My sister has this noise she makes sometimes called her “Powerless Noise.” It’s a bit of a raspberry mixed with a sigh. That’s precisely what I think of July and August, the two longest months of 2011. Do I really want to travel back there again?
Will you venture with me?
You’re a brave soul. Well, then . . . onward!
The hard times were just beginnin’ on July 5th. In my most recent post, I stated we received good rain on Easter Sunday and then none after. Well, then it rained 1.24 inches in June, and it was over 100F for much of that month. The above one hundred temps continued through July. The caption of the photo below: “A touch of blue makes it cooler.” Not much cooler I can tell you.
Still, we weren’t worried.
We should have been. By July 9th, I complained I’d lost my gardening mojo. On July 15, it was still over 100F. No rain in sight except for heat showers caused by the intense temperatures. No accumulation. I am fortunate to have a watering system with a deep well, but I watered almost everything with drip irrigation at night. Some plants did okay with this method while others rotted at the soil level.
Still, some plants continued to bloom. I can’t imagine how.
When I could stand it no longer, I left for cooler climes with other garden bloggers to Seattle for the Garden Bloggers’ Fling. I can’t tell you how glad I was to be out of Oklahoma. The Texans felt the same way. I know because they said so . . . many times. I just kept nodding. I got hate emails–just kidding–from Oklahoma when I posted about my trip. Try to Imagine was about two neighbors who gardened next door to each other, a wish I’ve always had. I told my friend, Helen Weis, I’d sell her the property across the street if she’d just move. While at the conference, I got to visit Lorene Edwards Forkner’s garden too. She is one crafty girl, and she has a new book out, Handmade Garden Projects. We saw some of her work in situ.
My family, seeing how much fun I was having, decided to join me after the conference. We went to the Bloedel Reserve which is one of my favorite places and ate our way through much of Seattle.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay in Seattle forever, so I returned to my log cabin. By squinting my eyes very small, I hoped I wouldn’t see all the damage, but it was there. I felt so sorry for the plants who kept trying to grow and bloom in spite of the temperatures and drought. We returned during a week of temperatures anywhere from 107F to 114F.
I’m not kidding. Oklahoma had the worst summer on record in 2011, and it wasn’t over yet.
I didn’t write much in August, and at the end of the month, I left again. In Indianapolis, I attended the Garden Writers Association National Symposium. Now, that’s a mouthful. I returned and was too tired and disheartened to post. I continued to write for Lowe’s and Fiskars, but between the travel, heat and wildfires all around me in September, I had very little to say on the blog.
Morning glories were one group of plants which enjoyed the heat, and before long, they covered everything in the garden. My main arbor became Cousin It.
By the time it was all said and done, Oklahoma had sixty-three days of over 100F. Sixty-three days. Much of them consecutive. It bears repeating.
In September, I worked to reconnect to the garden. It wasn’t easy. Lemonade plants like zinnias, Rainbow Knockout roses and blackfoot daisies helped.
Toward the end of the month, the Oklahoma Horticultural Society held its annual garden tour, and there were wonderful gardens on it in spite of the summer from hell. One gardener was so funny. She spray painted in bright colors every plant that died. I was behind a couple of visitors who said they thought it was “tacky.” I told them I thought it was marvelous. Stuff died. She made art out of it for a day. It’s life.
Last summer nearly made me afraid to garden again, but, I went out there anyway and worked hard to take my garden back from the weeds.
Thanksgiving came and went, and I am grateful for my gluten and casein free diet which helps me stay healthy. I planted my amaryllis and waited only to discover some of them were an epic fail.
The remainder of the year, the garden merely sleeps and with all the holidays, I feel like I need a good rest too. But, work moves on. Lowe’s and Fiskars renewed our writing contracts, and Proven Winners asked me write for them as well. I’ll also be writing quite a few articles for Oklahoma Gardener magazine as before. In a changing economy and profession, I feel fortunate to have work in the new year.
Thank you so much for reading my writing wherever it lands. May the new year will be kind and prosperous to you.
Nita (Lil Sis)
The raspberry noise is powerless and the sigh is acceptance, if I could do that on a daily basis I might not fight so hard to be what I’m not. Thanks for reminding me!! lol
Pam's English Garden
Dear Dee, I resolve not to complain about the weather in Pennsylvania again. In 2011 we had Hurricane Irene and an earthquake, but nothing as damaging to my garden as to yours. I am so sorry, and wish you a much better 2012! By the way, I love to read everything you write. P. x
Annie Haven | Authentic Haven Brand
Ah, a wonderful walk with you through your garden past, experiencing the same heat wave you did here in Southern California has my work cut out for me. This 80+ December/January has my Lilacs in full bud so there is no telling what Spring will look like here at the ranch. Like you I will be back out there trying to restore some normalcy to the gardens. Happy New Year and here’s to a milder summer for all of us Annie
It was EXACTLY that bad! Oh my goodness. I confess I gave up. Even the wildflowers refused to germinate and bloom last summer. We can only hope for a better year this year. I LOVED the idea of spray painting all the dead stuff. What a sense of humor.
Goodness I cant imagine that sort of temperature for a week let alone 60 odd days. I was reading something written by a gardener who gardens in Mallorca in the Mediterranean. He said that he had learnt that some plants didnt benefit from watering when it was hot as it just rotted the roots off. The plant went naturally dormant during the heat of the summer and then revived when the temperatures reduced.
And now, I sit here in Oklahoma, wondering if I’ll be suffering with that this summer. I sure hope not.
Loree/ danger garden
I really can’t even begin to comprehend what that heat and lack of rain must do to a person, let alone a garden. YOU are one tough cookie!
As for the ladies (I assume they were?) who thought the spray painted plants were tacky no doubt they are a little up-tight and have no sense of humor, too bad for them.
I feel exactly how you do about July and August. Pictures, even those melted justice cannot do how miserable those type of endless temps are. The past 2 summers here have been 90s during the day and high 80s at night for 90 days straight and its… just not right. So, I can’t even imagine adding another 5-10 degrees onto those temps.
Here is hoping that we have a few years now of karma with cooler than average summers.
I loved reading both parts of your year in review, Dee. I’ve been skimming through my old posts and photos from last year, too; I think it really helps to have a review of the past year to remember the successes and failures in the garden. Of course, you’re younger than I, so maybe you aren’t as forgetful:) I promise I will never again complain about the heat and humidity of an Illinois summer–63 days of 100 degree heat! I would have never left the house! May 2012 be kinder and cooler to you and your garden.
I do too Rose, and yes, I forget a lot of what I’ve written. I try just to pick the stuff which I’ll look at later and say, “Oh, yeah, that’s what happened that year.” Hugs to you. Happy New Year! I didn’t leave the house much. Read a lot of books.
I hurt for you and your garden. What a terrible summer it was; I hope 2012 is better. gail
It was one rough summer. I’m betting 2012 is going to be better. Fingers crossed.
I remember so well the news about the heat in Texas and Oklahoma, but I must tell you that it wasn’t much better in Georgia. I think it was the hottest summer in 40 years. Of course, IT’S NOT THE HEAT, IT’S THE HUMIDITY! I say that it’s both, they are both so difficult. Since we do all our gardening in pots, my husband would sometimes have to water twice a day.
I hope this summer will be better for you! Your garden still looked wonderful.
Oh and you mentioned that camellias do well in Georgia? I saw some beautiful ones at Stone Mountain on Dec. 26th!
Look forward to reading your blog in 2012!
Kay, Camellias are great in the south. I’m even trying a couple here in pots against the house. I’ll move them in spring. Yes, last summer was pretty awful for everyone. If it wasn’t the heat and humidity, it was the torrential rain. Let’s pray for a better 2012.
It is painful to just read this. I’m sorry you had to live it my friend.
It was a bummer. At least I got away.
Our summer here in Mississippi was dry and hot, but not as bad as Texas and Oklahoma.
I pray 2012 will be a better year for all our gardens.
Me too Lea. I saw people give up and lose hope.
Lisa at Greenbow
Dear Dee, The weather you had this summer was enough to dry up a green thumb such as yours. I am glad you didn’t totally give it up. Here is to a new and better (hopefully) gardening year. Cheers, Lisa
Lisa, if I remember right, your summer wasn’t exactly easy either. Colder than usual and a lot of rain. Let’s hope for happy gardening years ahead.
Donna@Gardens Eye View
Dee you are such a busy gal…perhaps all the gardening you couldn’t do left you time to do other things..sometimes we don’t like the outcomes but it seems to balance out…for now there is this coming spring and new gardens to see as they peek up out of the soil…won’t be long now…
Donna, I agree. I read a lot. I got more books read and articles written than ever before. Unfortunately, however, I’ve lost a season of photos to use for work.
Toni - Signature Gardens
My Farmer’s Almanac says TX and OK are in for a cooler summer but still dry. Guess we will take any improvement we can get. If we learned something from the awful summer and made our gardens better because of it, then it was not all for naught. I love the spray painted tree. Now that is a lemonade plant, right?!!
Toni, I can take dry if it’s cooler. Exactly, we will take whatever Mother Nature gives us.
Toni - Signature Gardens
My Farmer’s Almanac says TX and OK are in for a cooler summer ahead but still dry. We shall see. If we learned anything from our awful summer and reevaluated our gardens and made them better, then I guess it was not all for naught. Love that spray painted tree. Now, that’s a lemonade plant, right?
Here’s to NEVER having another summer like 2011 again, Dee! Absolutely awful! I remember seeing the pain in your eyes as you were telling us all about it when we were in Indiana, only to have to return to it for several more weeks. I love your term ‘lemonade plants’, too. Very cute and I might have to borrow it sometime! 🙂
Rebecca, you can borrow anything I have. 🙂 Can’t wait to see you soon.
What a sad year for Oklahoma, and Texas, too. May 2012 be so ever much better for you both. I have the Table Mountain and love it, BTW.
Frances, I’m so glad I found that Table Mountain sunflower just sitting on a rack by its lonesome a couple of seasons ago. It has charmed me time and time again.
I’m not at all sorry to see the end of 2011. I hope 2012 is a better year for us both, especially in the garden!
Cindy, I’m right there with you.