A Hot, Dry Summer

Chat about gardening, plants, flowers and other backyard/garden things in here!
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vanislander
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We are having a very dry, and hot (for here) summer, on the west coast of Canada. We have been experiencing drought conditions for the past few months, and have had very little rainfall since winter - and not much then. Our local mountain is bare - first time I've seen it without some snow, even in summer.

We have a fairly large yard, with many shrubs and plants, all of which are suffering. Our rhododendrons are our biggest worry as we can no longer use our irrigation system. Only hand watering, with hose or watering can, is permitted, and only between certain hours. Below are some photos taken at this time of year, so you can see the kinds of plants we are struggling to keep alive.

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We have many fuchsias, some hardy, and some like the ones above that are outside in pots, but that overwinter in our greenhouse. We grow a lot of flowering plants that the humming birds love, as we have hummers all year here. Below are a few of the plants they love.

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Fuchsia 'thalia' which we have in a pot on our deck. It is also kept in greenhouse over winter. That's a hibiscus peeping into the picture.

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Hibiscus

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Hardy Hibiscus - 'Rose of Sharon'

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Potted hibiscus on our deck.

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Mandevilla vine.

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Rufous hummingbird sampling the honeysuckle.

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Penstemon is another flowering plant that the hummingbirds love.

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Alstromeria

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We try to keep the hanging baskets looking decent, but they need to be watered twice a day! The last one, above, was taken from inside, with the 'suncatcher' matching the petunia colours!
vanislander
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Joined: August 24th, 2011, 7:09 am


We have a few Australian plants/shrubs/trees which seem to be coping well with our warmer temps and dry conditions. There are a few eucalyptus trees, which flowered earlier. As did our Australian bushmint, which I love. We have two - both in large pots that can be dragged to shelter if a frost threatens.

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Bushmint flowering in April. This is in a large barrel with wheels so it can be moved if weather is bad in winter. It was OK outside all of last winter as we had no snow, and little below freezing temps.

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Some of the eucalyptus, and even a palm, growing in our yard.

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Eucalyptus flowering

We even have a few Tasmanian tree ferns growing in our 'woodland garden' where most of the rhododendrons grow.

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Tasmanian tree fern.

A favourite flowering plant that I loved when I saw it in Australia is agapanthus. We have a few in deep and light blue, and white.

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Agapanthus and cranesbill

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'Lucifer' Crocosmia (fiery red) and my favourite blue Agapangthus.

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The bougainvillae and bird of paradise are outside except for the coldest winter months.
Rick
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Beautiful pics Vanislander, thank you for sharing! Considering the drought issues you have done really well keeping your garden looking healthy.

I hope your drought eases soon. It's been fairly dry here this year (mowed the lawn today and it was very dusty) but we don't currently have drought conditions.
AussieAl
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Wonderful photos, Van, wonderful garden! :good:

It looks like the type of garden where you could find a place to sit and contemplate, no matter what the season, or temperature.

Thanks.

Al. :LOTT:
vanislander
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AussieAl wrote:

It looks like the type of garden where you could find a place to sit and contemplate, no matter what the season, or temperature.
Al. :LOTT:
Like this, Al? :-)

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That photo was taken a week ago - it was a hot and humid afternoon. I was contemplating going for a cooling swim while I sipped my cranberry juice and soda! Note that the cycad 'palm' lives on our deck in the summer. Those potted plants with barely any leaves left were our lovely roses, before the deer pruned them, and the hot dry wind finished them off.

Speaking of taking a swim, which we do often these hot days, here is my other favourite place to sit and contemplate a cooling dip.

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That was taken a year ago on the little deck we have closer to the water. Great place to sit and contemplate! (But mostly in the summer).
vanislander
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Ricksterm wrote:
Beautiful pics Vanislander, thank you for sharing! Considering the drought issues you have done really well keeping your garden looking healthy.
Yes Rick. The garden has been very healthy and lush, prior to this drought - which many of the previous photos illustrated. I showed photos of the kinds of plants we are struggling to keep alive, so some were from previous years. It has been a struggle to try and keep things that way though. With the watering restrictions, and the nature of some of our plants and trees, I fear it has been a losing battle.

Here are some before and after photos:

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Our little pond.

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Heron guarding the pond!

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View of bench across from our little pond

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The same area as the earlier photo, but no grass left - photo taken today.

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Low tide - and a glimpse of the steps down to the beach. See the green grass by the picnic table? Well, we haven't seen any of that for months!

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Photo taken today. :(

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Poor Tulip Tree today - it has lost many leaves, but with some more watering recently it might be able to bounce back!

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Another view of the same grassy area while it was green.

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Hopefully the Tasmanian Tree fern will survive.

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This area looks awful. :resent:
vanislander
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Here is a video I made in the pond area in May 2013. You can see how lush and green everything is in the spring when the rhododendrons are flowering.



The bird you hear calling loudly was an eagle flying overhead!
AussieAl
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Wow, Van, that's fantastic, and you have a pond, with running water, and a park bench nearby. Wonderful!
vanislander
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The pond area is in the middle of our 'woodland garden' and has always been a cool, lush place. It also attracts lots of wildlife and birds. It is an artificial pond, on two levels, with the water recycled by a pump. We used to have fish in the pond, but the otters soon discovered it! Our biggest pond predators, however, were snakes. Fortunately they are not dangerous ones - but 'garter snakes'. They were seen on a couple of occasions taking fish from the pond, so we no longer stock it - last time I looked closely I saw one lonely goldfish!

With regard to our drought conditions, they have worsened over the summer. Our province (British Columbia) is fighting wildfires, rivers are low and fishing banned. Our water restrictions have been in place since July, and we can now only hand water so the irrigation system which supplements our usual rainfall has been shut off and hand watering is only allowed for a couple of hours in the morning and evening.

Some of our trees would have benefitted from this device!

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Water bags on rows of trees in Vancouver.

This TV news story from a couple of months ago tells how serious things were then, and the predictions have certainly been true to date.

http://globalnews.ca/video/2074431/drou ... ver-island

I took this photo on a cloudy day earlier this month (it didn't rain though) and although the lighting is poor, you can see that our local mountain appears to have no snow. I have never seen it without some snow patches, even at this time of year, which is generally the hottest and driest time on Vancouver Island.

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This is how it normally looks in the winter - that is a LOT of snow!

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Currently there is no rain in the forecast for the next week or so. :(
vanislander
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We still have had no rain, but some is forecast for the weekend - maybe 50mm (2 inches) over 3 days. Here's hoping! :beg:

When I look across the bay from where I live I can see two mountains, and currently both are bare. As stated previously, I have never seen them without snow. Below are photos taken in January during the last couple of winters from our deck.

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Mt Moriarty and Mt Arrowsmith, January 2013

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Mt Moriarty and Mt Arrowsmith, January 2014

Mount Arrowsmith (on the right) is the highest and most visible mountain on southern Vancouver Island. It is 5962 feet (1817 m) above sea level (where I am) and dominates the horizon. Mount Moriarty (on the left) is 1603 m elevation, and is located 14 km (9 mi) southeast of Mount Arrowsmith.

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Mt Moriarty - Jan 2013

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Mt Moriarty peeping above the fog - Jan 2015

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Mt Moriarty as it is now (snowless) - August 2015

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I love this glimpse of the peaks of Mt Arrowsmith, snow covered, taken from our deck a couple of winters ago.

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The above photo, taken January 2014, shows less snow.

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I have many lovely photos of sunsets on this spectacular mountain.

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And sunrises ...

But the photo of Mt Arrowsmith that I took a couple of days ago (below) saddens me. I cannot see a speck of snow - all has gone, and the local river that it feeds - the Englishman River - is very low.

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Mt Arrowsmith - August 21 2015. Zoomed view from same day, below.

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