Monday, September 15, 2014

Strategies for Working in the Garden during the hot, dog days of Late Summer


Siting on this bench, enjoying my morning coffee on a lazy Sunday morning, I contemplated which garden activities to tackle first. I can feel the warm summer breezes and tickling foliage of a nearby bamboo (Fargesia Robusta).

Knowing that the temperatures where expected to spike to 90 degrees Fahrenheit again, I thought about several options.  

I could sit here with a good book, listening to the Aspen, Populus tremuloides, leaves rustling in the wind until it got too hot, then go into the house and find something to do.  

Housework? Any day working in the garden is better than housework.

I could hang out here, working from one shady spot to another, cutting back dead and dying foliage in hopes of generating new foliage with some judicious watering. 

Looks like I have some Drumstick Allium (Allium sp.) stems and some other brown, dried foliage that could use some pruning.  Cutting back the dead foliage of spring ephemerals such as PNW native bleeding heart, Dicentra formosa, or many of the other plants that are getting too much sunshine, is a good way to neaten up the garden beds and possibly coax a new flush of growth. Many of the Aspen leaves in the path are still green but are no longer smooth and supple.

With the sprinkler on in the shady portions of the garden, creating a cooling breeze and watering a bed of small shrubs and perennials, I am good to go.  It is also a good strategy to do the hottest, most strenuous work early in the morning or late in the afternoon after temperatures have cooled down.

So, in the end, I did all of the above, including relaxing on the bench with a book, a snack and lots of icy lemon water!

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