This summer will be remembered for its dryness and high temperatures that went along with it - a lethal combination for all but the strongest and well-established plants. I feel like I've walked around the yard with the hose permanently attached to me like a tail most of the summer. It became one of the cats' favorite things to chase as I pulled it behind me.
Signs of the drought conditions we experienced in June and July can be seen throughout the garden, but this Spider Flower (Cleome hassleriana) shows it best.
Normal height of this is 36-48 inches. Mine is twelve and most have not gotten beyond the seedling stage. I started them this spring from seed saved from last year's flowers and grew them in the same location as last year. Those were also grown from seed and were normal height. As I said, I watered constantly during the dry period, but since these were located in the furthest spot in the garden from the spigot, they didn't get a shower as often as most everything else. They obviously suffered.
Now we're deeply entrenched in August and today we're under a flash flood watch from all the rain we've gotten in the last couple of days. It's thundering as I write this and I was driven back inside by more rain as I was taking my first stroll of the day through the gardens. That's okay, though, because it's going to take a lot of it to get the ground back to a normal moisture level and it's been wonderful to not have to drag the hose around with me.