Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Man It's Hot

It's not only hot but it's dry as well. I have only had 1 7/8" of rain here since the first of the year. I'm praying that the well holds up so we have water to the house. Having the 24,000 gallon rain water collection system makes me feel better about watering the plants. This being the first year to really use it I haven't been watering any more than normal. Normal for me is letting a lot of plants die as I am a real water miser. I am down to four tomato plants left and one still puts on a tomato every week or so. That particular plant is in the shade from 10:00 until 6:00. I am wishing I had more shade and am thinking about shade cloth for next year now.

I finally decided to get a ladder and take a look inside the water tanks and see how much water I had left. They were not full at the first of the year but were very close.

This picture may not make much sense but it is looking down into the tank through the top portal. You can see the reflection of the pipe running across the top of the tank and the hole the water flows in. The little dark place on the bottom is dirt that has washed in. Not much at all, it tells me my home made roof washer system is working well. It appears they are down about one third as the water level is on the 2000 gallon mark. Times eight tanks, I have 16,000 gallons left and have used 8000. I feel better now.

I have been building a metal building lately and working in the heat all day. I just don't feel like working in the garden in the evenings. I may pull a weed here, prune a little there but I'm watering every where. With this kind of heat I'm just trying to keep plants alive until fall now. It is a learning experience though. I know now what plants will hold up and maybe even bloom a little.

I always have zinnias in my garden. They are descendants of plants that were seeded years ago. It may be time to buy new seeds as they seem to be displaying with less and less color every year. They don't mind the heat though, if they get a little water. Unfortunately they never seem to come up where I want them to. These came up in a tomato cage. The tomato didn't make it but they did.

While neither Lyn or I, are big fans of egg plant, I always plant a couple plants for my neighbor. He doesn't garden but loves egg plant. He swears they are the best he's ever eaten. I don't really know what kind they are. I just buy what ever I can find at the nurseries. I just don't tell him that, he thinks they are some special kind.

I got lucky this year and got a great heat tolerate plant from my buddy, Philip, at ESP. It was just a little thing in the spring when I got it but has grown well and is about to bloom despite being eaten down to the ground by a rabbit once. I don't know the name for sure as I think Philip is pulling some good ol' Scottish humor on me about the name. When I mention to him that the Pearls of Opar is doing well, he says no, it's Jewels of Opar. If I say Jewels of Opar then he says no, it's Pearls of Opar. I am fairly certain that it is one of those two. Either way it is a great hot weather plant and doesn't even require that much water to do well. I think I picked the perfect place for it if the rabbit stays away.

While working on a ranch last year I happened to notice a tiny, purple, little bloom on a plant by the ranchers drive way. With the bloom and the spiky little leaves, it was enough for me to tell that it was a Wooly Ironweed. I've wanted one for a long time and asked the rancher if I could dig it up. In a typical rancher response he said "You want to dig up a weed? Sure, go ahead and dig it up if you want it. I think there might be a few more down in the lower pasture if you want some more." I could tell it had been mowed over it's entire life. It is a happy plant now and has just started to bloom.

Temperatures over a hundred for months, like we have had this year, will take it out of most plants, but if a person has ponds and pond plants, then you know you will have plenty of green in the garden.

The upper pond has just about been covered in Lotus and Arrowhead.

The middle pond has Pickerel Weed and Umbrella plant with miniature lilies in it.

The big pond has lotus, lilies and Red Stemmed Thalias. The Thalias are a little behind this year and are just now big enough to start showing the red in their stems.

There have been more blooms on the lotus than in any year in memory.

As the leaves die they make for interesting patterns in the garden.

At least I have some green even if I don't have many blooms.


Linda/patchwork said...

This year really has been hard on our gardens. And, the wildlife.

Those tanks are amazing. Puts my three rain barrels to shame.
I hope you got some of that rain yesterday.

Be careful out in that heat.

Cat said...

I saw the Jewels of Opar at one of the garden tours this spring. Found a few on the sale table at BSN a couple of weeks ago. Can't decide if I should hold them over until fall or go ahead and plant now. Seeing as how you've found them to be tough, I may as well plant them.

If this weather becomes habit over the years, there will be a run on shade cloth!

Lancashire rose said...

I'll bet you are just congratulating yourselves on having put in those great tanks. All your hard work paid off this year. Wooly iron weed is a lovely little plant and I agree with you about the jewel of Opar. I have a plant too and it has just continued to put out those sweet little flowers all summer. I have it in a pot under a tree.

katina said...

This is the first year I've put out water for the wild animals...considering how much less they bother the garden, I will make it a permanent thing.

ESP said...

Hi Bob.

Those lotus leaves are the phlox!
I need to get one of those. What amazing colors and patterns.

Glad the "Jewels" are doing well for you...mine have gone crazy in this years heat and drought...they do spread readily if allowed to seed, but easily pulled where you do not want them.


ConsciousGardener said...

Great post Bob...there's always a lot going on at Draco! I love the little weed, you weed saver you! And I'm with Phillip...that design on the lotus leaves are fantastic!

Paula Jo @ Garden Accents and Decor said...

Hello Bob,
first of all I can agree with you saying "Man, it's hot" and how hot it is. Hot and dry. But I guess there is nothing we can do about but hoping for a change. You found a way to save water and have build your own water reservoir. Here in our neighborhood we are asked to(still voluntary) preserve water.
I'm waiting for the day to come, water preservation will become mandatory anytime soon.

Those lotus leaves of yours look just amazing and I need to see if I can find some around here too.
Would love to give them a try.
Best Wishes
Paula Jo

jessy said...

I really like your blog it's really nice.

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