hostas and drought…the good, the bad, and the ugly

Yesterday, DH and I spent about two hours in the garden. I have to say that, with the record high temps soaring over 100 degrees day after day, I had not stepped outside the door in a solid two weeks. I knew it was bad out there, but I was shocked. The drought has really taken a toll on the garden. I took pictures of some of the hostas to show you how they are doing. Or not doing…

Hosta ‘Big Mama’ came through pretty well, considering how dry everything was.

Hosta 'Big Mama'

Earlier this year, we could see that the west side of the plant was getting too much sun. It was melting the wax coating that makes the leaves look blue, and that is the same side that really suffered in the drought.

hosta 'Big Mama'

‘Aphrodite’ looks pretty good, too, considering the amount of sun it gets.

Hosta 'Aphrodite'

Here it is in May.

Hosta 'Aphrodite'

‘Royal Standard’ was a big disappointment. It will tolerate a lot of sun, but obviously not a drought.

Hosta 'Royal Standard'

This is the same plant, earlier this year. It is in full sun all day.

'Royal Standard'

This picture shows another ‘Royal Standard’ hosta (toward the back). It’s under the mulberry tree in deep shade. Even though it had shade, it was still a goner.

Hosta 'Royal Standard' in back with Hosta 'Thunderbolt' in front (to the right)

Hosta ‘New Journey’ did fairly well. It has never had leave burn before, but I guess the bit of sun it gets was too much combined with the severe drought. Doesn’t look bad compared to many other hostas in the garden, though.

Hosta 'Journey's End'

But it looked so good in May…

'Journey's End'

‘Veronica Lake,’ which is right next to ‘Journey’s End’ looks great. No problems, even with no rain.

Hosta 'Veronica Lake'

If you remember, we moved ‘Sagae’ to a shadier spot when its redbud tree had to be removed earlier this year. It was watered several times when first transplanted. Came through the drought pretty well. The leaf burn in this picture was actually caused by the exhaust of the chainsaw when the redbud tree was removed. I don’t think it suffered any additional leaf burn because of the drought.

Hosta 'Sagae'

This picture of the same ‘Sagae’ was taken April 9, this year, before we lost the redbud tree. The hosta looked better this year than any other year we’ve had it in the garden. Then we had to move it. Then we had a drought. But it came through well considering what it has been through.

Hosta 'Sagae'

Poor ‘Wheaton Blue.’ This has always been a good looking hosta until this season.

Hosta 'Wheaton Blue'

Here it is shown behind ‘American Beauty.’

'Wheaton Blue' and 'American Sweetheart'

‘June,’ which is in deep shade under the mulberry tree, came through with flying colors.

Hosta 'June'

‘Thunderbolt’ survived the drought with no problem.

Hosta 'Thunderbolt'

As did ‘American Beauty.’

Hosta 'American Beauty'

But poor ‘Blue Cadet’. It can usually take some light sun, but not this year. It suffered from the high temperatures and the drought.

Hosta 'Blue Cadet'

The ‘Blue Cadet’ breaks my heart. It looked so good earlier this year. I enjoyed it every time I walked out the back door. Here it is on May 25.

'Blue Cadet'

‘Liberty’ surprised me by how well it survived the lack of rain. It has been a touchy plant in our garden, though it was doing well in this spot.

Hosta 'Liberty'

This is the same plant, earlier this year.

Hosta 'Liberty'

Hosta ‘Guardian Angel’ did not do well at all. Drought…Poof…no hosta.

Hosta 'Guardian Angel'

The same plant two months ago…

Hosta 'Guardian Angel'

‘Summer Music’ is another one that just melted away.

Hosta 'Summer Music'

Same plant last summer…

Hosta 'Summer Music'

‘Green Fountain’ was another surprise. It is planted in an old iron kettle in full shade. We never water it. It looks just fine, in spite of the drought.

Hosta 'Green Fountain'

The last hosta I’ll share is ‘Regal Spendor.’

Hosta 'Regal Splendor'

Earlier this year it showed off its beautiful blue and creamy yellow color.

Hosta 'Regal Splendor'

The hostas that are in the worst shape may go dormant. We’ll see. It’s heart-breaking to see them in such poor condition after the spring was so good for them.

We did get 2.8″ of rain Sunday evening. What a relief! We are praying for more. The garden still needs rain. And, even more so, we suffer for our farmer friends.

Even with the rain, the grass is still brown in much of the lawn. The daylilies are drying up, though they still bloom. Such a hardy plant!

front yard

In the above picture, you can see that the crape myrtle is blooming. They have not shown any adverse effects yet. I’m not sure how they will look next year. We’ll have to wait and see. The star magnolia, on the other hand, looks awful right now. I’m wondering if our star magnolia will recover. During the drought, it lost all its leaves except for a few at the top. The leaf loss exposed two bird nests that no longer have any cover. One of our ‘Gold Flame’ spireas looks dead. Most other shrubs look like they survived pretty well, considering the lack of rain.

Star Magnolia

star magnolia

It has been almost eight weeks since I mowed under this swing in the back yard.

back yard swing

I’d rather have the rain and have to mow, than no rain with no mowing.

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  1. Carolyn
    Posted July 12, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    How sad our beautiful gardens are suffering so! I don’t have quite so much damage as you do with the hostas … but they are not like they had been. I have watered a few flowers. My 50th anniversary rose has suffered a lot. First the leaves all froze after it opened them too early, then the dry really stunted any new growth. I’ve only had 2 flowers this year … I counted as many as 18 at one time last year:( I have been watering the vegetables as they are food for winter! But they could stand much more than I have given them. Praying for some rain soon here too!

  2. Posted July 12, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    So sorry to hear about all the plant damage…it has been a rough summer,I never remember Pennsylvania ever getting this was a real eye opener..we were going to get a few potted tomato plants for it front but decided against it because of the heat..but maybe next year..I really hope your plants come back they are sooo beautiful!having these hot tempts I hope it doesn’t mean were going to have a bad winter..keeping fingers crossed!

  3. Posted July 20, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    Hi Rhonda, So sorry to see you and your garden suffering. I hope we never have such drought and heat again.

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