Okay, if you can stand the heat


Predictably, with recent heat and humidity, powdery mildew has set into dogwoods (below). Regular spraying with a fungicide will prevent this for gardeners concerned with every little flaw, but there is no long term detriment, so why bother? Perfection is not a requirement in this garden.

Powdery mildew is expected on Cherokee Sunset dogwood by mid summer.

A seedling Bottlebrush buckeye is long established beneath a River birch at the rear border of the garden. A second (below), planted along the shaded southern border, flowers two weeks earlier, though I would judge the degree of shade to be roughly equivalent. That a seedling shrub could grow large enough to be identified clearly shows the degree that this wetland area is maintained. It’s not, though the worst of brambles are occasionally chopped out.

Years ago, this area dried out enough to support witch hazel and an evergreen holly, but a mostly dormant spring came back to life, and today it ranges from swampy to damp, but is never dry. Recent deluges, with more rain on the way, will not be a problem for wetland shrubs that were planted after others failed.

Variegated Duet beautyberry is not ideally suited to damp areas, but it has survived consistently swampy conditions this year.

While Tiger swallowtails remain scarce, bees, moths, and smaller butterflies are plentiful. Mountain mint (below) is nearly at peak bloom, which will attract pollinators for weeks to come.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. tonytomeo says:

    The same aridity that dogwoods dislike about our climate is what inhibits mildew, even when the weather gets warm. Foliage either gets ruined by mildew in other climates, or scorched in our climate.

    1. Dave says:

      In this area Chinese and hybrid Rutgers dogwoods have increased in popularity due to disease and mildew resistance, but native dogwoods remain the standard since their flowers stand out along roadsides in early spring.

      1. tonytomeo says:

        Dogwood flowers are legendary. I have never seen them. I saw native dogwoods in Oklahoma, but only in winter. I saw different native dogwoods in Oregon, but in summer. Our natives are just the red twig dogwood, which are not much to look at in bloom.

  2. Ruth says:

    Dear Dave. You should see what you think of the heat out here in California! Love the pics of the bee and moth by the way…and I even thought the mildewed dogwood looked pretty! So, thank you as always! 😀

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