Cape May Garden Journal: August Weather
By Jane Kashlak
August 14, 2004 - For a few years, we would be doing a little rain dance right about now, hoping to quench our garden's August thirst. When we first moved here, Cape May in August was dry as a bone. It looked like water restrictions were going to be a way of life.
We got tired of waiting for the summer rain that never came and instead started planting "xeric" plants.
Xeric plants like Agastache (on the right) are native to sunny, dry lands like New Mexico.
The plants don't need much water. In fact, they don't like much water.
Perfect, because we didn't have much water.
We planted three different varieties of Agastache, three varieties of Salvia Greggi (Texas Sage), plus Red Hot Poker, Yarrow and a couple of different Penstemons - all adapted to life without much water.
Wouldn't you know it, the year after we got our drought tolerant plants into the ground, the rains started in Cape May again.
We lost two of our Agastache Rupestris and one red and one pink Salvia Greggi to the wet winter. (The others, however, are doing well. Go figure.)
We nursed our little Horsemint (Monarda Punctata) through an unusually wet spring.
We thought the coast was clear when we hit a good, dry, hot sunny stretch of June and July. Every rain storm seemed to pass our garden by.
It was so dry, in fact, that we almost lost our Tulip Popular and our new Magnolia.
Then the weather changed again. Can you blame the plants for being confused?
Cape May's summer weather has been great for people - not too hot and humid, with a few fall-like cool fronts.
Great for biking or enjoying the beach.
Tell that to the Tomatoes - one by one, they're succumbing to some dreaded tomato fungus.
Here's what the cherry tomatoes look like right now:
Does it really matter if it's Tomato Alternaria or Septoria or Blight? The tomatoes are making it very clear they do not like the weather.
The melons also are rebelling.
We don't want to sound ungrateful.
After all, many of our plants are flourishing with the little bit of extra August moisture and coolness.
But still, what wouldn't we give right now for a long, hot, blistering, summer drought... just like the good old days.