Summer gardening skills: Perseverance

It’s getting to that point in the season when I feel that heading out into garden demands mental toughness. The weeds are well out of control. Spring flowers like iris and peonies have finished their run, but the summer flowers haven’t hit their stride. There’s just not much going on, except for weeds. And deadheading.

Temperatures today will hit 90F (32.2 C), and this is just the beginning of summer. The vegetables want water, and by late afternoon everything else in the garden will look as though it wants some, too, though most of my plants are resilient enough not to need it just yet. Heavy mulching helps this time of year, but spreading heavy loads of mulch this time of year requires more of that mental toughness. It’s hard to summon when it’s hot outside.

Fat daylily buds demand a shower of deer repellant. The lilies lost that fight overnight.

Daylily buds are growing fat, and will look beautiful if the deer don't eat them.

Daylily buds are growing fat, and will look beautiful if the deer don’t eat them.

Rose campion gives me a little boost. This self-seeding annual requires no help from me. It works as an attractive groundcover when not in bloom. In four years, I’ve gotten to the point where managing it is becoming a bit of a chore, but as long as I cut it back before the seed pods set, I’ll be fine.

Dots of magenta rose campion light up the afternoon shade.

Dots of magenta rose campion light up the afternoon shade.

When I step outdoors, I feel the heat and humidity suck the energy out of me, like a child sucking up the last of a glass of milk with a straw. My best trick for gardening in the summer heat is to do it in small chunks. Ten minutes here, five minutes there. Leave a few minutes early for the errand so I can pull the new weeds by the front walk. A short walk in the shade at the end of the day with scissors in hand lets me trim off the spent stalks of iris and the roses that are dropping their petals.

It’s a long summer ahead. I’ll take it bit by bit.




2 thoughts on “Summer gardening skills: Perseverance

  1. Your garden looks nice in spite of the lack of rain. We had about 12 minutes of rain this afternoon. I’m glad for it but would have liked a lot more. Love you rose campion. I have lost my magenta one. It didn’t come back this spring, but have a white one that is pretty aggressive. susie

  2. I think only we gardeners are always looking for more rain, while everyone else is rejoicing in sunny days. Here on southern Vancouver Island, we get a fair bit of rain all winter, but it peters out by June, often not returning until September. Fortunately, we don’t often get temperatures of 90 F, and high humidity is also rare. I know what you mean about toughness and perseverance, though. By the end of July I get tired of racing around with hoses and watering cans — and there’s still August to get through. Rose campion is one of the stalwarts in my garden, both the magenta and white forms. Here it’s a short-lived perennial and there is never a shortage, despite endless deadheading. It does well in both sun and shade, however, and tolerates dry conditions, so I love it despite its somewhat weedy tendencies.

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