Fresh Start – Drought in Niagara Falls and My Garden


That’s what we need with this year, a fresh start to the year.

All that expectation and hope for a wonderful year of gardening is being washed away in some places around the country and drying into nothingness in other places. We are of the latter. Every blackened storm that blew our way just kept on going. To have a garden filled with bloom needs the rains to fall. I have noticed people are buying and planting less due to drought.

Poppies, lupine and foxglove.

Tuesday (May 26th) was the “233rd day in a row there’s been less than 0.75 inches of rain recorded at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport’s weather station.” Buffalo News source. We’re averaging less rainfall than is considered normal and healthy for trees and shrubs. Seeing cracked earth in Western New York has been a common sight.

Salvia, flax, verbascum, and dianthus.

Rainfall has become very sporadic and quick, only lasting a minute or two. When we did get rain in May for that minute or two, it was very heavy, and heavy rain just makes things worse rather than better. Drought followed by heavy rain is just a bad situation on a worsening situation, usually just running off rather than soaking into the soil. This made watering the garden a must.

Iris in the Asiatic lily and allium box-bed.

My garden has remained OK due to watering every few days and we finally did get some rain this Sunday. I am not fond of regular watering, but trees and large shrubs, the arborvitae especially, are severely affected. I really can’t get enough water to them where they are planted. The boxwood and many perennials are well suited for dryer conditions, yet all plants need rain. I am hoping for rain here, but it looks like the rain has been forecast for next week.  Fingers crossed we get rain.

Front garden blooms.

Off to the Fling on Thursday and it looks to be rain free for the most part.  Garden posts will auto-load during my time away. Don’t miss Lush Gardens of June Can Leave Gaps in the Garden on June 6th. It has a few tips you might not know. Then a great post, So You Want to Change Bloom Time on Your Perennials?, a must see post on June 8th. I will be back in no time, see you then…

Rear garden blooms.


About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at:
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30 Responses to Fresh Start – Drought in Niagara Falls and My Garden

  1. Despite the lack of rain you certainly have some gorgeous blooms. I would agree that the current extremes in weather are creating real challenges for gardeners. Spring for those of us in Seattle came a month early and we are being warned that we will see spells of drought later this summer. It looks like the longer term shift in the Seattle climate will make us less wet and more arid-more like the coast of California; I guess we will see. Have a great Fling.

    • Thanks Charlie. I certainly hope you are not headed in the CA direction. The verdant beauty of the Seattle region scenery is a gift to this country. I did hear Seattle has lacked normal rainfall. I was just commenting to a friend from there that all those sunny days are not quite the good thing so many are enjoying.

  2. Loretta says:

    Gorgeous blooms and oh how we need the rain for our precious gardens. Here in DE we too suffered a drought for much of May, but the past couple of days has seen cooler temps thankfully, with buckets of rain. I’ll take it any day.

    • I agree having the rain is good, but the heavy rain washed top dressings right into the storm sewers. You could just see the soils and mulches wash away. I have never seen rain that hard as we got in those few short minutes, even in Costa Rica monsoon weather. As soon as it started, it disappeared. Within the next hour the garden was bone dry again. This Sunday, we had a slow rain all day. That was a relief!

  3. Kevin says:

    If we can only find a way to better distribute rain — too much in one place, not enough in others. In south Florida, things are also dry — and this is the rainy season. Showers have been hits and mostly misses — or so brief that the water evaporates before it can do anything. Now that the weather pattern seems to be on the move, the forecast may change.

    • I agree. It would be great to get some from Texas. I can bet you lose water to evaporation, we too have high heat and humidity. The humidity makes it unbearable even in the mid-eighties. I have been watching the weather move this past week. Storms that passed over us hit other areas pretty hard. Like Connie said in our Southern Tier.

  4. The rain we finally got in Amherst was helpful, but there was flooding in the Southern Tier. This new normal is getting worrisome.

    • You got quite a bit more precipitation than did we in NF. The numbers at the airport are greater than we have had here in my part of the city. Even a few miles over had rain when it missed us. It was almost a joke on us looking at the black sky and nothing.

  5. lucindalines says:

    You are really ahead of us in terms of the season, hope you get some needed rain. We are expecting major storms today according to the predictions. I need to move the pots under cover and find more caps for the tomatoes and peppers.

  6. Eulalia says:

    beautiful gardens and awesome pictures…

    thanks for sharing

    • Thank you. The garden is doing fine, but when I am away, there are conflicting forecasts as to temperature by almost 15°. I never saw different reporting agencies having such a span between expected temps. I hope the one predicting in the 60’s is the right one. The high seventies (they have it as real feel of 84°) and sun will bake the plants. I did move most sun loving flowers in pots into the shade. At least that helps when on a vacation. I soak them and hope it does not get to 90°.

  7. Hope you do get rain soon. It seems we have had too much in our area in April and all has overgrown but now it is far too hot for this time of year and some plants get scorched. Great photos as ever.

  8. Beautiful garden , seems we are all having strange weather and will need to adapt to the changes….

    • Thank you. I have been reading reports all across the nation and world. It really does seem like we are at a tipping point of sorts. Weather has been volatile and unpredictable. When Californians are debating whether to have gardens or not due to being unable to care and water them, it seems like we are losing a favorite pastime and vital wildlife refuge gardens one state at a time. If plants cannot be hydrated, wildlife cannot utilize them. Sad state of affairs. Each year has been getting progressively dryer and hotter. I saw a time graph of the heat increase not long ago and it was alarming.

  9. Oh, dear. I don’t like this. Don’t like it at all. It reminds me of the Midwest in the summer of 2012. I don’t want anyone to experience drought. I will do a little rain dance for you right now. I’m not making light of it, though. I know how dreadful it can be.

  10. Marna says:

    The prairie states never get abundant rainfall. For several years prior to 2015 we had very little rain, some years were drought years. My gardens are changing to adjust to the lack of rain. I am choosing more drought tolerant plants. Hard choices, I love roses.

    • Here, many changed over to drought tolerant plants through the years. Our problem in this area is that these same plants get water-logged in cold, snowy, wet springs, then hit with baking, rainless summers in rock hard clay. It has become difficult to design for these changes. As much as native plants are suggested, they are some of the ones not adjusting to the “new” and changing temperature extremes in this area. Plants may do fine for years, then large sections of plants rot out. We find that some southern plants are thriving, only to succumb when wet springs take them out. We have been having a good snow cover for the past two winters, which is wonderful for plants facing wind driven below zero weather, but for a number of years before that, we had little snow. It has been very different that what was the norm. I do sense that we are approaching a new norm.

  11. Brian Comeau says:

    Wish I could send you some of our rain…. 😦

  12. Emily Scott says:

    It has been an exceptionally wet, windy and cold month in London – but reading your post makes me appreciate the rain more.

    • I can sympathize with those getting too much rain, especially in Texas. At least for those of us where it is dry and also feasible to do, we can irrigate or water gardens. The big problem is the added cost to food and to the environment. I saw in CA where irrigation of large farms is coming from ground water. They are depleting underground reserves greatly. I can see where this happening for a long duration will compromise infrastructure over time. They have already documented land falling by inches each year and even in one place a foot a year. Sinkholes anyone???? The land compresses as water is removed which cracks foundations, bridges and roads. So us watering is not always the answer either.

  13. We’ve escaped drought so far, for which I am grateful. I hope the rains come for you (after the Fling, of course). You must be watering enough, because your gardens look fantastic.

    • I had to water the garden which I am fortunate is small. After the garden walk season, the garden is on its own. Thank you, the garden is doing pretty good even if I can’t get it all watered.

  14. Dani says:

    What a lovely space you have here, Donna. I appreciate the beauty of a garden (and have heard time and time again how kneading the earth and creating a living space is therapeutic), but, sadly, I only seem to kill flowers.

    My Grandmere was quite the green thumb. She sang to her plants and flowers every morning without fail. And I’m convinced they heard her because they died not long after she did. She said the “gift” came with age and the ability to See things at a cellular level.

    If she’s right, perhaps there’s hope for me yet.

    Under the same sky,

  15. Your post is like a breath of fresh spring air – just brightened everything about my day!

  16. Even with the hot dry weather your garden is doing great….I find my established plants will do well through May and into June but without some spring and summer rains all bets are off after that…5 inches here in 2 days so lots blooming here again.

  17. debsgarden says:

    We have had years of drought followed by years of torrential rains. The only thing certain about our weather is that it will change. An almost certainty is that it will be very hot and humid in the summertime, though I have always wondered how it can stay so humid even in the years we have summer drought.

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