The Northeast is currently in the grip of some seriously hot weather. According to the forecast, cooler air will be moving in soon and relief should be here before the weekend is over. Because of all the rain in April and May, the RainyDayGarden has been especially lush this year.
While we enjoy having a verdant garden, we minimize watering if at all possible. Someday we will put in a soaker-hose system, but that's a maybe-in-a-coupla-years project. In the mean time, when we do water, we do it early (7AM) and enough in order to promote deeper root growth, not surface spread. Many of the perennials are well established and quite drought tolerant. However, when we know that we are facing a few days of 90º weather, we give the plants a good soak to help them get through the spell.
In the RainyDayGarden update at the beginning of the month, we made a mention of some plant supports we got from the Gardener's Supply Company and how they helped with propping up the droopy spiderworts. With the current heat wave, we thought these supports were worth a second mention. Plant supports are not just helpful for wimpy plants like the spiderwort, they are helpful even for tougher plants such as Blackeye Susans and Spireas.
The Jardin half-round supports are made of steel. They come in different sizes and two in a set. The legs are threaded at one end and screws into the half-circle brace to form the support. We would recommend getting a few different sizes because that way you can mix and match the desired support diameter to the height of the posts for a given plant.
To support a large clumpy plant like spiderwort, the 18"x29" support was perfect. The half-round steel frame braced up the stems without showing any flex at all. Also, not being a circle made it possible to lift the plant up while pushing the legs into the dirt, something very difficult to do with other types of supports.
When it is so hot out, sometimes even hearty plants wilt a little during the day. To make sure the stems aren't damaged during those thirstier moments, we have given a little extra support to plants which may be vulnerable.
The 12"x19" diameter half-rounds were just right for giving a little help to the Blackeye Susans that have started to bud. They will grow to be around two feet high, so the 19" legs were perfect. We also liked how these half-rounds blend and almost disappear when in place. The pink lilies have yet to bud, but when they do, they tend to be very top-heavy and will droop considerably if not supported. We used the half-round brace from the 12"x 19" set and the legs from the 18"x35" set to make a tall and small 12"x 35" support for them in anticipation. The leftover wider 18"x19" combination was perfect for giving the Spirea bush at the end of the driveway a lift, just enough to get the branches off the ground.
By watering early in the morning and with the aid of the supports, we are confident that the plants in the RainyDayGarden will be able to handle the toasty temperature without suffering any ill-effects. We, as well as the plants, are looking forward to more moderate days. Stay cool and hydrated, dudes and dudettes, and have a great weekend. [Permalink] -Jardin Plant Supports