Cottage Life - Gardening in the Heat
I've always loved summer. I was born in summer. I gave birth to my child in summer. My friends used to tease me about how I lived all the other seasons of the year just for summer.
So how come I hate summer so much right now? Okay, hate is a strong word. I don't really hate summer at this moment. I'm just really, really tired of the heat. We've had record breaking high temps here and it's zapped the energy right out of me. Since June 1 it's been a steady stream (except for a few days) of temperatures in the 90's. All the plans I had for summer projects have evaporated like water on a stone path in the blazing sunshine. It's a big reason why I've been so absent from blogging. I mean, really, who wants to read a blog post from an overheated, grumpy, complaining-about-the-weather, older NE Oregonian?
So now that I have that off my chest, I'll show you some pretty garden pictures. Because you know that's why you're here. You want to see something pretty. And since what I've mostly been doing this summer is gardening (at least in the cool of the morning, think 6:00 - 9:00 AM), it's pretty much the only thing I have to share.
Even through the blistering heat my garden remains loyal.
It brings me joy.
"We might think we are nurturing
our garden, but of course it's
our garden that is really nurturing us."
~ Jenny Uglow
Because we live in an area that gets very little rainfall in the summer, I initially chose a good number of perennials that require little water and grouped them in areas that are harder to water, such as the entrance to our property. Russian Sage is a drought-tolerant plant, so it's doing very well this summer. So is the Echinacea (purple coneflower). I find the Rudbeckia hirta (black-eyed susan) needs more water, but not an alarming amount. The purple flower in the background right is Lemon Mint (Monarda Citriodora).
The Lemon Mint has put on an amazing display. It does require daily water in this heat, but it's totally worth the effort. Look at those gorgeous blooms. Once they get started they're pretty much non-stop. They've been blooming steadily for about a month. I started these from seed late last summer, and although they were small plants at the end of the season -- they had not yet flowered -- they actually overwintered under all the snow we received. In the spring I transplanted them to this spot and I'm so glad I did. I'll definitely keep using lemon mint to fill in my garden. Even if it reseeds and spreads, I don't care. It's gorgeous.
Another pleasant surprise has been the annual cut flowers mixture I planted from seed this year (foreground). To me they shout cottage garden. They need daily watering in this heat, but, again, totally worth it. In case you're wondering, I haven't cut any of them to bring inside. I just can't bring myself to rob this lovely bed of flowers.
I like to place containers of annual flowers around my garden, mostly sitting them on flat places on our low rock wall. This Calibrachoa requires no deadheading, blooms profusely, and comes in a plethora of gorgeous colors. I love the way it spills over the pot like a waterfall.
The white sweet alyssum in front of the birdbath reseeded itself from last year. I hope it does so again this year. It has such a lovely scent. The snapdragons are very happy in this spot. I love annual Verbena and use it lavishly in containers. It's held up well in the heat.
I can't leave this area without talking about the Portulaca (moss roses). These beauties all came from a couple of small pots I planted last year, reseeding all over the place, including between the cracks in the stone path. They're so pretty that I just let them go, happy to step over them to get where I'm going. I think it's a charming look.
The area in front or our porch is always reserved for zinnias. To the right of the zinnias is four o'clock, which is just starting to bloom. You can't really tell in this photo. You can see the Monarda (bee balm) in the lower left corner, and the lavender in the front. Lavender is highly drought-tolerant. In fact, if you water it very much it will die. I plan on adding more lavender to our landscape. I just love it.
While I was looking through the photos I took I came across one with a certain someone watching me from the window as I was taking photos. I thought it was so cute I just had to share it with you. (I don't know if you can see his smile.)
Did you see the fan in the window? We don't have air-conditioning, however because the nights are cool here (last night the low was 46 degrees) if we open the windows after the sun goes down the cottage cools off completely (this morning it was 64 degrees inside at 6:00). Around 7:30 AM we close up the house and run the fans. It stays cool all day. So, in that we're very fortunate. Good passive solar design on Dennis' part.
Speaking of Dennis and good design, here's a peek at his new gallery/workspace exterior. He's been working on the landscaping (I planted the container for him and he has to move it around while he completes the job). Only during the morning, though. Too hot after 10:00 or 11:00.
That's pretty much sums up what's going on here at A Joyful Cottage.
Excuse me while I go run through the sprinkler. ;)