Thursday, May 26, 2011

The New Normal?

Wild Lupine
During this elongated monsoon season, I’ve been keeping tabs on my friends in New Mexico. They’ve not had a drop of rain since December and I watch the dust swirl beneath their horses’ feet as they canter through the back country.

Wild Milk Vetch
Our own weather guy has been trying mightily to take our minds off the fact that we’re getting New Mexico’s rain (and probably yours, too.) If his latest trivia tidbit ~ how this is the coldest, rainiest spring in 35 years ~ was a feeble attempt to make us feel better, it is absolutely not working for me.

I keep wishing things will 'get back to normal.'  But, as time drags on, I'm beginning to wonder... is this the new normal? As in no such thing as normal and all weather patterns are extreme?

Wild Buttercup
On this 26th of May I am ~ finally ~ seeing leaf buds on my Lilacs. Not flowers, mind you, just the lime green hint of leaves preparing to unfold for springtime. Isn't that astonishing?

The weather here, there and everywhere has been depressing the hell outta me. I'm one of those do-goody two shoes who likes to volunteer and feels guilty over the plight of others. I'm grateful that I don't live in tornado country and happily donated my garden budget to those that do. Which was part bleeding heart though, I'll confess, it's an equal amount of selfish frustration.

Prairie Primrose should survive. She likes to keep her feet wet.
Not terribly excited about adding new flowers when I no longer know what will grow here. There's standing water in my backyard and waterwise perennials rotting in those make believe lakes.

I filled my gardens with natives and xeriscape perennials because I wanted to do right by the weather. It's hot and dry here, made great sense at the time. (Plus, it's way fun to smile smugly at my next door neighbor who goes into debt, every summer, on water bills to keep his Kentucky blue grass green.)

Uinta Groundsel
But, now I haven't a clue what to do. Other than to watch and wait.

To see how my Grand Plan Gardens fair under the regimes of the new normal. Who knows? Maybe they'll love this cushy new lifestyle. Maybe they'll think getting watered every day is a good thing. Though, I kinda doubt it. And, I'm preparing myself to file this soggy mess under ‘damned if you do.’

21 comments:

Susan in the Pink Hat said...

I'm not as hard off as I've planted non-waterwise plants because I inherited a property with non-waterwise mature trees I didn't have the heart to cut down. I lost the agave I planted last year and the yucca looks miserable. With waterwise plants, I'm finding the native plants are faring much better and the Penstemons are faring the best of all. Many of our native flowers are biennial or short-lived; I think that's their adaptation to this weird kind of weather.

ONG said...

While our weather here in NJ has been much better of late, I still have standing water throughout the property. Seems like some plants are thriving too much and taking over while others are struggling mightily. It is so frustrating and I've found myself paralyzed with what to do next. You are dead on, is this the new normal?

Melospiza said...

"Elongated monsoon"--love this term. That's what it feels like here, too. Cold and wet. DEPRESSINGLY cold and wet, and the fact that I should be counting my blessings not to live in tornado country helps...kind of. But kind of not ("It's cold and wet--BE GRATEFUL!")

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Susan;
My penstamons are doing very well, too, which is surprising to me. How they thrive in pretty much any condition we dish out to them. On the flip side, I'm thinking my Wild 4 o'Clocks are history...

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, ONG;
I'm seeing that, too. That Prary's Primrose likes it wet though she is very well-behaved in dry. I think she's got her beady eyes on the whole garden bed with plans of a huge takeover.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

I'm with ya, Melospiza;
On the one hand I feel guilty bitching about the weather when I still have a roof over my head. But, on the other hand... enough's enough!!!

Katherine said...

We have not had as much rain as we have had gray days with extreme wind. Any moisture we get is soon blown away in wind that is a like a blow dryer set to 'cool'. My lilacs, like yours, are just green buds. Even the grandmother peonies are so late that they won't bloom until July (and if it gets hot, they'll bomb) -- and there's nothing tougher than an old peony. We are still wearing winter coats and long underwear.

Kate/High Altitude Gardening said...

Hi, Katherine;
The grey gloom is hard on me, too, and we've had far too much of that. I miss the bright blue skies of the mountain west! It would surely break my heart if grey skies are the new norm. Stay warm, my friend.

Patricia Tryon said...

I love the texture contrast between leaf and flower in the Wild Milk Vetch.

Ramona said...

Love the Uinta Groundsel. Doesn't the weather seem like "the topic" of conversation every day now? Will it snow, will the river flow its banks, extreme heat and drought conditions in the lower southern states, etc. Maybe we need to think in terms of the "new" normal like you said. All I know is I need to be able to wear my shorts and flip flops soon!

Bonnie said...

Our weather is the 3rd rainiest on record, although we are under a tornado watch right now, so I'm sure we'll get heavy rain. Not worried about a tornado as we've never had one, we don't really live in a tornado prone area of the US. I've decided to stop complaining about the rain because I do have a dry, safe house to take shelter in. My plants will have to learn to survive on their own. Many yards are turning into hay fields, the ground is too wet to mow. I think this is the new normal - thanks to global warming.

Blackswamp_Girl said...

I feel your frustration... I keep feeling like we've either started having a "monsoon season" here, or that I have somehow been relocated to the Pacific Northwest without my consent! I'm so surprised that the lavenders and penstemons aren't pouting more. The sages and the agastaches ARE making their feelings known, however. And I'm just now seeing my grape vines leaf out.

If this is the new normal... I'm not sure what I think about it. :(

Lisa at Greenbow said...

We are having a weirdly wet cool spring too. Thankfully the tornados have passed by here. We can always hope for the best. Isn't that what gardeners are good at...hope.

ProfessorRoush said...

I do live in tornado country Kate, but the weather here in Manhattan has not been any more awe-inspiring than your own this spring.

Lona said...

Hi Kate. Girl I know what you mean about the weather.Some of my plants are just not liking their feet always soaking in water. It looks like we are going to go from cool wet to hot,hot this coming week. This has been a year for extremes for certain and makes for one grouchy gardener. LOL! I sure hope this is not going to be the new norm but one wonders when the earth quake in Japan knocked the earth off a little on its axis if it has to have an effect on everyone's weather patterns.

Mac_fromAustralia said...

Beautiful photos.
I just typed out a whole paragraph about the weather and then deleted it. Lots of people really doing it tough. I couldn't find the right words.

Janie said...

Beautiful photos of your wildflowers. I'm confused by the weather, too. It has definitely been weird this year, here and everywhere.

A Garden of Threads said...

I have early spring, late spring and early summer flowers all blooming at the same time. Our weather pattern has been hot, sunny, no rain then cold, cloudy, rain. The plants do not know what is what, when summer hits them they will be wondering what happened to the water pipeline. My plants agree with yours, what gives here:)

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Kate girl I am wondering the same thing since we are going through the exact weather you are .. wettest coolest Spring yet ?.. my garden is lush but the drive to do anything in it with rain keeping me in the house .. well .. not much is getting done and that wonderful garden feeling I should be in the middle of by now is flat as a pancake ... maybe it is just this year .. not the new normal .. JUST THIS YEAR ! Keep saying that there and I will say it here !!
Joy : )

Alan said...

I really loved the picturs you've uploaded today. They are lovely!

The Redneck Rosarian said...

Here in Alabama the only thing 'normal' is the setting on our washing machine!