The Four Corners region of the Southwestern US (Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico) is suffering yet another in an long string of regional droughts that have occurred in this area across the millennia. Here in my Santa Fe gardens and around town, I’m taking front seat to the effects of this multiyear drought on the city’s xeriscapes. Previous to yesterday’s cloud burst, the rain gauge in my front portal had recorded about 2 ½” of precipitation since the start of 2013. It’s been really, really dry.
But as global warming has pumped so much more energy into the Earth’s weather systems, the weather events we are now experiencing are often more extreme. Thus, when we got our first real rain of this year it was a monster; 2 ½” of rain fell in about 25 minutes across portions of Santa Fe bringing with it a lot of hail. I hate hail……. Hail and mosquitoes; twin plagues of the planet. But all you can do is clean up.
And here is how to revive your hail damaged perennials. These are a very resilient group of plants that have the potential to bounce back quickly with a little first aid. The key is to cut them back to where you find some undamaged foliage and clean-up all the leaves and debris left behind after the hail has shredded the foliage and stems. Clean-up is essential as it prevents disease from attacking the crowns of the plant, the result of moisture and rotting leaves lying over and around the bases of their stems.
Then a couple of days later, after the plants have healed a bit, I like to provide some energy to help revive them. I spray an organic foliar fertilizer over the remaining foliage. My favorite is Soil Mender™ Foliar Plus. I pull out a ready-to- use bottle that attaches to the end of your hose which makes it easy to apply these essential nutrients. I do this a couple of times, a couple of weeks apart. And while I’m out in the garden I spray any foliage left on my trees and shrubs too. In about a month or so the perennials will have recovered and come back to good health. And many of them will re-bloom to brighten your garden a little later in the growing season.
David's Dependable Desert Plant Collection is a combination of woody evergreen shrubs, succulents, and long blooming perennials that have proven their value over time in Chief Horticulturist David Salman's New Mexico garden. Selected for their interesting pollinator-friendly flowers, resilience, and long lifespans, these xeric plants can provide an excellent foundation to a new garden, or beautiful structure to an existing garden. Collection of 12 plants.
'Blue Spruce' Creeping Sedum (Sedum reflexum) is a standout among low-maintenance Sedums. This easy-to-grow and eye-catching features succulent blue-green foliage, much like little spruce needles! A pollinator favorite, it is covered with small star-shaped yellow flowers in summer for over a month. A great evergreen groundcover where low maintenance, drought-tolerant, deer-and-rabbit-resistant plantings are desired.
'Cape Blanco' Creeping Sedum (Sedum spathulifolium 'Cape Blanco') is sheer elegance with unusual pewter, powder-blue succulent foliage in a well-behaved groundcover. Clusters of tiny yellow flowers cover the plant in summer. Cape Blanco is an award-winning standout. Easy-to-grow and pollinator-friendly this North American native is a must-have!
Li'l Bang™ 'Starstruck' Coreopsis hits a home run for easy-to-grow, colorful, pollinator-friendly flowers. Blooming with rosy-red-to-pink cheerful blossoms with bright yellow eyes, it will keep you in color from mid-summer to mid-fall. Great for containers too, and deer resistant.