We beat the heat with a great day trip

Can you guess where we were from the lobsters below?

LLBean 2019

Lobsters were everywhere but there were lots of whales, too.

LLBean 2019

Not every animal was man-made. We saw live fish as well.

L.L. Bean 2019

By now, you’ve probably guessed. We drove in air conditioned comfort to an air conditioned adventure destination… L.L. Bean in Freeport ME.

L.L. Bean 2019

With a heat advisory warning targeting New England this weekend, we decided the adventure of L.L. Bean would be the perfect getaway for us. It was cooler in Maine but we felt the heat from a firepit as we approached.

We were handed marshmallows on sticks to roast over firewood flames, then sandwiched the yummy gooeyness on Hershey chocolate between monogrammed grahams.  This was L.L.Bean’s big S’more out of Summer event that also took place in NYC and will pop up other places.

Our picture was taken with gigantic marshmallows and we were encouraged to add it to Instagram to win a tent, sleeping bags and more. We laughed at our pic but would NEVER add two old folks to their Instagram photos full of youngsters. Too weird.

 

It must have been a  Shop With Your Dog Day, too. They were everywhere, even in the small restaurant. Big dogs, little dogs, black and white dogs, dogs going up, dogs going down. Go Dog Go!

L.L.Bean 2019

The wing of the store that was once luggage, etc. now caters to exclusively to children. One parent seemed to be clothes and bookbag shopping and the other was engaged in interactive entertainment with children. Progress!

L.L.Bean 2019

L.L. Bean 2019

Lunch and shopping behind us, we headed for the parking lot, Ben & Jerry’s cones in hand, melting, dripping, sticky, delicious. On the way home we overwhelmed by the number of people for many, many miles on I-95 heading to Vacationland Maine… and, oh so very thankful we headed up early and beat those crowds.

I-95 North July 2019

As we drove south, we checked out folks along the way trying to keep their cool under the blazing sun. There were always lines at ice cream stores, the waterfront was full of people and boats in Wells Beach ME, and water parks were packed to the limit as you can see on the duel stairways here.

Splash Water Park 2019

But the most unusual sight we saw was on I-95 as we were going 70 MPH. Out of my passenger window a Harley whizzed past on our right and actually left us in the dust. The passenger, arms out, was obviously enjoying the high speed breeze they were creating. Yikes and more yikes!

Harley I-95 2019

Home safe and sound at days end with shadows of the setting sun hitting the house and cooling us a bit. Today we have another heat advisory warning but there are breezes and perhaps a thunder storm or two rolling in to water my gardens and cool us even more.

Lazy Days of Summer

It’s mid-July. We are in the midst of dog days. After a wet spring, rainfall has been reduced to an occasional shower or two here and there. Days can be muggy and they can be hot. But not hot enough for A/C in New England….. yet!  Fans really do the trick. It made me smile when I opened a congratulation letter from the electric company for electricity efficiency. Yippee!

Pinks and purples and blues of spring have faded in the area set aside for cut flowers.  Now it is moving toward hotter oranges with coreopsis, asclepia, echinacea, and gaillardia. Tall ‘Hyperion’ daylilies will soon open to a lovely buttercup yellow and float over these sizzling reds and oranges.

cutting garden

We still have pinks and blues elsewhere. Our johnny-jump-ups will stay with us for the summer with a nice splash of color in the herb garden.

johnny jump-ups 2019

Flowers and shrubs take care of themselves now. There are chores among the ornamentals, maybe a few small weeds to pull daily but not enough to label as real work. Now we can sit back, relax on the deck, enjoy the garden, and watch our birds,

hummer 2019

Can you find her?

or take some New England road trips like this recent one to Vermont,

Vermont July 2019

and of course, we’re regulars at our incredible farmers’ market….

Farmers' Market 2019

… as we buy from farmers while we wait for the healthy fruit to ripen on our two tomato plants. Our Celebrity tomatoes are looking great and we can see a faint glow of pink in the right light. Wishful thinking?

tomatoes anyone 2019

Late July and early August is when the Little Lime hydrangea will burst on the scene. We have an early tease of what is to come at the tip of every branch. When in full bloom, those 5 shrubs will be the focus of our small landscape and well worth the wait.

Little Lime hydrangea 2019

We are savoring each of these Lazy Days of Summer. The season is way too short and before we know it, we’ll be looking out at the white landscape of winter. Give me hot and humid over snow and ice any day!

Happy summer to you!

Record Heat Wave!

Outside temps hovered at 106

Officially, the temperature topped 106 yesterday, hot enough to fry a whole omelet on the sidewalk! Triple digit temperatures have been the rule lately in Tidewater, giving us one of the hottest weekends in our history. For the past week or so, temperatures have settled into the mid to upper 90’s each day, chasing us from the waterfront and garden to the relief of air conditioning.

Sadly, as I make my way around the community, the sight of dead or dying landscaping, especially newer shrubs and trees, has become more common. When temperatures rise to the mid-90s, photosynthesis begins to shut down and trees begin to drop leaves. In the 100-degree range, irreparable damage can often be done to trees as cell membranes begin to dissolve.  Water can be the solution but not always.

Several of our young trees, planted less than a year ago, have succumbed to the extreme heat despite being well-watered. A young serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis) turned brown and died despite trucking water on a regular basis to this remote location. We also lost a year-old golden raintree (Koelreuteria paniculata) and a year-old bald cypress (Taxodium distichum).

Today we expect temperatures to drop about 16 degrees. A slow-moving cold front is pushing though and winds will drop temperatures into the upper 80s or low 90s. We’ll have sunny skies again, nary a drop of needed rain in sight, but the scorching heat should be over.

What is July like in your neck of the woods?

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester