Monday, September 19, 2011

how does a plant grow?

We've all been taught that plants need soil, water and sun to grow.  In my yard, I have little of any of those and yet, there are plants growing and even blooming this time of year.

I have primarily shade. The tree-cutting has brought a bit more sun to my front yard, encouraging the beauty berry bushes I moved, as well as the daisies, which have flourished this year.

I have primarily clay.  We've added compost and amended bits here and there, but unless I removed it all and started over, most of the yard is still red clay with holes filled with nice soil.

I have had no rain this summer.  All the storms in the south and east, but my part of Atlanta got only about an inch of rain. "Nearly all of Georgia has been designated a federal agriculture disaster area due to the ongoing drought and excessive heat," says the news.  None of the typical rush hour thunderstorms came through for us (or sent us home from the pool) this summer.  I watered the new plants a bit but can't possibly give the whole yard what it needs.  I've lost some of them, including some which really sadden me. 

The survivors:

lantana- This perennial is always wonderful for the second half of summer. It will remain covered in butterflies until the first frost.

garlic chives- I'll cut the seedpods off since I don't need more chives, but the bees have been enjoying the flowers.

autumn sedum: The blossoms seem to have hosted a bumblebee slumber party last night with many friends still hanging around this morning.

swamp sunflower- (I think that's what this is) which grows 6-8' tall and blooms reliably in the late summer heat

dogwood- The baby dogwood which cost me $10 is alive and well.  I think it will need to be babied all winter and even next summer, but it is worth it to me.

I even have a handful of gardenia blooms and rose blooms this September.

The dearly departed:
My camelias by the front door were ignored. One has made it, one has not. I will shop to replace it.
The winter daphnes by the front door were also forgotten. The one on the far side of the door perished.
Several heutchera plants are gone, the sweet potato vines are missing, and a few new ajuga plants didn't make it.

This is all from my front yard.  I haven't assessed the ferns, but the backyard wall garden looks lush even with it's losses.

September is Fall to some, but here in Atlanta it is Summer 2.0


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