When we bought our house in 1987, we knew that it had no sump pump, something unusual in the Chicago area, and apparently had more drain tiles than most adjacent homes. I found that to be true as anything we try to grow on the perimeter of the house feels as if it is growing in the desert. I have to be extra careful and I have found some plants that don’t seem to mind the very arid situation. We used to have several boxwoods in front of the family room windows and they bit the dust a few years ago. Last year I put in a dahlia for the summer and it was a success. This year I put in three and two of them did well for a while and then they started looking sad.
I had to step into action. I pulled out the water and was dousing them way more regularly and I also took to adding compost tea to the water while doing so. The compost tea, a liquid draining from the compost, is brown and when added to water makes it look like weak tea. I made sure that I made a dark tea since I am notorious on not fertilizing perhaps as I should. I am amazed to say that they have made a comeback.
The dahlia in the back flower bed started having a powdery mildew on it and blackened leaves. I removed as much as needed, cut back, and watered with compost tea and rain water, until the rain barrel went dry. That dahlia has had a comeback as well.
I realize now that perhaps I was part of the problem with the rose behind the house, but it got to the point of looking good, plant-wise, just not producing flowers.
I pulled out the back roses yesterday and will replace with two clematis plants: one red, one white.
It is all good.