Sunday, July 8, 2012

Riding the Heat Wave

The heat wave hasn't been quite as miserable as I feared it would be. We've had our power the whole time for one thing, and even an inch of rain over Wednesday and Thursday. Last Sunday was the worst day for heat so far due to the accompanying humidity.

Sunday morning I took my camera out to take a picture of this Black Swallowtail and what happened? Instant camera fog. I've never been to the tropics but it had to be what the tropics feels like.

Early Sunday I went down to the pasture to dump and refill the water trough and both horses were soaked with sweat and blowing. The sweat wasn't evaporating and as a result they were overheating. So they got a good hose down and luckily the sky clouded up later and temps cooled down, eventually way down, the result of nearby rain that didn't quite reach us. In the fact the change was so remarkable it seemed strange -- from unbearably hot and sticky to quite cool and ocean breezy. Anyone who thinks that the discussion of weather is boring is crazy imho.

I am so grateful for the rain we got the last two days. It's impossible to keep everything watered in this heat.

I took this picture before the heat wave. The geraniums are sere brown now ~ but they will bounce back.

The biggest hits with the insects now are the Monarda, Mountain Mint, Vitex, and Buddleia. There is a constant buzzing and fluttering around these flowers. The mint looks so cool and silvery that it seems to shimmer.

I really like the combination of Monarda 'Raspberry Wine' with Vitex.

Earlier this summer I added more Monarda and Brazilian Blue Sage around the Vitex (to have it somewhere I could water it easily). It'll take a year for this new bed to fill in so in the meantime I added some fillers.

Such as Kiss-me-by-the-garden-gate (type that 5 times fast)

Did I mention I was grateful for the rain? Me and the seashore mallows. If I hadn't watered them before the rains they'd be shriveled brown husks of themselves now.

Finally, I have Culver's Root thriving in my garden, on the east side of the house. I don't know if it'll ever be as showy as it is up north, but I like it: modest and graceful at the same time.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the daylilies but I won't miss
spraying them with peppermint every. single. evening.


Commuter daylily (H. citrina)

Still haven't found a tag for this tall beauty.
I must have had the brilliant idea to just tag one of them.

Hudson Valley is another gorgeous yellow; about halfway
as high as the above, with enormous fragrant flowers.

One more day of intense heat and then we are due for a break. What I hate about these heat waves is that in my memory they swell and grow until they fill the entire summer. They sap one's strength. Even with the refuge of air conditioning after a morning spilling into early afternoon of slogging in the sun. I'll be glad when it's over, as I'm sure everyone will be!


  1. Once again you have inspired and refreshed me with your wonderful photos and descriptions of what is growing in your gardens. In spite of the heat, I think everything looks wonderful.

    How old is your vitex. I grew mine from seed and it's only a couple of feet high and no blooms yet. I'd like to make it into a tree shape.

    You are a wonderful photographer.

    We, too, will be glad when summer is over, but have longer to endure it than most in this country. It's the humidity that is the drainer of energy.

    Hope you do get some heat relief soon and more rain.

    Hugs ~ FlowerLady

  2. Beautiful photos!

    Can you tell me more about the Vitex? That's 'Chaste Tree' right?

    I'm thinking about planting one this autumn.

    Does it deserve its reputation for drought tolerance and long blooming period?

  3. Seeing your Vitex tree makes me think more and more about getting one (or two) but will wait until the fall. Love all your daylilies, especially the fragrant ones!
    Love your foggy camera 'technique'.

  4. Sweetbay,
    glad you turned off word verification. The Spicebush Swallowtail on bee balm is a great photo. Loved the day lily photos too. We have missed rain all week, Friday night it rained hard for 30 minutes in Hillsborough, we got nothing 15 minutes away. Sitting under a rumbling cloud right now being teased about rain. Meg said the school thermometer said 109 ours in the shade said 104....

  5. The heat and sticky humidity do sap the energy and it makes me not even want to go out in the garden.

    You have so much beautiful space around you that you can find day lilies and other pretty things out there even in the heat. Your photos make it look cool and refreshing and lovely!

  6. I have been thinking of you as we have our own little heat wave here. I know I can't complain...but our plants simply cave in this heat. They are just not used to it.

    Hope the cooling is in sight for you. :)

  7. Commuter daylily is stunning! I love the photo of Vitex and monarda, nice combination.

  8. Wow! Your really have a lot of beautiful flowers in spite of the hot, dry weather! You have some really pretty day lilies! What about spraying them with peppermint? Is that for insects?
    We are hoping and praying for rain!

    1. I spray the daylilies to keep the deer from eating them. They like the daylilies as much as I do.

  9. I agree that your monarda/vitex combination is wonderful! I am glad you have had some rain. It hasn't reached us yet, though it has skirted all around. Even now the sky is filling with clouds and I hear thunder, but I suspect it is only another tease. I am waiting for the predicted cool down!

  10. This heat has been just awful.Your garden looks so good and does not appear to be suffering. I adore your Chaste Tree. How beautiful. I have been growing one in a pot just in case of a hard freeze for three years but it has not bloomed yet. It has really grown this year.I have another planted in the garden and it is so tiny compared to the one in the pot. I cannot wait to see one blooms. LOL! That Catherine Neal lily is just gorgeous!

  11. Your garden seems to have survived the heat wave very well. Driving through NC last week it still looked lush and green, not dry and brown. I never really care how hot it gets, as long as there is rain.

  12. We've been frying here, too, but have finally had a break and some much needed rain. What is the flower in the top left hand corner of your collage? It's really pretty. Also, why do you spray your daylilies with peppermint? What does it do? Is it a peppermint oil infusion?

    1. That's a volunteer moth mullein (Verbascum) and comes in both white and yellow. It's from some leftover timothy hay I used as mulch.

      I use the peppermint as a deer deterrant. Last year they (finally) discovered the daylilies. I use about 15 glugs of extract per 1 1/2 gallons of water. It's very effective but only if applied often.

  13. It has been not quite as hot here as what you have been experiencing, but it has been much hotter than normal. And we have had no rain for weeks. None! I keep the garden on life support with my garden hose. Your daylilies are always so pretty and I always admire that burgundy bee balm/monarda.

  14. Everything looks beautiful in your garden in spite of the heat, Sweetbay. It does sound, though, like you have gotten more rain than we have. We had a nice shower Sunday, but it soaked into the dry ground so fast that I was back to watering everything by Monday. We also had a little cool-down on Sunday--I never thought I'd be happy to see temperatures "only" reach 90:) The heat saps all my energy, too; I'm hoping it's too dry for the weeds, too, because I don't feel like spending time weeding right now.

    Love your vitex! And thanks for answering the question about the peppermint--I was wondering about that, too.

  15. Oh yes, that raspberry and vitex make a wonderful combination! Our bee balm is over and only a slow lily or two still hanging around. Thank goodness for the Susan’s and Butterfly bush or the poor flutterbugs would not have anything to enjoy right now. Our heat finally seems to have broken today! We had a nice 1 inch rainfall last night and the garden looks ever so happy today! I know I am a happy camper as I do not care to drag that hose around again today! I am ever so grateful that we did not loose power during this awful heat wave…

  16. I don't like the heat either, but at least you have some rain, lucky you... All my roses are toasted too, and most of the perennials, but your garden looks cool and fresh. Great shot of the swallowtail.

  17. I'm sorry; I don't speak very well english ! I have published one photo of your blog, into my blog....but I have published the reference of your blog too, of course ! Are you OK with that ?
    Pour illustrer mon propos, je viens de saisir une de vos merveilleuses photos et je l'ai publiée sur mon blog. Bien entendu, j'ai indiqué sa provenance, et à trois endroits j'ai inséré un lien pour atteindre votre blog. Si toutefois vous le souhaitez, je retirerai immédiatement votre photo de mon blog.

    1. Silence thank you for visiting, and yes your use of the picture is fine with me. :)

  18. Must've been very humid to make the camera fog up and the horses overheat!
    I love the butterfly photo, and of course your flowers are all gorgeous.

  19. Heat and humidity, only worth venturing out at sundown. The heat over the US has been on the news here. It seems the change in the jet stream has pushed it south over western Europe leading to a below par summer here.


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