Saturday, June 27, 2009

Too Hot to Blog

I could use the excuse that I've been busy, which I have been somewhat, for not getting around to blogging. But really it's more than that. It's the unrelenting heat, temperatures in the triple digits for the last couple of weeks, that has me not even wanting to turn on the computer. Today around 1:30pm my digital thermometer said it was 102.6 degrees Fahrenheit outside. I spent the morning volunteering at the farmers' market and felt light-headed by the time I got home. And we've had absolutely no rain this month. Sigh...

And how is the garden taking this heat and drought? Well, some of it is okay, and some is struggling.

Here's what I worry about:

1) The potted plants. Most of them are in unglazed terra cotta pots, which can get pretty hot and thus potentially harm the roots. So I water them every morning. I'm not worried about over watering since I think this heat is sucking the moisture right out.



Can you see the grasshopper to the side of this sun wilted chard? If not, here's a bigger view:



They're called "graveyard grasshoppers" around here and are another thing I'm worried about. Right now they're about 2.5 inches long but they'll get bigger than that. They can defoliate a plant in pretty quick time. Fortunately they also move slowly and are easy to squish (which can be rather gross).

2) I'm worried about some of the plants in the back beds, which are competing with all the tree roots. The plants that are wilting daily are my two hydrangeas, Turk's Cap, and the 'Goldsturm' rudbeckia. I could try watering them every day but then I risk shallow roots and/or root rot. So I check the mulch to make sure it's adequate and water them about 4 times a week. And I've also learned to put up with the wilting (I'm actually not too worried about the Turk's Cap since I know they tend to do this; but they're still less than a year old so still vulnerable).





3) I'm worried about some of the new plants in the raised beds. For example, my Poblano pepper, which struggled somewhat when I first planted it, wilts everyday. I think that means its root system was somewhat compromised from the day I planted it. Given where I got it, that wouldn't surprise me. I'm watering the raised beds about 4 times a week.

What I'm not worried about:

1) My salvias. What tough plants.



2) My herbs. Some of the easiest plants to grow are herbs. Just give them sun and well drained soil. But they won't survive without the occasional watering!



3) My lawn. How could I not worry about my lawn? Well because lawns are highly overrated! Make no mistake, I am watering it. But I'd really rather be watering a flower or ornamental grass than a lawn. Someday I will have less lawn...

The heat and lack of rain have caused the bees to return to my main bird bath. I blogged about that last year but since no one was reading my blogs back then, I never found out why this happens. It's confounding. And somewhat amusing to see the birds snapping their beaks at the bees. At least some of the birds. Other birds seem to be chased away by them. I now have a second bird bath but only the cardinals seem to frequent that one. Maybe more bird baths should be placed around the yard.



Has anyone else had this problem at their bird baths and if so, how did you solve it?

23 comments:

  1. Hi, Jean. I got kind of thirsty looking at your pictures and reading about how hot it is down your way. It has been in the low 90's here in Indianapolis this week, which is hot for us for June, but rainfail is above average and temps are supposed to return to "normal" next week which is mid 80's, so I'm not too concerned.

    I have no idea why the bees congregate around your bird bath like that. Is there something sweet in the water?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jean, I don't know how you manage with that heat - I couldn't! It's a lot warmer here now, with temperatures above 20C, I think that's the 70s fahrenheit? So pleasant weather, good for veggies and still cool at nights. Even so, I have a round of daily watering, particularly the roses.

    As for the bees in the bird bath, I've never seen that before. I suppose all creatures need moisture to survive so it could just be they're thirsty, but what also occurs to me is that perhaps the evaporation of the water is concentrating something in the water - a mineral maybe?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jean, somehow you're able to make a post about temps in the 100's, wilted plants, giant crickets and bird bath bees a pleasure to read. Really, if the temperature here reached 100 plus, I'd be frightened. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I Googled it (bees, birdbaths). eHow said that bees and wasps cool down by drinking the water and letting it evaporate off their body. They suggested that providing an alternate water source "such as a bee bath or pond" that is "more appealing". Just how you decide what's more appealing to bees is not addressed!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Well, Jean, it's been over 102F all week here too, and I think it makes everyone feel sluggish and somewhat grumpy. A cold moved in last night (finally) and dumped some rain and cooler temps (90F). I'll send it on down to LA. Here are my thoughts on the bees. I've had that happen too when the weather was really hot. I think the bees are thirsty, and they also seem to like the salts from the water's edge. You're helping all of the creatures and maybe need even more birdbaths, but then, you would have to fill them, and it's too hot. :) ~~Dee

    ReplyDelete
  6. We have had bees at our birdbath. I can stand there and watch them and they will fly around me to get to the water. I think we wouldn't see this if it wasn't so hot and dry.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm glad you posted about the bees in the birdbath. They are all OVER mine, making it a tricky business to spray out the old water and add new. I just figured they were thirsty like everything else right now.

    I've lost a few plants due to the drought and heat in the new garden. The old garden (yes, I'm still taking care of it) is suffering too. We really need rain.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yeesh! We've never seen triple-digit weather up here. I think that would be a sign of the apocalypse.

    I'd love to send all the rain we've gotten today down your way.

    Bee baths sound uncomfortable.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Jean, I will stop complaining now about our heat:) Actually, it finally cooled down here yesterday to a comfortable low 80's. But last week was in the 90's, and I was too hot to get motivated to do anything. I need to get busy this week and make up for lost time in the garden. No rain, though, and my plants are wilting like yours. I see you got some answers to your bee in the birdbath question; it makes sense that they were hot and thirsty just like everybody else!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I don't think one can be a gardener and not worry about *some*thing in the garden... but as you know, there are also positive things too. I'm dealing with a lot of both at the mo' as well!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for everyone's theories on the bees and your sympathy on the heat! I do think it's a matter of heat and drought that have the bees flocking to the birdbath. So I've put out more saucers of water. We'll see if that helps. Cool front today so it's only going to get to 95! No rain though. I'd rather have that.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Jean, I hope you get a little better relief than high of 95 soon, and I hope a good rain comes your way soon. I feel for you. Anything beyond 90 is oppressive to me.

    We had mid '90's last week, and that was bad enough. (Even worse, our a/c went out, so we were sweltering. Thankfully it' fixed.) This week it's much cooler here.

    Hope the birds and bees are getting along and sharing the water you're providing!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Your poor garden! It looks so hot and dry. I hope you get some relief from the heat soon. I am in s. IL and we finally have 80s this week instead of 100+. What a pleasant change! ~~Rhonda

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sorry about the heat and drought Jean! Love the honey bees drinking! Hope things cool down for you soon... would love to send some of our rain to you. Thanks for the kind words on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am so sorry that the weather has been so horrid! When is the Gulf going to send us a nice tropical storm...rain, no damaging winds, please!! The heat had been oppressive here...then the humidity disappeared...It is now tolerable for humans...but the container plants still need to be watered daily! Yikes it's a rough summer. gail

    ReplyDelete
  16. Some of the plants you mention wilt in the sun whether they have enough water or not--rudbeckia and hydrangea do anyway, as far as I know. They'll be fine. They love to pout!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I had no idea bees used bird baths. Fascinating! I know how you feel watching things struggling with the heat and dryness, and we had only one week of the brutal heat with rain. I've gotten rid of all my terracotta pots and now use only fibreglass containers. The ones that look like glazed ceramic are very attractive, and they hold the moisture in pretty well so that they need to be watered only once a day in temperatures over 90.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I will send you some rain. There is nothing sadder than wilting plants is there? I hope you are coming this way soon.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've never heard of bees in birdbaths either, and don't have that problem with mine. I'll occasionally see wasps at mine, but I know they need it to make their mud nests. Perhaps bees are the same way?

    ReplyDelete
  20. Bees need water just like we do. They also use it to dilute honey that is too thick as well as regulate the temperature in their hive. With it being so hot lately, they will need more water than normal.

    ReplyDelete
  21. My pond has been loaded with bees lately. Especially in the evening. They do seem to be very thirsty. It is supposed to be 116 degrees this weekend here in the Phoenix area. I think we will all be very thirsty!

    Michelle

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting! I truly appreciate your comments. In the past I always returned your comment with a visit to your blog. Alas, these days I cannot promise that but I will try.

If you ask me a question in your comment, I will answer it here. Thanks again!