Yes it is another unusual Sunday post to entertain you and our friend Sue.
WE GOT RAIN! We've had three bouts of rain during the last week. It is such a relief not to have to water. Despite this, the entire state of Pennsylvania is now under an official drought watch. Lack of snow and rain of course are the culprits.
My husband and I had already begun drought mode, recycling grey water, buckets in the shower to catch rain, etc. I'm hoping the rainfall continues. We sure could use it.
The ground bees are acting normally again. Molly, the bee keeper that lives down the street, suggested two reasons the bees were acting so erratically :the smoke haze and the lack of water. Ever since the rain, I've seen the bees acting normally. No more crawling around the ground in distress. Thank goodness.
I was concerned that my nikko hydrangeas would not bloom this year but I have a few beginning to bloom. I'm certain the bushes won't be as profuse as other years but am grateful that some of the bushes are flowering.
The Lace-cap hydrangeas are also blooming but they need a good pruning later this year. There sure is a lot of dead wood on this bush and it's looking a bit disheveled.
On the other hand, the Oak Leaf Hydrangea and the Annabelle (snowball) Hydrangea are going full gang busters. They are the most prolific bloomers and nothing seems to deter them. One difference is that the Annabelle has smaller blooms. This is actually a relative comparison. Most years the blooms grow larger than my hand span. This year the blooms are smaller but the bush is still full of flowers:
The Oak Leaf Hydrangea shows no sign of drought at all. It is now about 7 feet high and will probably grow taller. I prune this every other year down to 3 feet and it must like it because it comes back year after year!
One plant that appears impacted by the drought is the Astilbe. It is flowering but the stems are low to the ground at leaf height. I've never seen this happen before.
"The finches are back! I haven't seen them for years!" my husband was excited. Actually I do see them in the later part of the season when the Rudbeckia and Echinacea starts to set seed. Husband isn't always home to see them then. But this time of year we rarely see them.
Due to the drought, I didn't do any of my usual garden maintenance except to water. In particular, I usually deadhead my garden regularly but didn't do any of that the past month and half. One of the plants I prune regularly is the catmint. I don't like when it goes to seed (it springs up everywhere) and the new growth is so much prettier. As it turns out, the finches LOVE catmint seed.
Finches are skittish. They hear or see one little thing and flee. They must really love that catmint seed because they now sometimes perch of the arbor to ascertain the danger. It takes a lot of patience to get a photo of them.
I've been reading about finches and learned that they often next much later than other birds. They await for plants to seed and hold off on mating until they know their is a good food source to feed the young. I occasionally see house finches with them (they are brown with a little red). Years ago, we had green finches as well but I haven't seen them in at least a decade.
So that's the tour of the garden this week.
Have a safe and happy day!