Summerizing Your Southern Garden: A couple of tips on drought and heat

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Summerizing Your Southern Garden

By dave
May 12, 2014

Up north, they winterize their gardens. Down in the south, we summerize them! Among the many pleasures of gardening in the south are long growing seasons and comfortable winters, but our long and hot summers can be brutal for us and our plants. Here is some advice on dealing with drought and heat in our gardens.

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Name: John
St.Osyth Nr Clacton on Sea. E
Region: United Kingdom Hybridizer Garden Ideas: Master Level Ferns Butterflies Salvias
Hostas Heucheras Clematis Birds Bee Lover Daylilies
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midnight21
May 12, 2014 4:25 AM CST
Great Advice Dave. If I may add a couple of things I have found useful. First it is a waste of time using a watering can on dry soil, as one 2 ltr water can just waters the top half inch of soil causing roots to come up, which makes matter worse. If any of my pots dry out, I find it better to dunk pots up to their brim to dispel air. Hold them under the water until the bubbles stop. Hoe the ground often to break it up so when it rains the water will soak in and not run off. Water retaining gel in pots and baskets certainly help, and one final tip. Put a couple of ice cubes in the top of the pot or basket to melt slowly.
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
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lovemyhouse
May 12, 2014 9:41 AM CST
I like the ice cube idea, John. Smiling

Dave, I agree that lilacs and peonies struggle here, and I love both. Most of my plants are accustomed to little supplemental watering, however, I HAD to put a few peonies in. HAD to--because I am stubborn (read as "pig-headed") and really wanted them. Whistling Hilarious! Helps that my yard is shaded in the afternoons, otherwise, I am sure the garden would be a lot more sparse than it is right now and the peonies would have fried out long ago.

Glad to know that tomatoes will come back at the end of summer. Put two(!) in this year to try my hand at them and will see what happens.
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
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dyzzypyxxy
May 14, 2014 6:54 PM CST
Looking years ahead, planting trees on the south and west sides of your house and property will reap huge benefits when their shade cools the hot sides of garden and home.

Just be careful in your tree choices, especially those within branch's reach of the house. Choose strong trees for close in, and put the lovely, fast growing, flowering trees further away.

John, we have to be careful using those water retaining soil additives like the gel crystals in humid heat like we have here in Florida. They gather water from the air, and can keep plants too wet.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: John
St.Osyth Nr Clacton on Sea. E
Region: United Kingdom Hybridizer Garden Ideas: Master Level Ferns Butterflies Salvias
Hostas Heucheras Clematis Birds Bee Lover Daylilies
Image
midnight21
May 15, 2014 9:58 AM CST
Yes, you have to be careful with them. When I first used them I put in too many and when I watered them, the soil looked like sago pudding, but just few put in over here works wonders to keep the pots moist.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
May 16, 2014 8:51 AM CST
I cringe when I see our big box stores here selling "Moisture Control" potting soil in large bags. This is potting mix with those crystals already added, and is almost certain death for any plant that needs to dry out a bit between waterings especially in summer when it rains almost every day. Moisture lovers like Cannas and Gingers would do fine in it, but that's not what people are buying at those stores . . .
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: John
St.Osyth Nr Clacton on Sea. E
Region: United Kingdom Hybridizer Garden Ideas: Master Level Ferns Butterflies Salvias
Hostas Heucheras Clematis Birds Bee Lover Daylilies
Image
midnight21
May 16, 2014 9:41 AM CST
Hello Elaine

Do they do both kinds over there like here, one with moisture control or the ordinary one. I usually get some of each, but even the moisture control ones don't seem to have a lot of crystals anyway, so I add a few of my own if needed.

John

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