Garden follies

July 12, 2012 in Outdoors by Carol Michel

Every season has the potential of subtracting something from a garden. A wintry ice storm may break branches off trees. A late spring frost may kill off a few blooms. A gust of wind (on an otherwise calm, hot, summer day in the middle of a drought) may knock over a red bud tree that was already rotting at the base (as was the case in my garden last week).

My red bud provided just enough shade for me to risk planting a few woodland flowers around its base a few springs ago. Even then, the tree was leaning and I knew it was a bit foolish to rely on its shade for too many more seasons; I named that area of the garden “Woodland Follies.”

As it turns out, it was more folly than I thought it would be. I had plans to plant a tree on either side of the red bud, let them grow some to provide their own shade and then remove the red bud tree. With the red bud gone, I’m assuming the woodland flowers may soon be subtracted from the garden as they try to survive the drought in full sun rather than their preferred full shade. I may try to move them, risking that they’ll die after transplanting rather than wither away in full sun.

This drought will likely subtract a few other plants from my garden, but it will also show me which plants can survive hot summers and long periods without rain.

I’m making notes to add more of those types of plants to my garden just in case we have another drought. In the meantime, I’m just hoping to get through until fall without too much more subtraction. After all, fall is for planting and now I have a spot open for the addition of a tree or two.

If you are seeing too much subtraction from your garden during this drought, Purdue University cooperative extension agents recently published a new website, On this new site, they have links to several articles on what to do around the garden during a drought. It’s good information to review, even if you’ve survived a drought before.