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.
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.
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.