Dear Friends and Gardeners August 23, 2010

Dear Dee and Mary Ann and Gardening Friends Everywhere,

I am not pleased to report that we are about to break a weather record that was set back in 1897. That was the year they had the driest August on record with just .47 inches of rain, less than half an inch for the entire month.

With just eight days left in August, we have had just .37 inches of rain and there isn’t any rain to speak of in the 10 day forecast. And we won’t mention that this is going to be one of the warmest Augusts in quite some time, too. Normally, our average rainfall for August is around 3.44 inches.

I have watered the vegetable garden a few times, which seemed to pull it back from the brink last week, though it was so hot when I was trying to get it back in shape that it nearly sent me over the edge. But it is better, and so am I. I am harvesting a few ripe tomatoes every few days, plenty of hot peppers, and as much okra as I’d care to eat. Not to mention that the squash vines have perked up a bit and started blooming again.

The whole garden could use another round with the sprinkler, and will get it tomorrow evening.

Elsewhere, the garden is a veritable plant laboratory, if one wants to study the impact of the third wettest June in history followed by what is likely going to be the driest August in history on plants in a zone 5 garden in Indianapolis.

The grape vine looks about the same as any other year. You would hardly know from looking at its leathery leaves, pictured above, that it is so dry out. The ‘Endless Summer’ hydrangeas, on the other hand, look like they are about to give it up for this year, perhaps for all time. I’ll spare you the pictures.

Another plant that looks great is the calamint, Calamintha nepeta spp. nepeta.
It is loaded with little white flowers and is attracting all kinds of bees, though I couldn’t for the life of me get a good picture of one to show you.

I can’t resist reaching down and pulling the stems through my hands to release its minty fragrance as I walk by it, but need to be careful to watch for the bees who might not enjoy ending up in my hand.

Speaking of bees reminds me that there is a ground nest of German yellow jackets beneath the red maple (Acer rubrum) in the front yard. Nearby is a Forsythia we transplanted this spring that needs water, but it makes the yellow jackets very angry if I forget they are there and get water in their hole. I’ve had to drop the hose and run for cover a few times now so I got smart this evening and set up a sprinkler over there.

I need to go outside now and turn it off, so I’ll close as always with…

Carpe hortus,


P.S. Pray for rain for Indianapolis!


  1. Carol, I had to get rid of Calamintha because it had so many balck wasps encircling it. It was on a pathway recommended by my garden designer!

    I brought it up to Wisconsin where it did not make it.

    I have a small up close garden, so this is something to take into consideration when making a plan.


  2. Eileen... Yikes, I've never seen wasps on this calamint. Right now it is in a holding bed in the vegetable garden, waiting for the garden design to get going again so it can move to a new home. If it just attracts bees, I think it would be okay by a path, but if I see black wasps around it, I'm going to put it someplace a little "off the beaten path". Thanks for the warning.

  3. Prayin' for rain for you... and sympathy for your yellowjacket problem. We have more than our fair share here as well this year, haven't found the nest.

  4. Hang in there, Carol, you've got GUTS!

  5. Yes indeedy. You've described a normal summer here. It seems the whole world is in bizarroland this year.

  6. I am sorry that you are going through a drought. We had one earlier this year for several months. I will do a rain dance or singing will definitely bring the rain.

  7. My garden is under the same conditions Carol. Here in SW IN we have had only about 3/4" of rain this month. I hope this too shall pass and the fall rains will bring relief to both of our gardens.

  8. You have my condolences on the rain. We just started getting rain this week, but it comes fast and furious. Not really penetrating into the soil, but no complaints here. We needed the rain also.I too love Calamintha for many reasons,but one. It reseeds with abandon and seems to grow just about anywhere.

  9. I'm praying for rain for both of us, Carol. Glad you set up a sprinkler for your forsythia--running from a horde of angry yellowjackets may be good exercise, but sounds rather scary.

  10. Do be careful with those yellow jackets! We need rain here and understand your concerns for the garden. Your Calamintha looks divine, must try it again. We have only killed it twice here.

  11. We've had more rain here (Utah) then we do normally. (Okay, so maybe a couple good thunderstorms. But one dropped a whole inch of rain). Maybe it will return to you soon...

  12. In Seattle, we've gotten .25" this month. Normal is a whopping .7 ".

  13. My Calamintha is also quite happy with dryness. It is a very pretty plant. Sending rain your way soon...

  14. Pray for rain in Montreal as well! You have a very interesting blog. I love Indianapolis (been there a few times for work)!

  15. Interesting. We had a really wet spring and then a hot and dry late July and August. Oy! I thought it would never cool off, but it eventually did. I bet our gardens look similar. BTW, I finally got my letter up.~~Dee


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