It's been hot here.
I said I'd post more pictures of my garden here, so here they are:
I didn't run these through any filters to enrich the colors or make the contrasts pop. They're just taken straight off my phone (I know, right? FirstNations using the camera function on her phone!!) and stuck up here. This is what the light was like in the middle of the day, and...there ya go.
I haven't taken any pictures this month because of the heatwave.
Yeah, I'm particular about how I want my garden to look. In weather like this, I have not been able to mow because that would fucking kill my yard. The longer the grass and other forbs get during this time of the year, the more moisture is held close to the soil and the better it is for everything with deep roots, like my specimen trees and shrubs. Maybe I should get over myself. It looks tatty as hell, but everyone in town is seeing it, and if they can take it, I'd imagine you can too. (IDV, if you make ONE comment about the buttercup in my lawn, I'll tell the world about Broom and The Noodle Incident, bud, so watch yo' mouth.)
Mowing the grass is...kinda not a big deal at the moment, since it isn't really going nuts, it's just getting buttercup (you heard me, IDV) and white clover. I could make it all look respectable by going around the edges of the borders with a weed whacker. Now, is my ancient ass actually going to get up early and do that shit in the cool of the morning? Fuck no. So SUFFER.
Suffice it to say that once these bullshit high temps have passed I'll be taking new pictures. So imagine: rosa 'Sunsplash' in exuberant blossom, like a Mardi Gras float, all ruffles and hip-shaking! Imagine rosa 'The Fairy' as an igloo of the purest driven snow, big enough for a family of three! Imagine my 'toped and formed Camperdown Elm as a study in geometric framework overgrown by careless green leaves! The calendula in all its yellow and orange brashness filling in all the places where the early bulbs have quietly lain down to sleep over until the spring of next year! The sheer rampaging, skyward climb of my clematis 'Jackmanii' with three perfect, late, daring blossoms of clematis 'Nelly Moser' peeking through here and there to upset it's purple dominance!
All my daylilies have come up pale, save for the few I have in the shade and damp. They're healthy, and I've pushed the evening watering, but perhaps it's a response to the grand scheme of things - they don't want to tempt their frail pollinators out of mid-day rest. In the evening their blue and white tones shine all the brighter, and the insects teem around them, sometimes dripping in living rivulets of buzzing wings and eagerness from the centers of the blossoms, the bumblebees robbing each other of their pollen gather.
My *ahem* Shasta Daisies are having a banner year. This is particularly poignant given the fact that I have been forbidden by the Biker from *ahem* utilizing the crop for it's intended purpose. ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laudanum )
Everything has blossomed a month early. I've been spot watering the plants that have shown stress, and this has paid off, although it meant me staying up until midnight and later so I could water deeply. I imagine the late night partiers driving past, seeing me squatting next to the beds, aiming a stream of water through the root level of the plantings, and thinking "I really need to quit smoking crack. Did I just see a fat old hobbit lady pissing straight out like a goddamn racehorse back there? Do I have a brain tumor? What the actual fuck? Did you see that? Maybe we should just never speak of this again."
The struggle, as they say, is real, though. I've had damage to two valuable evergreens because of wind burn, and saving those plants means you have to hammer the water into the drip line all around the margin of that plant in order for its roots to access enough moisture to transfer to the parts most distant from the trunk and combat the effect of the hot, dry wind. So I'm out there with the hose going at 'firefighter' velocity ramming the water into my clay soil -
- and yes, I mulched heavily and thoroughly this spring, but wind evaporation is a thing. That nice loose lagoonage turns into little hard feathers in the heat, and the clay soil (yes, heavily amended over the years but give me a fuckin' break already I live four feet below sea level in what was once a shallow lake and clay is ionic and is gonna slip and slide through everything come winter, rain, and the movements of the earth) dries hard and cracks. Those cracks can sever roots. This is the shit you have to put up with on clay soil. So when I water in, I make sure to flood all that lagoonage into the gaps in the soil so that SHIT DON'T DIE Y'ALL. This is the part about ornamental gardening that most 'snippity snip' garden sites don't mention, so read it here and take heed. It's a goddamn battle out there. An ornamental garden is a crop. The same struggles you face in food farming are no different than the ones you face with any planting, particularly a display garden made up of large perennial borders (mine.)
So I'm out there with the hose going at 'firefighter' velocity ramming the water into my clay soil at freaking midnight and I don't give a fuck. It's what you have to do. I do it in men's clothing. A wife beater, cargoes and Crocs. Yes. I am repping for the Bi Folk in the dead of the night in my charming rural idyll.
Oddly, all my roses are loving this heat. and that's odd given I have Star roses and Weeks roses, both of which lines are known to drop leaves and languish and bitch and scream and get black spot during hot weather. I attribute this to the fact that I fed and watered twice weekly throughout the spring. Even my shrubs and miniatures are happy (Weeks and Star) and even the ultra miniatures are going great guns, and I don't even know who bred those or what the hell their lineage is because I bought them outside of supermarkets and all the tags said was 'Super Mini'. (Try looking that shit up online. I dare ya.)
The one miniature I prize is 'Coffee Bean' which I have front and center here at the Rancho. It's a Weeks Rose, and its normal sized counterpart is 'Hot Chocolate' which I also have, and is also a Weeks Rose. Both are losing their minds, flourishing, stealing cars, robbing old ladies, eating dogs and writing bad checks. Now, Weeks roses are notorious for having a really insipid 'cotton candy' fragrance. Not so 'Hot Chocolate' or 'Coffee Bean.' You get a true rose aroma, not rich but true. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
All my dwarf bulb lilies have gone off and are finished now, a month ahead of time. Again, it's the unnaturally high temps that brought them on. They did look lovely, and they held their own and weren't in any way harmed; they just blossomed early. Like the daylililies, they came on paler than usual.
My tall bulb lilies are beginning to open. Media Orange came on first. Next came 'Saracen Red' which is fighting my Rosa Mundi for it's star turn. There is a species of orange bulb lily that's grown for it's edible bulb in the Orient - of course I have it - and it's coming on now, in profusion! Imagine your average tall tiger lily. Now imagine it perfectly in proportion, only a foot tall. That's this edible species, and it's an absolute delight.
The tigerlilies are beginning to develop buds. I expect to see the first of them any day now. Some are six feet tall! They are the harbingers of Midsummer, and for me they always hold a little yearning, a little poignance, because they mark the turning of the season. High Midsummer blossoms. In the fall, the bulbils that form in the leaf axils will feed the field mice.
That's about it, really. We've had company, we've had parties, we've had naked babies laughing and sitting in the tickly grass, we've made new acquaintances and I've squirted a lot of little kids with the hose. There's been fireworks and friendly tweakers and good music and excellent beer. Summer has been the antidote to last winter, and I feel like my soul can rise up again and carry on.