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!

It’s not the Heat in Virginia….

…it’s the Tidewater humidity that gets you. It can be sweltering and uncomfortable. Tidewater is classified as a subtropical zone which includes parts of Texas, most of Florida, up through Georgia, North Carolina all the way to Washington, DC.  Our winters are basically mild and dry and summers in Virginia are more often hot, humid, muggy, sultry, sticky, damp, rainy, steamy. Groan….. Moan….  Grumble…. Complain….

We are experiencing that high humidity of our dog day summer right now. Receiving 3-1/2″ of rain (joy, joy!) in the last 24 hours (7″ for the month) has turned our world into a sauna. I am venturing out daily to work for short periods in the yard but find myself dashing for the coolness of the porch beneath the big fan or escaping to the house where the air conditioner hums consistently even when set to 80º.

Watching the rain from the porch

Watching the rain from the window

The heat, humidity and recent gully-washer rainfalls have turned our area into a kudzo-like lush landscape. The greens of leaves on trees, shrubs, vines, grass seem to be closing in on roads and pathways. Steam rises over pavement, grass and soil. It’s more tropical than subtropical right now.Flowers in the garden bloom and die too fast and are taking a back seat to green chaotic growth everywhere. Weeds are finding a new foothold. mister gardeners tomatoes are ripening too fast to pick, his potatoes are trapped in the wet ground… too wet to harvest, the corn in the fields has bolted to 7′ tall (8′, says mister gardener). Grass needs to be mowed too often. Frogs, toads, birds and insects form a daily symphony of sounds, noisy sounds, screeches, squawks and bellows that continue day and night.

Corn towers

Delighted ferns... looking a little Jurassic in this humidity!

This is the Tidewater I have always known and loved. I may grumble but I wouldn’t trade one sultry day for life elsewhere.

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester