Sunday, August 8, 2010

Surviving the Dog Days

Wavy Leaf cactus (anyone know the "real" name of this?; it's almost spineless & the pads curve & bend)

This is the third summer I've blogged about my garden and now I notice that around this time every year, I start pooping out on blogging. And even reading blogs. It's just too darn hot and I don't even want to think of gardens (hard to do when I have to edit so many gardening articles!). The temperatures we had to endure at the beginning of this past week were horrible and record breaking - was it 105 F or higher? After the heat indices started going over 115 F, I stopped listening to the weather. I started thinking I was back living in Austin ( :-) the smile is for all of my Austin friends). But then the miraculous occurred - it started to rain. Buckets. Toad stranglers. Too much rain to sink in properly. Lightning everywhere. I guess it was bound to happen.
'Crimson Pirate' daylily

So to celebrate the return of rain, I've decided to focus on the good things in my garden and world, and ignore the negatives. Take this 'Crimson Pirate' daylily. This variety has been blooming since late May. That's more than two months of blooms! Research on this variety tells me that it first came out in the 1950s. I guess you could say it's not a fat and lazy daylily, like so many of my other ones! I have four of these plants, bought last year from a big box, and this year they've been spectacular. Especially when they all bloom at once.

Foxtail fern (Asparagus myers)

How's this for a juicy, fluffy fern? This is the younger of the two foxtail ferns I have, and looks the best. Of course, it should be as I water it every day!

'Red Cascade' miniature climbing rose

You have to be a tough rose to survive this summer (see my last post about one rose that didn't make it). 'Red Cascade' has had no trouble.

Unknown nasturtium variety in front of flapjack succulent

I have to smile every time I see the few remaining blooms on my nasturtiums. Normally they're kaput by this time of year but just to see what would happen, this year I cut them back after their spring bloom period. A few of them have made a heroic effort to survive the summer. This is probably the last bloom I'll get this year though!

A few assorted blooms and Nasella tenuissima, Mexican feather grass

Be glad I didn't include a close up of the asters behind the Mexican feather grasses. All that brown on the asters is damage from the aster lace bug. Did you know that such a bug existed? I didn't but I sure do now. I think they're past the worst of the damage now and am hoping the fall blooms hide the rest of the brownness. (btw, I don't have an 'X' painted on my cactus behind the asters. It's just a shadow from my fence.)

'Zagreb' coreopsis and Mexican feather grass

The 'Zagreb' coreopsis is a big winner in my book this year. New to the baby garden, it's never stopped blooming since I planted it!

47 Daisies farm produce

More goodness in my world - our farmers' market. As National Farmers' Market Week winds down, let's celebrate local farms and farmers and everything they do for us, shall we? We (those of us who "work" at the farmers' market) laugh every time this national week of celebration comes around. Someone up north obviously picked the date for it because down south, the farmers and their produce are struggling to get past the dog days of summer! But we still have some intrepid souls at the market and in fact, for the first time since we opened almost three years ago, we're still open in August (not sure how long that'll last though). But let's celebrate it while we can with a few photos.

The last(?) of the tomatoes for the summer from Mack's Tomatoes and Produce

'Silver Queen' okra from Wayne's Specialty Produce

Terrell Farms' fig preserves

Talar's Mediterranean Specialty (hummus, taboulleh, etc., ... I'm in heaven!!)

Matlock Farms' peaches (very yumm-o)

47 Daisies' sunflowers

With all the lovely produce and foods from our farmers' market, the recent drenching rains, yes, I guess you could say I'm surviving the dog days of summer. And I'm thinking and hoping we only have six more weeks til our first little cool front. :-)

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2010. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.


  1. Picked up your post from Twitter just now and am enjoying your lovely photos -- as I try to catch my breath after a full day of weeding in a hot, hot garden. I'd say you're doing more than surviving. Downright thriving! Please send me some of those peaches. :))

  2. I love the farmers market photos! Really cool. The fern is so cute!

  3. I'm a huge hummus fan as well. Metro Detroit has the largest Middle-Eastern population outside the Middle East so we have tons of great food, cheap. I see Verbena bonariensis is kicking butt even in your hot weather; it does great here too, self-sowing.

  4. I'm just the opposite right now, Jean. Gardening is all I can think about--I am SO ready to start fall planting. I may break down and hit the nurseries again this week to find some super xeric, heat-tolerant beauties I can plant even in 100 degree weather. Insane!

  5. Jean, I'm in a similar frame of mind. I've made it outside several mornings this week but I can't say I enjoyed it! I miss being able to enjoy the process. As for the afternoons, all I can do is hunker down and hope for cooler weather.

  6. Love the photo of the 'wavy cactus' with rain drops - beautiful. And those peaches look delicious. We're still waiting for a good rain here, but at least the temperatures have stayed below 90F. Here's hoping your temps cool down soon!

  7. Jean,
    I'm feeling more like you. It's been so darn hot, even in the mountains of the Carolinas, it's hard to be enthusiastic about gardening.

    And I'm enjoying what's thriving, to be sure, but definitely looking forward to cooler temperatures.

    We've happily had some good rains here and in the Piedmont,so hopefully when we go down the hill this Thursday our Piedmont garden won't be too toasted. It looked pretty wan on our last visit.

    Thankfully for us in the South, our best gardening season is ahead. Woo-hoo!


  8. Jean just a wild guess, that cactus looks like the cochineal cactus to me. I know how it feels to garden in the heat. I go into the garden early in the morning and in the evening. Our temperatures are a high of 82F and a low of 79F. It feels hotter though. Your fox tail fern looks good, we call it a bottle brush fern.

  9. jean, You've echoed a bit of how I feel...The heat and humidity have been oppressive; I need a mountain cabin to escape to and soon! Farmers Markets are a gift to a non-veggie grower like me~I love the prepared foods and breads at ours. gail

  10. I love that Red Cascade. Do you have a picture of the full plant? Also do you mind if I put a link of your blog on my blog? :)

  11. Jason - I thought I had a photo on my blog of the full Red Cascade rose but it turns out, I don't really. So I'll have to take one and post it. Hopefully this fall when the whole plant should put on another big bloom. Of course you can put a link to my blog on yours!

  12. Looks like your farmers market is really taking off. Some lovely looking produce there. Seems like everyone is suddenly get rain and lots of it in a short time. Is this a case of it never rains but it pours?!

  13. I'm starting to long for fall too. I've never heard of the aster lace bug. Sounds nasty.

  14. Oh, I hear you, Jean, about the dog days! I'm not used to the kind of heat that we seem to have had all summer long, and my garden sure shows my lack of interest. But thanks for all the positive viewpoints here--your farmers' market photos are spectacular! How lucky your community is to have such a fantastic market. It would be interesting to visit just to see the different produce available in your area; I've never seen okra that looked like this.

    My daylilies are all long gone; I'm thinking it's time to go to the daylily farm to look for some late bloomers to add for next year. 'Crimson Pirate' looks like a real winner!

  15. We have had 'Dog Days' here also. The sun is getting lower though and the days shorter. One month until frost threatens. Hard to believe. Have a mint julep and put your feet up.

  16. I agree about keeping up with the blog. Although I have lots I want to post on, the heat and humidity sort of makes me comatose. And yes, a little rain today and cooler temps are bringing me out of it. Hey, I need to go post!

  17. hey jean, i think your mystery cactus is an Optunia sp. - a prickly pear of some sort. i bought pads of some at our farmer's market last year, in the hopes of enjoying nopalitos. since i wasn't able to perfect the technique of preparing them, i threw them in the garden, and now have prickly pear cacti starting to grow under my bedroom window...! makes me laugh, even in this heat. enjoy, and stay cool over there!

  18. Andrea, I agree, I think my cactus is some type of Opuntia. I just have no clue which variety. It's almost, but not quite, like a spineless prickly pear. It's those wavy pads that are the big difference. And the pads get fairly large. Don't you love how tough they are?


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