OLG (Old Lady Gardener) #6 Deep Summer comes early

Weather is always on the mind of gardeners. It can control how a gardening year goes. There are few things we can do to help things along but really we are not in control of what happens out there in the wilds of our gardens. This year seems to be a good example of that. So Natalie Goldberg’s statement posted at Two Writing Teachers today fits well. This is want I have been telling myself – there is no failure – just a big field to wander in.

I worked on and off all winter planning, designing and ordering plants. Spring came with cold weather lasting too long and now we are deep in summer heat and dryness. Looking around you might think we were moving into August not July.

Yesterday, we had high winds with temperatures at 100. The feels like listing was 106. There was little we could do outside safely. The plants one day later show the effects of a day of 100 degree winds. Many have leaves dried out and are dead. Some are curled up hoping to protect themselves and this is even with the rain we go in the middle of the night.

This clematis is in a more shaded front garden

So today I am working in short time frames given that our heat and humidity is still high but workable (85 degrees with winds still blowing but a bit more gentle that yesterday). I began running a sprinkler in back, which I never do, but now it is a matter of not losing the plants to dehydration. Rhubarb leaves are all curled up, the Hostas are wilting and the ground is cracking even with the rain. My Clematis has buds are drooping on the vine and look like they might just give up. There are very small raspberries but they look hard and a bit crispy. I am not sure they will develop into berries we will want to eat.

Given heat and age I started working early in the shade to weed and do light clean up. Next step was a water break for me and then the plants. Repotting a tiny tomato and some basil came next. More water with a few minutes in air conditioning. Little Man came and I pulled weeds around the sprinkler while he ran in and out moving his small plastic slide into the water stream to make a water slide. Red faced and dripping we sloshed into the house to clean up and have lunch.

While watching the sprinkler and Little Man I had this sad feeling and disappointment with myself. This garden is so far from what I imaged last winter. I have been moving forward but not in the way I had thought. A few beds have been redone or cleaned up but not according to my garden map. It has been more of my wander around and seeing what can I do in this small amount of time. Or what can I handle in the cold or now what I can handle in this heat. Plants have moved to new homes but not where I thought they were going to go. It is all mixed up and so far behind.

After hauling two large bags of mulch back up front by hand (my wheel barrel died yesterday) I covered one of the new beds and gave up for now. Cold water in hand I sat down to check Two Writing Teachers to discover Natalie’s quote.

Ok, new frame of mind. There are no mistakes. All that planning and drawing, the winter thinking was not a mistake. It was helping me see the possibilities of the yard. Now I am dealing with the reality of land, plants, weather and what I am capable of doing.

I need to keep this way of thinking in mind and also note that today is the first day of summer. We have reached the summer solstice. We stand today at the longest day of the year and so I have decided it is a summers beginning not a mid summers nightmare.

Coral Bells and Hosta

It will be interesting to see what really gets done by late fall frost. If we are lucky there will be raspberries, tomatoes and enough basil to freeze pesto for late winter night happy hours. Nothing like a fire, a glass of wine, cheese, crackers and summer garden pesto to start thinking about a new garden in winter.

Tomorrow I look at the garden with what has gotten done! Not what needs to get done. Tomorrow I think of possibilities and creativity when moving through the gardens. I will keep this thought in mind. There are no mistakes!

It might be wise for me to post this quote in my office as well. It might help me get back to my painting and drawing.

What does this quote spark for you today?


About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
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