Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wake me up anytime

You can wake me up anytime - today at 5 a.m., for instance, because it's raining and I need to close the windows. Was there ever a more welcome sound? Which makes me think of my recent trip to California. I noticed a lot of plants like this one - lavender - that are beautiful, extremely architectural, and tolerant of dry conditions. Regardless of your thoughts on climate change, you can't go wrong with these guys. Consider the last few summers in our region. This year, farmers are experiencing the worst drought in 25 years.

Wake me up anytime

You can wake me up anytime - today at 5 a.m., for instance, because it's raining and I need to close the windows. Was there ever a more welcome sound? Which makes me think of my recent trip to California. I noticed a lot of plants like this one - lavender - that are beautiful, extremely architectural, and tolerant of dry conditions. Regardless of your thoughts on climate change, you can't go wrong with these guys. Consider the last few summers in our region. This year, farmers are experiencing the worst drought in 25 years.

So be glad you're not a farmer. And stock up on lavender, and also agastache, yarrow, coreopsis and something I saw a lot of in Colorado a few weeks ago - Jupiter's beard. If you think this category of plant isn't attractive, you're just dead wrong. Look this one up: Centranthus ruber 'Coccineus.' It's planted in drifts in Colorado. Also: gaillardia, helianthus and coneflower, though mine typically turn crispy in the heat.

A friend recently gave in and decided to install an irrigation system. He's been watching my sad adventures in this regard - three years after installing an expensive drip system, I'm still shelling out $30 an hour to someone to help me get it placed correctly and fix everything that went wrong, including holes inflicted this year by - ewwww - squirrels and rats desperate for a drink. My friend finally understands why this tedious chore is best done by a system - a father of three with a long commute to work, he's spent hours watering over the last month. But being a smart fellow, he's hoping to avoid my mistakes. It's nice to feel useful, if only as the standard for misery and stupidity.

Can't wait to get this month's water bill. Meanwhile, I'm thinking of a garden full of plants that deal well with heat and drought. Only one drawback: This eliminates my very favorite plant ever. Fried tomatoes, anyone?

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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