Wednesday, May 5, 2010

If You Can't Take the Heat ...

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Get out of the garden! That's long been my summer mantra, living in south central Texas where the heat can be positively brutal. I didn't expect to be invoking it the first week of May, though. I'm way ahead of schedule: in 2008 and 2009, the first of the summer whines began in late June. Mind you, I'm not whining yet, not really ... at least we have low humidity and an occasional light breeze to make it more bearable.

I've wondered if after so many months of cooler temperatures, I've become more sensitive to the heat and sun. It certainly feels that way. And I swear the sun is as intense now as it is in July. All this does not bode well for the summer to come. It also means the new bed areas out front may remain unplanted until fall. I may put some summer annuals in as filler but I'm wary of planting perennials and shrubs in the current conditions, which also included a lack of regular rainfall. To paraphrase Elvis, I'd like to see a little more condensation, a little less refraction.
The Johnny Jump Ups are now Johnny Lie Down and Dies, the poppies are snapping and crackling as they dry, and the bluebonnets ... well, the less said about them, the better. The Larkspur, surprisingly enough, are thriving and I discovered Nigella blooming a few days ago.

For now, I've resigned myself to my bursts of activity being measured in minutes rather than hours. It's not unpleasant in the shade but unfortunately, the areas most in need of attention are in direct sun. I think it's time for me to go shopping for a beach umbrella with a stakeable pole so I can carry my own shade around the garden. I'm off to see what I can find!

3 comments:

Jean said...

Let me know if you find something portable that works! I agree the humidity, or lack of it, has made it tolerable. But this early intense heat has me concerned.

Alex said...

I just turned one of my strong sunny beds into a mostly agave bed so that I would quite my daily watering chores and save some $$$. None too soon from the look of things.
A Gardener in Houston

Cindy, MCOK said...

Jean, I found a cheap stakeable beach umbrella at Sam's in 2008. The synthetic fabric detached from the canopy after less than a year. Well made they're not but they are fairly easy to tote around. The pole was height adjustable, which was nice.

Alex, I hear you! Smart move with the agaves. I do use plants that can handle our extremes of drought and flood as much as possible. It's still discouraging to hear predictions that El Nina is returning.