I’m sure everyone is tired of my bellyaching about the weather, but come on weather gods, this is ridiculous. The biggest problem I see, besides the-whole-earth-is-in-trouble thing, is that it feels like late August, and we haven’t even made it through July. The poor earth is so parched–except for those places where it’s flooding or there’s 4 inches of hail or the coast is slipping into the sea. For you, I am so sorry.

Sea of Juniper garden. Not much help from the rain gods.
Sea of Juniper garden. Not much help from the rain gods. Not looking half bad, all things considered.

But back to my PDX problem. I’m already thinking about fall and the holidays. I’m already coming to accept that many garden-to-do tasks are rapidly approaching wait-until-next-season status. Hells bells, this season ain’t even done yet. It should be just seriously getting under way. And even though I tell myself, I’ll get out there and tackle it head on anyway, I HATE working in blistering heat. It’s right up there with working in the rain–which I always imagine I’ll happily do, until I’m soaked and muddy and my shoes and gardening gloves weigh an extra 20 pounds each.

If we ever have rain again, that is. The weather dudes are predicting precipitation in Portland this weekend. As a public service announcement, I’d like to remind peeps: please don’t hold your breath.

Xera in the rain June 27, 2014
Xera in the rain June 27, 2014

See, it rained in June last summer, late June. No such luck this year. (However, you might want to visit Xera next weekend for their summer sale. Last year I dallied, and by the time I got there, all the Manzanitas were gone.)

So what’s a gardener to do?

Plan. That’s what I say. Think about what can move where come fall. Consider how plants did in pots versus  in the ground. I just happen to have two such plants to consider. Canna ‘Pretoria’ and a Colocasia that I grew from bulbs. The package did not specify which Colasias (don’t tell, I found them at Costco.) But the price was right and I wanted to give it a try. It’s crazy. You can apparently put deformed lump of brown Christmas-stocking coal in the ground, and voila, a big leafy plant emerges.

Canna 'Pretoria' in a pot, about 18" tall, and no blooms.
Canna ‘Pretoria’ in a pot, about 18″ tall, and no blooms. Pretty, but sorta sad.

The potted Pretoria Canna above is going in the ground, come fall. I also have a couple hardscape areas that need attention, but that’ll have to wait too. The grass I want to remove for that project is like concrete at this point.

Canna 'Pretoria' aka C. 'Bengal Tiger' planted in the tropical bed and blooming like mad.
Canna ‘Pretoria’ aka C. ‘Bengal Tiger’ planted in the tropical bed and blooming like mad.

And then there’s my Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’, my most success overwintered plant. I shake off the dirt and throw it in an Ikea bag in the basement. And then I dutifully repot it every year in the same pot. What am I thinking? Get that thing in the ground where it has room to spread its leaves.

Ensete ventricosum 'Maurelii', maybe the pot is stunting its growth.
Ensete ventricosum ‘Maurelii’, maybe the pot is stunting its growth.

I do like it on the patio, but still, it’d probably be happier in the ground. This is what comes of wanting all the tropical-looking plants near the patio table. There’s only so much room in the garden nearby. I guess I’ll have time to think on it this winter.

Red banana, dutifully overwintered--by pulling from the dirt & throwing in a bag in the basement. Next year, it's going in the ground.
Red banana, dutifully overwintered–by pulling from the dirt & throwing in a bag in the basement. Next year, it’s going in the ground.

So closing in on the end of July, I’m still watering regularly. Most of my plants are relatively new additions.  I’m not about to let them die. But since it was so dry so early this year, even established trees and plants need irrigation. The trick now is to keep up the good fight: woman versus parched soil. My poor defenseless plants are counting on me. It’d be criminal to let them down.

We love hearing from you, so don’t forget to jot us a note and let us know how you’re coping with your weathering woes. It helps us keep the faith.

Cheers