The flowers aren’t the only things that are wilting.

The garden, and gardener, in July:

Around here, July and August are the time of the Gardener’s Paradox: Everything in the garden is growing rapidly, but it’s too hot to be outside tending anything. I live in Zone 7b, where it is technically true to say that one can garden year-round. In practicality, we have three seasons of gardening: fall, winter, and spring. In high summer, it’s just too much.

I returned from a long weekend in Chicago to find weeds that seem to be waist-high. Enough rain has fallen that the soil is loose, and the roots of weeds come up easily if I pull them–but after just five minutes outside I’m covered in mosquitoes and my energy has drained away as cleanly as if someone had pulled a plug on my spine. There’s not enough ice water in the world to perk me up.

It doesn’t cool off at night. Temperatures in the 70s mean that plants do not get a chance to rest and recover. A fresh layer of mulch helps the plants, if you can find the energy to spread it.

This time of year I always begin to despair a bit. Gardening becomes a game in which the bare minimum of garden-task accomplishment equals the absolute maximum of what the gardener can physically yield. I go outside for a short while after supper each evening, plucking up the most formidable of the weeds, hoping I can help the garden limp along to better, cooler, days ahead.

Hope it’s cooler where you are!


4 thoughts on “The flowers aren’t the only things that are wilting.

  1. The rain has indeed helped keep things fresh. I should look on the bright side: At least everything is green and lush, instead of brown and withered. If I can just get out long enough to pluck off the wilting bits, dozens of new buds will pop into bloom.

  2. Take the week off! I’m hiding inside at the computer this evening. I’ve been out there, but unless there’s some freak ice storm I’m staying put in the air conditioning….. maybe later when the sun drops a cold beverage could lure me outside.
    I thought it was the southerners who invented iced tea and mint juleps! What better time than now to enjoy them!
    …and remember, big weeds are much more rewarding to pull and fill the compost pile.
    …and also 🙂 Didn’t Henry Mitchell himself say the only gardening to do now is to make a nice ice-cold Walla Walla onion sandwich, take a bite, take a couple minutes outside, then hurry back inside until a break in the heat comes along?
    Stay cool!

    • I do like the way you think! Yes, iced tea is the best thing to quench thirst at any time of year. I haven’t yet acquired a taste for bourbon but my husband would agree with you on the mint juleps. I will have to investigate that Walla Walla onion sandwich. HM was a wise man indeed. 🙂

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