As I was heading out the door from work today, The Weather Channel indicated that there was a pop-up storm forming near Ohio State. A look out the window confirmed a darkening sky, with the wind picking up, and even a rumble of thunder. I was hopeful that Clintonville might get a shower, even if it was brief. Of course, the shower headed south of town, leaving me looking at a dark, full of rain clouds sky in my rearview mirror as I drove home. It is so frustrating to see the heat island effect of Columbus turn incoming showers into nothing, or turn them away, only to have the storms reform on the east side of town. I was also excited that the post I had planned on writing (water gardens) would make sense if it was raining. So much for that idea! I’ll have to post it another time.
So I will have to again water the few plants in our yard that aren’t native, as well as the ones on our porches, especially the ferns, who love their water while thriving in this humidity. The hanging ferns dry out very quickly; since Mama and Papa Finch have returned with another round of babies, I always want to make sure that the fern they are nesting in isn’t wilted so that it provides lots of shelter. But in looking around our yard, I am again happy that most of the plants we have are natives. Although some of them don’t look the best right now (unless you like brown, crinkly plants!), Pete assures me that they aren’t dead, just resting – sort of like the parrot in one of my favorite Monty Python skits. In this dormant stage, the plants are able to better conserve water. Other natives in our gardens are not bothered one bit with the lack of rain, as the following photos of our backyard will attest!
All of these native plants that we have have spent thousands of years learning to adapt to local conditions. They do well with our native soils (love that Ohio clay!) and rain patterns such as this drought we are in. Although some of these plants may not look their best this year, I’m pretty certain that next year, they will all be back in full glory.
Some other tips/thoughts to help out our plants and wildlife during this lack of rain:
- Make sure that bird baths are kept full and clean. Birds, as well as butterflies, use that water.
- Keep hummingbird feeders clean with fresh food to cut down on mold.
- Deep watering plants should be done, if possible, after it rains. The soil soaks up the water, leaving little to make its way deeper into the soil. A heavier watering after it rains will allow the soil to take in the rain water, and the plants to take in the rest.
- If you have any animals that are outside, make sure that they have water. Our neighbor’s cat has been coming around, looking for water, so we make sure he has some.
- We also save the water from the shower as we wait for the water to heat up, putting a kitty litter bucket under the tap. The water goes into the rain barrel, along with all the water from our dehumidifier in the basement.
Hope you are all keeping cool and that your plants are surviving this heat to come back next year.
Until next time!