Entries in drought (4)

Friday
Nov252016

Beautiful Fall, Despite It All

There is moisture out there. This morning the sky was filled with low clouds and the air hung damp over the earth. But as the day progressed, the clouds lifted and blue sky appeared. We had about ten minutes of rain one day last week, but the drought continues. 46 out of 67 counties in Alabama are suffering emergency level drought conditions, including where I live. We have a chance of rain several days next week, with 80% chance on Wednesday. I am hopeful!

Despite the drought, fall colors this week have been beautiful, and one day I took a walk to see the foliage in neighboring yards.  This gorgeous tree is located on a neighbor's property.I am surprised that not all leaves have simply shriveled and turned brown before falling. Plenty of them have, and autumn colors are more antique than vibrant. But Japanese maples and other acers, dogwoods, hickory trees, and crape myrtles (Lagerstroemias), as well as various shrubs are putting on a show. Molten leaves fall to the ground next to the road leading to my house.

In my own garden, colors have peaked. Here are images taken this week:

The first good rain will surely strip the trees and leave a deep sea of leaves covering the ground. When that happens, I will be outside rejoicing. 

Saturday
Oct292016

October's End: the Good and Bad

I will begin with the bad:

This is a recent news photo of Lake Purdy, from which Birmingham, Alabama gets its water. Residents of Birmingham and its suburbs are under strict, mandatory water restrictions because of the drought that has extended for over two months, with no end in sight. I live about twenty miles south of Birmingham, and we get our water from other sources, mainly from underground aquifers. We have not yet been hit with mandatory restrictions; but with some doomsayers predicting the drought to continue through the end of the year, I can feel the restrictions coming. Helena has not had a drop of rain in October, and we only had a few drops in September. The drought has been especially bad because of daytime temperatures continuing well into the 80's every day.

Meanwhile, we try to keep important shrubs watered, but with 3.5 acres, it is impossible and prohibitively expensive to water everything. Many leaves look like this:Fothergilla normally has beautiful fall foliage. Not this year!

But here is the good! Despite the drought, there is still beauty out there, especially if one looks through the golden light of late afternoon. So here is a tour. This is likely to be as good as it gets until rain returns.

I will begin with fall flowers:This area by the front walk is brightened by various salvias, lantana and gomphrena. I planted the red snapdragons on the right a year ago. They survived last winter and continued to bloom all this year.They are still going strong. Amazing!Autumn sage and blue salvia

'Black and Bloom' salviaClockwise from top left: Marigold; Asters; Mexican Sage; 'Endless Summer' hydrangea.

This creamy lantana is another low maintenance, front garden bloomer.Most of the Asclepias (butterfly weed) has finished blooming, but I came across these seed pods the other day:

Firebush is still blooming, but I am beginning to see seed pods on that plant, too:

One day I brightened my patio with some leftover cut zinnias from the grocery store; I stuck them in a vase with a spray of Mexican sage.:

Here are random views from around the garden:

Forsythia (Yellow bells) is a common shrub with lovely fall colors, even during drought. This plant never gets supplemental water.

This wren hangs around our patio.

An ancient muscadine vine grows in the woodland garden.
Clockwise from top: Japanese maple; Southern Magnolia; Alabama Croton.

Do you see the bug on the hickory nut shell?

I hope you enjoyed the tour! Blessings to you all, Deb