What happens when you are away from your garden for three weeks in the heat of the summer? Well the reality is that the garden is in a pretty sorry state. Temperatures have been in the triple digits with severe heat index warnings and virtually zero rain. This translates to stressed plants and trees and sometimes death in the garden.

Looking into the woodland garden is more representative of fall than summer. The paths are littered with fallen leaves. 

The trees are highly stressed. This dogwood's leaves tell the whole story.

Sadly, despite having hired someone to water while I was away, I lost several ferns from lack of water including two Ostrich Ferns (one of my favorites!) and 4 Beech Ferns.  There is one green frond left on this Cinnamon Fern. I hope that with some pampering I can save it.

The faithful daylilies are even suffering severely.

Many of the plants such as the Bee Balm and Shasta Daisy need some serious deadheading.

The roses don't like the heat at all and have been assaulted all summer by the Japanese beetles.

And the lawn which has either gone dormant or dead could really use some rain!

But it is not all doom and gloom. Some plants are performing splendidly despite the heat and drought.

Salvia greggii 'Navajo-Rose' and 'Hot lips'

Agastache cana 'Heather Queen'

Black & Blue Salvia

Coreopsis 'moonbeam'

Black-eyed Susan

This is the reality. Vacation is over. And it is summer in Georgia when I expect most everything to look tired and stressed but it is still shocking after returning from Michigan were the landscape was green and full of blooms. The good news is that even the weeds aren't growing in this heat and most of these plants will bounce back for a second round of blooms this fall when the temperatures cool and hopefully we will get more rain.


  1. We got rain, but not long enough to mean much. I dead headed all the Shasta Daisies because they just looked pathetic. Three weeks is a long time to be away, but some of your plants were doing pretty good without you. It has been a tough year all over. First plants drowned then jumped right into heat and drought. Some strange weather.

  2. Our gardens are telling the same story...our daylilies and ferns especially. The salvia is so dependable but even in our drought there are some not looking so good. Don passed us by without so much as a sprinkling ;/ The Austin bloggers were together today and the general consensus is we all want to start over! The problem is you plant xeric and then El Nino comes back and everything dies from too much water! Glad you had lots of bright pretty blooms to cheer you up!

  3. I keep hearing about drought in the lower states but this really brings it home. I thought daylilies could survive almost anything and they look so sad.

  4. Donna/GWGT, it has been a crazy year weather wise. Mother Nature keeping us on our toes! Your part of the country was drowning earlier this year and now it is HOT! A few too many extremes for the plants and gardeners to handle!

    Cat, I feel guilty complaining in comparison to what y'all are having to deal with! I will keep my fingers crossed for you! Again, super cool that all you Austin bloggers get together!

    Marguerite, I too was stunned that my daylilies looked so pathetic when I returned from holiday. The forecast claims we are to get some rain but it keeps passing us by so I broke down and am giving my plants some supplemental water to hopefully bring them back to life!

  5. I know just how you feel. I was shocked, too, when I returned home from vacation. Still, you have some pretties there. I must get some black and blue salvia!

  6. I feel your pain. Just got back from a week in Texas. I don't feel so bad however as they are looking much worse than Kansas. It it toast in Texas. sad. We have your weather also. My black and blues are doing well as well as rudebeckia and asters. funny looking forward to fall...

  7. I thought it was bad here in Wisconsin, but wow this shows how severe your drought is. It's amazing that some of your plants are doing so well despite the drought. I hope the tropical storms bring you some rain, with minimal damage.

  8. I so feel your pain. When we drove in our yard from being gone 10 days I just wanted to cry. I had my sprinklers run while we were gone, but it just wasn't enough to save some plants. I did lose a few plants that I was just sick about, but I should have known better than to plant as late as I did knowing we were leaving town. Oh, well. I will replant this fall and hopefully all will be well next year. This year is really showing me what is drought tolerant in my garden. But Cat is right, as soon as I revamp my garden with all of those drought tolerant plants, we will have a wet year and the plants will rot. I thought your area of the country was gorgeously green!! I even took pictures of the moss because I was so amazed that moss grows everywhere. Moss is a rare sight in TX! Hang in there. There's a lot of us in the same boat, and we all just have to roll with the punches and learn to adapt as we can. Sure makes us appreciate our gardens when they are thriving :-)

  9. The black & blue salvia is gorgeous! I'm so sorry about your garden...and I thought it was hot & dry up here!

  10. Jennifer@threedogsinagarden
    I am sure it must be heartbreaking to return after a few weeks away and find that you have lost plants to drought. Although we here in north, seem to be in the far tip of the drought and high temperatures. Rain in July was practically non-existant. The only reason my garden looks as good is it does is the fact that I have been able to water. I hate to think about my water bill!

  11. The upside to having to deal with such severe weather is learning which plants are the toughest and can survive without you. Plant more of them! The salvia and agastache look incredible! I'm sure the hummingbirds are grateful since a lot of their nectar sources have probably dried up. Chances are some of the plants have simply gone dormant and will come back this fall. Hang in there! I know seeing dead/stressed plants is painful.

  12. I always dread having to leave my garden in the summer, but sometimes it cannot be prevented. Inevitably, I return to a seemingly neglected and suffering garden. However, much of your garden still looks beautiful. The salvia is gorgeous!

  13. I hope you get some rain soon. We never have summer rain, and I hand-water a lot, so I feel tethered to the hose all summer long - I couldn't imagine leaving in the summer :(. It is amazing how well some of your plants look despite the stress, those salvias are really amazing.

  14. We have a lot in common in our gardens Karin! Mostly the brown color! I'm really liking the Salvia family! Hope you can save your ferns.

  15. My daylilies look just like yours. I hope they're not dead - just hiding from the heat. I have to remind myself - every year this happens. Gardens in the South just don't look good in August. But hope springs eternal ...


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One of my favorite things about blogging is the conversation with readers. Leave a comment and let's get talking. ~Karin

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