Hot, muggy weather and squadrons of mosquitoes have sucked the joy right out of my garden. I ventured out earlier in the week — doused in Off and sunscreen — to do some weeding and cut out a volunteer mulberry tree from the long border. Believe me, I moseyed — I grew up in Texas, and I know from moseying in the heat — and I was miserable within five minutes.
My eyes burned from the sunscreen and perspiration dripping on my face, and I slapped convulsively at my ankles — I’d forgotten to spray Off where my cropped pants stopped. Still, I pressed on, yanking weeds and ornamental grass that has inched its way into the phlox, baptisia and asters, then hacking at the kiwi vine trying to swallow my garden house.
And lately, I’ve started feeling like shrinking Alice in Wonderland. It seems like all my plants have exploded in size, thanks to heat and rain. I don’t recall the flowering quince or weigela being quite so tall or wide, and my old garden roses have more tentacles than an octopus, each thorny stem longer than the next.
Throw in the irritation of unwinding the hose and dragging it over to my potted plants — and backtracking to unkink the darned thing so the sprayer would spray — did I mention I hate hoses? — then winding it back on the hose hook — after dragging the hose through doggie poo I’d missed on my daily clean-up. (Don’t act like you haven’t done the same thing.)
If you can’t stand the heat, retreat to the AC. And I did, all the while whining about the miserably high humidity to the same dogs that had pooped on my hose.
There are some plants that like it hot, and here are a few favorites:
“Intensia” phlox: This heat- and mildew-tolerant phlox can go all summer. It can reach 10 to 16 inches tall and wide and comes in Blueberry (bluish-violet), Red Hot and white.
“Blue My Mind” evolvulus: This charming dwarf morning glory is one of my favorites. Flowers are a real true blue, set against silver-green fuzzy foliage. They are heat tolerant, love sunshine and are drought resistant once established.
“Decadence” series baptisia: You can never have too many baptisias. Baptisias are drought tolerant once established, and the “Decadence” series thrives in hot weather. The new “Pink Lemonade” offers soft yellow flowers that age to raspberry purple on compact blue-green foliage.
“Denim ‘n’ Lace” perovskia (Russian Sage): What’s not to love about the billowing clouds of flowers blooming on fragrant foliage? “Denim ‘n’ Lace” is a beautiful perovskia with bluish-purple blossoms.