How we beat the heat

We didn’t. We just rolled with the sun’s punches, sweated buckets, and are still recovering. But even though we lost the fight in some respects — we lost a week with the volunteers, lost appetites and energy — we and the gardens remain undefeated. The gardens actually managed to grow and bloom (all except the roses, which have given up for the time being). And a few undaunted visitors — more than I ever expected to see walking around during such wretched weather — took in the show. Gail, Betsy, and I did as much as we could each morning before we lost too much steam (literally), doing a little more planting (we’re done now!), light weeding, and deadheading. Just enough to keep up appearances.

But now that the heat wave has officially broken (it’s definitely not as hot but it’s still wicked humid) we’re anxious to welcome the volunteers back for a more thorough go-through. (We forfeited their help this morning due to a heavy downpour. Can’t complain though because we needed that too…) And we’re able to take good long looks at the gardens again to make our annual mid-summer assessment and discuss hopes and wishes for the coming months and next year.

We spent a few minutes this morning in the North Garden wishing the roses didn’t look so naked (Japanese beetles did a number on them as well as the heat) and appreciating some of the newer additions to the garden such as Phlox paniculata ‘Sherbet Blend’ (Kathy’s post on Garden Foreplay about Avant Gardens’ phlox trials reminded me to notice and love this one). We’re also enjoying two different Plectranthus we included for their excellent foliage (P. argentatus and P. forsteri ‘Green on Green’). And we discussed the possibility of adding some beebalm, like Monarda fistulosa ‘Claire Grace’ to the borders next year. We have grown that beebalm (a.k.a. wild bergamot) in the pollinator bed and usually let seedheads form for the birds. But this year, just to see how awesome a rebloom might be, we have elected to deadhead them. I have to say, it really feels good to have a few brain cells working together again. So much so that we’re going full steam ahead with putting our bulb order together too.

How did you and your garden beat the heat?