SUMMER SEEMS SLOW to arrive

June weather tough on some plants

I cut back my lupines as all parts of the plants but the blossoms were covered in powdery mildew thanks to the damp.

Sheesh! Sure does not feel like summer is here yet although, officially, the Summer Solstice happened at 10:04 p.m. on June 20. Some summer. I am still wearing wool socks and sweatshirts…my traditional early spring gardening attire.

I guess there is some encouragement for this year compared to last year’s weather figures from our back porch. The average low and high temperatures for June so far are both a bit warmer than this time last year.

The inclement weather made the topic of Chekpoint on Chek News recently. Listeners were asked for their reasons for the cause of our current weather patterns. Some blamed climate change, some said the Earth’s temperatures have always followed warming and cooling cycles since the beginning of time. Although not specifically stating how many people responded to the Chekpoint Question of the Day, their findings were 46/54 between climate change and natural weather patterns.

Interesting. Especially in light of the Earth’s average temperature having increased a degree and a half in the last 100 years, with half of that occurring in the last 33 years. Since the eruption of Mt. St. Helen’s on May 18, 1980, in fact.

Well, that was one of the major global events to occur in 1980. But according to some weather specialists, the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption did not have an impact on our weather because there was no sulphur dioxide released to the atmosphere during the eruption.

There sure was a lot of dust though. I remember my mom exclaiming about how it coated everything in Victoria. And I also remember it was “the summer that did not happen” in Gold River that year…where we were living at the time.

Okay…fast forward to present day. The current weather is certainly affecting our gardens. Some things are doing quite well given the cooler than normal temperatures and some are doing terrible.

I just cut back my lupines as all parts of the plants but the blossoms were covered in powdery mildew thanks to the damp. Next year I am going to try a recipe that claims to get rid of powdery mildew. I am a little sceptical as it is my understanding once your plant has this ugly looking disease, there is no hope. Will keep you posted.

Talking about ugly…whose roses are free of black spot this year? Mine aren’t although I did try something new this year. Or tried to….besides giving them some seaweed mulch early this spring. I attempted regular sprayings of kelp fertilizer to beef up their strength. But the number of rain days thwarted my spraying schedule so results are not conclusive. (We have had almost three inches of rain here in Black Creek so far this month and over seven inches of rain in May.)

However, for every disappointment there always seems to be an up side. My Stewartia pseudocamellia tree is absolutely covered in blossoms this year after only giving us a measly three flowers last year.

Another bright spot is the brilliant blue colour of the delphiniums against the grey skies. A perfect lure for the many hummingbirds currently residing in our garden.

Also saving some valuable time in not having to water the garden very much so far. A good thing for those of us who have to pay for our water.

So much water now. I wonder if we will also have another eight week drought this summer. My weather records last year state last day of rain was on July 20.

Well, there is not much we can do about the weather. We just have to look for those silver linings here and there in the garden and enjoy them to the utmost. Happy summer!

Leslie Cox co-owns Growing Concern Cottage Garden in Black Creek. Her website is at www.duchessofdirt.ca and her column appears every second Thursday in the Record.

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