irrigation systems are everywhere.
    My garden was abandoned during evacuation, so got no water. Fortunately, it survived rather well.

  8. I have been keeping an eye on that drought map too. Earlier we have been in the slight drought. Now we aren’t. I am so glad. I hate that you are having to worry about this drought business too. Hopefully the fall rains will commence at any moment. Your garden still looks good for the condition it is in. Have a good weekend.

  9. We have been fortunate enough to have had a few inches of rain this entire summer. Not nearly enough. Lots of clouds overhead but nothing on the ground. And when it did rain you could hardly tell the next day as everything was dry again in this heat. I got my quarterly water bill this week and the lack of rain was evident in the amount I spent trying to water plants.

  10. Every August I promise myself I won’t break down and water, and every year my resolve wilts and I find myself out there with the hose and the watering cans. I have a lot of trees and they suck all the moisture away from the forbs. Especially the big silver maple I inherited. Really should have cut that down when I had the chance, 25 years ago.

  11. I looked at your weather forecast: I’m confident this time you’ll get your rain! You may want to consider a little rain dance, just to be on the safe side. Often in late summer, we are confronted by the benefits of dry-tolerant and native plants, and most late summer we find ourselves walking around with the hose and the watering can… praying for a good soaking from above.

  12. Everything is so “iffy”. We went through a period of about four weeks late June to mid July with no rain and high 80s to 90ish heat. The (Almost) native flower garden I put in the local park about five years ago seems to manage through thick and thin.
    Don’t know if it would work for you in dry periods but I use an oscillating sprinkler in my own back garden. The stake is pushed in the grass and the spray goes from side to side over the flower beds for about 2 hours in the early morning two or three times a week. It’s not on a timer or anything like that. Very low tech.

  13. I’m with you on the constant checking for rain. Then when it’s predicted I’m looking at the radar to see if it truly is moving in our direction. I know things are bad when I’m hitting the bottom of the rain barrels. If anything I try to keep my few veggies watered. The goldenrod doesn’t seem to care.

  14. I myself am feeling “distinctly fatigued” by the lack of rain. I have always enjoyed grey, rainy (or snowy) days more than relentless brilliant sunshine filled days.. I appreciate the sun of course but would prefer more precipitation. I live south of Indianapolis, in a natural bowl area surrounded by hills that cause rain fronts to divide north and south, taunting my yard and me with the sweet scent of rain but nothing more. This spring and summer have been far too dry here. Even the normally abundant garden spiders that spin those impressive webs from tree to tree or shrub to house are missing.

    I just came indoors from watering my Mexican Sunflowers, Black Adder Agastache & a few coneflowers that haven’t been burnt to a crisp by the sun. I used a softly sweeping sprinkler and the Monarch butterflies and the cardinals seemed to enjoy flying back and forth in the spray. That was nice.

  15. I installed a drip irrigation system in my vegetable garden two years ago. It is a simple system and cost about $100 I use a cheap manual timer, just turn to up to 2 hours and go away and forget it. My native forbs and others haven’t received any additional water and some look it. We have had a dry summer but 2 inches over the last two weeks. I am hoping the usual cooler temps and more frequent moisture of autumn will come soon.

  16. I hear your pain! This past summer was super hot and dry – we didn’t get a good drenching rain for at least 2 months….maybe more. While the veg beds are on drip, the rest of the garden is not. Like you, I would keep checking the app and it would say there is a chance of rain, but we always seemed to miss out or there were a few sprinkles and then nothing. Thankfully, we have had a few good drenching sessions in the past couple of weeks…fingers crossed you get the predicted rain today!

  17. I hope you get that rain Jason! I know jow frustrating it can be when the forecast changes by the hour or the wind changes direction and you can almost smell the rain but not a drop falls in your garden! The solace I take is that my plants are tougher than I think and will bounce back next year regardless. 💦☔️

  18. I totally understand about the weather forecast’s forecast for rain just being pushed out again and again or the % chance dwindling to nothing. We seem to be in an enclave here and unless it’s showing 75% or higher chance of rain, I’ll confidently put the washing out to dry as I know there’s nothing coming. I hope your garden gets some water relief soon.

  19. The garden is looking lovely. Oh, I know what you mean about weather apps, I check mine constantly too and it’s always promising something that never materializes, sometimes it doesn’t even acknowledge the fact that’s it’s raining. I hope you did get rain on Sunday.xxx

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