Saturday, July 20, 2013

Temperature Malfunction Mode

Still oppressive and in the 90s, with the heat index going over 100 degrees. It is supposed to break today, with some rain- producing thunderstorms, but so far it hasn't.

We could use the rain. It's been over a week, and the sunny hot wind has been hard on the plants. Containers really struggle despite soaking them every day.

If I go out in the morning and work very slowly, I can get a few minor things done before I am drenched. I just never remember having such trouble with heat when I was younger. Now, in my 60s, the least effort on a humid day means I have sweat streaming in my eyes, water running from my nose, soaked clothing, hands too wet to hold tools, rivulets running down my cheeks.

I remember being hot and sticky in summer, but nothing like this, ever. Of course I never had hot flashes and night sweats before either. My whole body is in some kind of water and temperature malfunction mode. None of the dials work, and all of the regulators are gone haywire.

So here is what I did get done while the cloud cover and a damp wind made things a little more tolerable this morning.

I cut back all the nepeta. I like the blowsy spread of the plants as they flop over and wiggle into the junipers nearby. But the blooms are gone by, the forms are messy and they need the chop.

I also dug up and moved a few pink Cut & Come Again zinnias to the empty spot in the front center of the Birch Garden. There is always an empty spot there, I never seem to find anything to fill it. Even all the tall Nicky phlox plants did not fill that space, although they help immensely with their deep pink at this time of year.

I took the Black & Blue salvia out of the pot as I had wanted, and put it at the edge of the gravel garden near the smokebush. It's a filler, holding the empty spot where the aurinia was. Then I dug up the little plumbago to put in the pot. The plumbago looks better already. It was doing nothing by the side of the arbor, and although it had one sky blue bloom, it wasn't growing. Better out in the open in the container.

Still need to cut back the drumstick alliums and chop the big patches of geraniums back, but the morning's easy work was too much. Soaked, I came in, ate lunch and then slept the sleep of the dead in an after-lunch nap. I really think the little bit of movement out in the humid air makes me so sweaty and I lose so much water that I get dehydrated, or something. I mean, I slept.

What a surprise the blackberry lilies are this year, the orange ones forming a big stand at the back, and the wine colored 'Sangria' lilies forming a stand at the front. I haven't seen them so prolific before.

The weird thing in the Birch Garden this year is that the evening primrose never spread, and only a couple pretty pink blooms remain in a small area. It had previously been a worry for being rampant.

And the big wild stands of yellow coreopsis have not materialized either. Last year they took over the back of the Birch Garden. I loved them, the sunny yellow flowers on tall floppy stems were nice. But this year the little patch you see above is all there is. I don't know where they all went.

I have decided the lone rogue bottlebrush buckeye in the hedge is bothering me a lot, now that all the others are so big and blooming so profusely. It sits there, not ready to bloom for another few weeks, right in the midst of a line of big flowers.

It. Is. Driving. Me. Crazy.