by Ray Allen
Now that summer heat has arrived, we may suffer from discomfort, but wildflower meadows really don't. This is one of the great advantages of wildflower gardening: As one expert put it, wildflowers are famous for "Waiting for the Water." When heat hits them, most established wildflower plants may wilt a little, but it's something they're expecting, and unless the heat is prolonged, it doesn't hurt them. Of course, you can help. Regular watering during a heat wave helps, especially to keep the bloom going. (The blooming process may slow down or even stop during prolonged heat.) However, if your meadow is large, you may not be able to water the plants, and if that's your situation, just be glad these are tough wildflowers, and they'll be fine. (If you planted wildflower seeds this spring, find out what in bloom
and identify the flowers you're seeing.)
As for perennials, the story is different. Especially if you have plants that require pampering, like roses, young clematis and others. Watch your garden carefully, and the minute you see wilt, get out the hose. Water as regularly as you can, and try not to do it during the heat of the day. Also, put the water on the ground, without drenching the leaves.
This is the season when mulch plays its part. If you mulched well in spring, weeds are kept away from your plants, and the mulch helps retain all the moisture that's there. If you didn't mulch, and weeds are invading, you have work to do. Of course, weeding is no fun in the heat, but think about it. If weeds or grasses are near your prized plants, they're stealing the water! Get them out of there, so every drop can be used by the plants you're pampering.