Cape May Summer Garden in Bloom 2014

Cape May, NJ -  Looking at our late July garden, you’d never know that this past June was the driest June in 20 years in Cape May.   The purple phlox are blooming beautifully, the yellow wild senna are threatening to take over their little corner of the world.

If June was a hot, dry devil of a month, July truly has been a gardener’s best friend. Several ample rainfalls.  Cooler than usual temperatures.  We can’t be in Cape May, land of muggy heat and arid summers.  This is what it must be like to be a gardener in Great Britain.

I never thought our oh so tall yellow Rudbeckia Herbstonne would live to see July.  We don’t irrigate the flower garden. At least, we didn’t.  Garden Partner slipped the poor, thirsty perennial some water when it looked like the plant might bite the dust before the flowers appeared.

And then came the rain on the fourth of July.  Not a moment too soon.

Most of our plants are drought tolerant, which doesn’t mean they don’t need water.  They simply can get by with a little less water than others.

What happens when a garden that’s used to being water deprived gets more than its share of summer rain? The plants sing, they dance. They blossom.

So with over five inches of rain so far this month,  it’s a joyous time for both garden and gardeners.  The red bee balm, which stopped blooming in June got a second flush of flowers last week.  The hummingbirds noticed right away. They moved right in.  The annual tropical milkweed shot up several inches in as many days. The butterfly bush flowers aren’t turning into crispy critters overnight.

And the bees are working over the wild senna like never before.  The buzz is deafening.

Oh, yes, we are all so very happy this July in the garden.


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About Jane Kashlak

Jane Kashlak - a journalist, gardener and Cape Island resident - is writing a book.