Because I have a well (and am very resource-conscious) not all plants are getting watered during this awful heat. Like the balsam. A member of the impatiens family, they like moisture. But even here in the shade, they are suffering. Since it's mostly done blooming, this annual will be allowed to succumb. I'll save seeds for next year.
Some perennials will suffer the same fate. The astilbes will be allowed to die back. No amount of water will lush them out again this season and there is no real reason to try. They will come back next spring.
Some things, however, I will water - sparingly. I have 2 doublefile viburnums (rescued from my mother's gardens when they got too big). They were planted late last fall and obviously don't have extensive root development yet to withstand long dry spells.
I have 2 blue rose-of-sharons that I also transplanted last fall. They, too, have less root development, but unless I see more stress than this, they may be able to wait until the rains return.
This is a frustrating time for me. Though I plant drought tolerant varieties, they have limits. In the veg bed I am watering only those that will still crop if given a chance (beans, Brussels sprouts, peppers, carrots, butternut squash, tomatoes). Others - well, time to pull the plug (cukes, basil).
My angst comes when I see mass plantings of salvia subrotunda, salvia spendens and the-yet-to-bloom salvia elegans go limp and lean toward crispy. Or watch the toughest agastache start dropping leafs. Or notice the leaves on the zins and cannas curl.
So this morning, knowing that there is no rain in sight and that there are gahundreds of bees and butterflies counting on the beds for forage, I went out and watered. I watered the salvia and swear I could hear the well pump running in the basement. I watered the viburnums and brick bed zins and imagined that below my feet the water table receded. I watered some of the agastache, the potted plants, and refilled the birdbaths. And felt - guilty. (I did not water anything in the ring bed - those plants have been - and always will be - on their own.)
Logically I know I'm not really squandering water. I doubt I used more than 50-60 gallons on this big splurge today. Emotionally, however, it's tough to deal with it. I refuse to rationalize that oh, the guy next door washes his car all the time or the guy down the street has a pool or (for crying out loud) the golf course behind me runs their sprinklers every night!!!
Still, I'll be very very happy should some tropical system send some rain this way. I think my brain is getting a little fried.... 8-\