I saw a clever church marquee on my way home the other day. It read, “No it’s not as hot as . . . ”
Well, since I’ve never been to hell, I can’t say, but it sure feels like we have arrived. Three solid weeks of over 100F degrees every freakin’ day makes this red dirt girl a snarly stick in the mud (if any mud could be found). However, I’m reminded it’s not as bad as the summer of 1936 in which the hottest day ever recorded in Oklahoma was July 19th with a high of 109F. With no air conditioning, several folks died from heat related injuries, but not as many as I expected. So, although it’s hot, I’m thankful for “refrigerated air,” something which schools didn’t have even when I was a child, and one of the reasons why we went back to school later than my children who start back next week.
In honor of Bloom Day, and because I have summer cabin fever, I went out Saturday afternoon and took pictures. As I write, I see it’s 105F. Gee, one degree less than yesterday’s high makes all the difference doesn’t it?
I’ve heard from the weathermen we’ll receive a cold front tomorrow and highs will then be in the 90s. Imagine, 90s seeming cool.
Now, without further complaint, here’s what’s blooming in Okie Land today despite August’s furnace.
I planted some yellow lantanas early in the summer, one of Proven Winners’ cultivars. Luscious Lemonade, while imagining all that yellow/white goodness against the red fountain. Then, they just sat there trying to bloom, but not growing any larger than their small potted selves. You know how you walk by a place in the garden and each time you wonder? Lantana is easy for pity’s sake. At first, I pondered the cooler than usual, rainy spring. Then, one day . . . Eureka! It hit me. The new area around the fountain is builder’s sand, and they had no nutrients. I worked in some soil and added organic fertilizer for a jump start, but it was late in the season, so they didn’t have time to quickly catch up. In other words, it wasn’t the plants’ fault. It was Ortus Erroris (Gardener Error in botanical Latin, something which happens here a lot). Later that week, I was cruising Lowe’s and saw these ‘Confetti’ lantanas in huge containers. I added three of them to the surround, and now all of the lantanas are very pretty. Plus, the Gulf Fritillaries tell me they like bright colors.
The common, pink garden phlox, Phlox paniculata, continues to bloom, and the swallowtails, whichever variety they are, love it. I know this is a passalong plant, but there’s a good reason why. With a little water, it blooms for months, and even if you don’t water it mid-summer, it still lives. How do I know? I see droopy ones all over town. That’s one amazing plant in my book.
What else likes this hot weather besides cacti and sedums? Cupheas do. After last year’s success with bi-colored cuphea, I added three more plants this year to the tiered beds. They are blooming and pretty as always. I also have bat-faced cuphea in the potager, and it greets me with its sunny face every morning. The gorgeous dark purple cuphea I had last summer surprised me and returned this year. Either that, or it produced reliable seed which sprouted. I like all of my cupheas and couldn’t garden in Oklahoma without them. I also have ‘Ballistic’ growing in a container, but I think this weather has been nearly too much for it.
Verbena ‘Lan roypureye’ Lanai Royal Purple has bloomed for months too. It sat there until the furnace turned on in July, and now, you can’t stop it from clambering over the side of the wall. I also have the Lanai Peach, and while it is a pretty color, it only blooms at its ends. I’m not so happy with it. However, Royal Purple can live here anytime. Behind the verbena blooms several dwarf zinnias and Pentas lanceolata ‘Stars and Stripes’ I planted to replace something which died probably from Ortus Erroris again.
Some of the roses try to bloom, but whenever they eek out a blossom, it resembles crumpled tissue paper. I wish they would just wait until September, but they don’t listen very well. Do queens ever listen to their faithful subjects? ‘Belinda’s Dream’, ‘Carefree Beauty’, Knockout, the David Austins against the garage wall, ‘Frontier Twirl’ and ‘April Moon’ all are giving their best summer concert, but they look pathetic.
All of the basils are blooming, including the red Thai basil I planted earlier in the year. Also, spearmint is blooming looking all the world like an expensive perennial. The small pollinators cover it day to night.
The crapemyrtles still bloom and all but the purple ones probably will until frost. The purples start and end a bit earlier than the other cutlivars.
Prairie plants like the coreopsis laugh at this weather and shake their petals as if to say, “bring it on.” However, the black-eyed Susans are looking a bit bedraggled without me to deadhead them. I’ll be honest, I’m just not into doing garden maintenance right now. I wonder how the landscaping crews manage to keep up with their yards? That reminds me, a very funny book about a garden writer who doesn’t like lawns, Radical Prunings: A Novel: A Novel of Officious Advice from the Contessa of Compost, by Bonnie Thomas Abbott, has helped me while away these hot summer days. I’m also dreaming about an English garden as tended by The French Gardener, by Santa Montefiore. Anymore, I like to read books like both of these on my Kindle or my nook, because turning pages hurts my mousing finger (commonly known as the index finger). However, neither of these was available in an ereader edition. I’ve gotten to where I actually enjoy reading on an ereader, and someday I’m going to do an unbiased review of the two I bought. I wonder if any of you would be interested? I don’t have an ipad, but someday may try one of those. If Apple would like to send me one, I’m game to review it too (snarf, snarf).
If I can’t garden, at least I can read about beautiful gardens until the weather cools.
Thanks to my dear friend, Carol of May Dreams Gardens, who hosts Bloom Day each month from her sunny porch back home in Indiana. Did you know the 2011 GWA Symposium will be held there?
I can’t wait to read about your blooms for this month, and I’m off to do just that.