Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Southwest Monsoon

Hazel's Hollyhocks are diggin' their new home.

I've got soggy potato chips. You know how they get all soft and squishy in humid parts of the country? The air is normally too dry for that to happen out here.

Oh, and skeeters, too. Skeeters! In a high plains desert! 

Laura Phlox, purchased in honor of my daughter's lovely name.

It's been raining, every evening. Not a little drizzle. We're talkin' thunder, lightning, hail, torrents, you name it, we're getting it. And while I know that's a good thing it is absolutely messing with the bone dry status quo. We get most of our moisture in the form of snow in winter so when it rains we hardly know what to do with ourselves.

Exceptionally waterwise Yarrow with even more waterwise wild Asters.

Plus that brings humidity. Humidity!

I mean, let's be clear, here, soggy potato chips are a tragedy in and of itself.  But being all drippy wet when you're out working in the garden? Humidity was the reason I left Minnesota in the first place. That and the skeeters.

Big smiles, everyone, more rain is forecast for today.

My flowers, however, are jumping for joy.

Sometimes I chuckle at the concept of waterwise flowers. Sure, these gals can survive just fine with minimal water but it's kind of like us and the 5 star vs. 2 star hotel dilemma. Would you prefer pampering or roughing it?

Rebel Daisy infiltrating the Lavender and Coreopsis.

* The Southwest Monsoon is a real, true weather pattern that sends rumbling storms across our parched landscape, saturating the earth and waking up all kinds of pretty wildflowers. It's been AWOL for the past few summers but things are greening up quite nicely with these plentiful rains.

These wild storms tend to blow off all their steam at higher elevations, before they reach the meadow where I live.

Tip: Water sticks to water. In the desert SW, when things have been exceptionally dry, the first rain runs right off the top of our hard-packed soils, creating scary flash floods. In the dry season, the best time to water your garden is right before it rains...

PS: Dear Midwesterners ~ Please send mosquito repellent. The sooner, the better.

29 comments:

Gloria, Dakota Garden said...

Wow Kate, this has been a most unusual summer. Your garden looks beautiful!!! I have tried to cover my tomatoes, I don't know how many times. It gets really hard to cover tall tomatoes. After 4 hail storms and one that included winds that uprooted trees I am trying to figure out how we could grow in a green house with screens instead of glass :) Right now we have the very desirable "tree guy" working on our trees. There are huge limbs just lying way, way up in the tree. -See you in just a few days!

Susan in the Pink Hat said...

This weather IS weird, isn't it? A whole week of rain? And we've been getting house-shaking thunder here, which is rare for us. We'd get it all the time along the coast in MA, but not here. I've appreciated not having to water the garden. I'm verrry jealous of your entirely waterwise landscape. I've got mature non-native trees, so I can't turn off the faucet for the summer.

HOW did you get that lightning photo? That is awesome. Can you imagine being in the mountains during one of these storms? Scary!

Melospiza said...

Heh. So true, your comment about how waterwise plants *can* survive in a 2-star water hotel, but would of course *prefer* to stay in the 5-star one. It's amazing how some water can make my xeric plants look like plants...and not just like survivors.

The Laura phlox is gorgeous.

Kate said...

Perhaps you're onto something, Gloria. I'd like to put my whole property under greenhouse protection! Especially after last night's big wind. I was collecting my lawn furniture from the neighbor's yard! See you soon. :)

Kate said...

Hi, Susan!
Oh, I'm not a complete purist. Every week I sneak around with a hose and water some of the flowers I love to coddle. :) That pic -- Well, I'm right up in the thick of things, so I took that from my deck.

Kate said...

Hi, Melospiza;
I've been tricked by that many a time with xeric plants ~ ~ wondering if the poor things might survive with a little extra water. Survive? They practically take over the place! :D

Liz said...

The humidity is making the way I cool my apartment not work. It's seems to be sticking around a long time this summer. Hope it dries up soon, so I'll stop dying of the heat. Beautiful flowers!

Diana (Di) said...

Hello dear Kate, Amazing capture of the storm and clouds! and sorry about the humidity. I worked in MN for two years, yearz ago and since I'm from the east originally, let me tell you about humidity. ;)

We have had no rain here since the end of June and likely will not again until September. Dry = summers here. Have a mahvelous weekend.

Tufa Girl said...

Those gardens of yours are amazing! Our days start humid and end very dry. As far as the potato chips - put them in the fridge - makes them a cool snack and keeps them crisp.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Hold on there, Kate! The answer to your question about what to do when it rains is:the same what you do when there is no rain! Just put on an appropriate cloth. This is what we do in the rainy Northwest.
The picture of your garden, the 3rd one from the bottom, is absolutely gorgeous! Lovely!

Kate said...

Hi, Liz;
We're all suffering with this, as well. Swamp coolers just don't work in such weird conditions... :(

Kate said...

Hi, Di;
As much as I love MN I just can't cope with humidity. It's been a pretty rough time for us wimpy desert rats...

Kate said...

Great tip Tufa ~ I shall definitely give this a try. Coming home to bad potato chips is a poor way to end a day.

Kate said...

Sage advice from the rainy weather queen, dear Tatyana. Say, have you talked to your buds in Russia lately? I was yakking with Moscow Paul today and they are suffering through the same weather oddities as we are. :(

Cynthia Oakes said...

There hasn't been a drop of rain in the northern part of the state. Odd. I know what you mean about the humidity. I have NOT missed Chicago summers! Thanks for the beautiful pictures.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Yeah, humidity sucks. But your garden looks really nice!

Melanie said...

Is all the rain discouraging your ants? TheLaura phlox is gorgeous. I keep saying I'm going to grow phlox, now I know to look for this variety at the nursery.

Snowcatcher said...

Our mountain wildflowers are benefitting from some of the storms you send our way, and I'm hoping you keep doing it for a while longer! Your garden is beautiful, but that lightning picture is just simply to die for!!!

Sunita said...

What a coincidence! We're getting our share of the Indian South West Monsoon right now. Not so much of the thunder and lightning but oh, the torrents that the sky can gush out!

Rose said...

I'd love to have a little bit of this rain! The view of your slope with all the flowers in bloom is lovely, Kate--I can see your garden is enjoying all the wet weather, mosquitoes and all.

Mosquitoes love me, but I think my worst experience with them was on a camping trip in Minnesota--I do think they grow Paul Bunyanesque skeeters there:)

Kate said...

Hi, Cynthia!
No rain?? I'm shocked. Every time I think about saddling up the horse it starts to thunder again... :(

Kate said...

Thx Monica;
I'm such a baby, now that I live out here. Just not used to hot, humid days...

Kate said...

I wish that was the case, Melanie. I have a new ant problem this year -- a giant hill of the mean red ones have moved into the wildflower area. Hmmm... I wonder if I put a sprinkler on them they might reconsider their new home...

Kate said...

Thx, Snowcatcher;
I do love the fact that I don't have to schlep hoses all over the place. :))

Kate said...

Hi, Sunita;
I love your idea of monsoon vegetables. I'll need to look into that for my own garden...

Kate said...

Hi, Rose!
I'll happily package up the rain -- and the mosquitoes -- and send them your way. :)) I hear ya about MN. They grow 'em big up there.

Jean said...

Ha, drippy, wet gardening - I just thought of a new name for my blog! This morning I needed one of those 80s sweatbands because I kept getting blinded by my own sweat just weeding. Ah well, you can't always get what you want, as Mick says, so I guess we all need to learn to live with the unpredictable.

GrammyMouseTails said...

Mother Nature sure has been playing some nasty tricks this year with the weather. We just got another round of hard showers. the first hard batch flattened my hollyhocks & they never had a problem standing tall, and the last knocker over my tall phlox (sorry I do not know the name, my friend tells me the while variety is David?) and did a number on my forsythia bushes, that finally got the much needed trim, but farther than was needed... the skeeters are horrendous! I guess we even have a variety called 'flood skeeters'! I noticed they looked different, but they still eat me alive, so I am hiding in my hot humid house with no a/c. but your garden looks lovely!
Faythe @Grammymousetails

Digital Flower Pictures said...

Great selection of flowers.