This has been a summer that the nation will not soon forget. Texas experiencing more than 30 days in a row with temperatures 100 degrees and above and our Asheville NC Bed Breakfast waits for rain.
It would not be polite for those of us in Asheville NC not to be grateful and gracious about the fact that while we have experienced temperatures above our norms, we have managed to avoided the blistery, killing heat much of the east, west and central parts of our country have been dealing with.
That said, my zinnias, roses, phlox, coneflowers, lazy susans, hosta, coleus and even some of the aged and very established plants on our property are looking "hang dog" as my Nana would have said. They are showing physical signs of this ongoing period with nearly no rain at all by displays of limp and droopy foliage and completely hung over posture. Every time I see them I feel sorry for them.
Polling guests at the inn from various parts of our United States several of them have shared some remedial measures that have worked for them:
1. Mulch, mulch and more mulch. I hear you saying you can't afford it. Consider the cost of watering and the replacement cost of mature plant life and likely you will come to the same conclusions I have....You can't NOT AFFORD it.
2. Water not more than 2 X per week and water thoroughly and providing each plant deep drenching. The tendency is to skimp as you see your water meter breaking speed barriers. Poor choice. In thorough watering, while initially more water may be used, the roots of plants will extend to that depth to plumb the water. Deeper roots create not only healthier, sturdy plants but also avoid a lot of surface root problems that worsen in the heat as those roots are exposed and baked by the sun.
3. Avoid fertilization at periods of intensive drought. It propagates tender growth that will not fare well in intense heat. Further, the stimulation of new growth and its sustenance requirements create more stress on the entirety of the plant.
4. Avoid any new plantings in times of extreme temperatures. New plantlings can require an "adjustment period" and the increased temperatures and lack of rain can make this adjustment worse making the start of the newby more difficult than need be.
5. Water in the morning hours if possible allowing the water on the plants to dry before night fall. Plants in hotter than normal temperatures- coupled with no rainfall are already under duress. A fungus or other blight will have a faster and more devastating effect on a plant already under stress.
Now, if all this fails....Well, there's always the naked rain dance. Be afraid.....Be very afraid!
Patti and Gary Wiles Innkeepers At Cumberland Falls Bed and Breakfast Inn Your Asheville Bed and Breakfast