If you are starting to consider planting cactus in your garden my sympathies are with you. We are in a drought- the most serious one I, or others who have lived here much longer than my 16 years, can recall in Delaware County. Two weeks ago my Heritage birch trees, planted 15 years ago and 25- 30’ feet tall- have started turning yellow and dropped ¾ of their leaves. They are stressed and attempting to save themselves by having less leaves to supply water to. Birch trees are shallow rooted trees, the majority of their roots grow along the surface of the soil and so they are some of the first to show stress. Many well established shrubs are wilting and my limelight hydrangeas look fried.
In a normal year I catch the rainy season by planting in mid May, and don’t need to worry about watering again, but not this year. The only reason my garden is looking okay is because I have been watering for the last two weeks. I have not mowed for several weeks and the lawn is scorched in many areas. But thankfully drought is not the only story in the garden.
The July border is made up of hot colored late flowering perennials such as Daylily, Monarda, Echinacea, Knautia, and Salvias. The star in my borders this year, are the nearly 200 Drumstick Alliums I planted. Their heady firework like display adds a wonderful texture to the late flowering garden. Another plant I just found in a local nursery that I am wild about, is Asclepias ‘Cinderella’- Swamp Milkweed. It has a dusty pink color and is covered with butterflies for most of the day. This is a terrific plant reaching a height of about 3-5’ feet tall. My wife found a white variety called Ice Ballet (40”tall) which is now planted in the Moon Garden.
If you are tired of the heat and all those hot colors, here is a photo of a ‘cooler planting’ -Arlaia elata ‘Variegata’ is a wonderful variegated patterned shrub and in the foreground the very subtle silvery blue Aconitum called ‘Stainless Steel.’