« Humming Along | Main | Under the Dragon's Breath »

Dog Days of Summer

The dog days of summer are here.

The steady rise and fall of cicada song greets me every morning when I step outside. It is the sound of an Alabama summer, deeply entrenched into memory from earliest childhood, but I am so accustomed to it that I hardly notice. But I cannot escape the heavy air, already sweltering so early in the morning; it feels exactly like the steamy remains after one shuts off a hot shower. The air smells ripe and moldy. I cannot stay out long, and I wonder how people managed before the days of air-conditioning. 

Watering is definitely the biggest chore in the garden now. With the high heat, many plants, especially those in pots, need a daily supply of water. Fortunately, we have not had a drought this year, and I look to the heavens in hope that watering duties may be suspended for the day.

It is amazing how one minute the sky may be bright blue, then moments later dark clouds are forming as hot, moist air rises rapidly into the atmosphere, fueling a thunderstorm.Torrid air collides with cooler air high above, and the unstable air tumbles violently. Above the freezing line, frozen raindrops crash into each other, creating electrical fields. Soon all this produces a boiling heap of black clouds, high winds, heavy rain, thunder and lightning and sometimes hail, on average releasing the energy equivalent of a 20 ton nuclear weapon: a typical summer thunderstorm, and I am relieved of watering chores for another day.

I took the following photos in my saturated garden after a recent thunderstorm: 


Close-up, Agapanthus

Anthony Waterer Spirea bloom

Unidentified mushroom

White Pine (Pinus strobus) needles

Southern Magnolia seed pod

Another storm is pounding away as I write this. Whatever the weather wherever you are, be cool!I took this photo a few years ago of Lucee, a friend's dog who definitely knows how to enjoy the dog days of summer!


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

Reader Comments (22)

Your Agapanthus are beautiful. Except for z single bloom on a white seedling, I have yet to see a bud. They're all going in pots next month if nobody blooms.

Enjoyed your description of forming clouds. We just had a thunderstorm that started with clouds heading south to the next county with thunder heard here. The dog assumed a defensive position under Dad's desk and was correct: the clouds veered over in our direction and winds commenced. Cool, refreshing rain fell..

July 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNell Jean

Isn't it that the garden takes on another level of beauty when it's wet? Lovely photos and garden scenes as usual! And sunny days interspersed with heavy rains sound like a perfect combo for a good growing season!

July 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Perfect time to take the photos! The plants are refreshed and happy. Looks like your best friend is cool and comfortable, too.

July 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterBeth @ PlantPostings

That heavy muggy air that makes you feel as though you're swimming rather than walking is unusual here but it does appear that El Nino it making itself felt in SoCal already. We usually get dry heat, not these tropical systems. Still, the rain that came with this one is much appreciated for all the reasons your post highlights. My garden got the first good soak it's had in ages yesterday (although I'm still waiting for today's promised sequel).

July 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

After two beautiful days last week we are entrenched with hot humid days. Plants don't seem to mind so long as they get watered. Waiting here to hear the katydids at night then we'll know summer is waning.

July 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMarcia

It's gorgeous at your place, lush, and yes humid, and hot...it's like that here too, without the relief of a summer storm. But then again, we are in a drought...

So my gardener's mind has to decide, is it better to live in a hot steamy ripe sauna, or a sandbox of dry heat....lol. Not sure which of the two I prefer. But I have little choice right?

Despite your heat, it's still beautiful there, and a rain is a rain, which makes your pictures even more beautiful. They are lovely.


Your garden is sooooooooo green Debbie, how I envy you all the rain, although I know that summer storms can do a lot of damage. But I don't envy your high humidity; that was something I found completely sapped my strength when we were in Carolina and Georgia, I recovered in dry, dry Colorado. The humidity here this year is higher than usual but not as high as the southern States. Do keep cool; we don't have air-conditioning usually the 75 cm thick walls keep us cool but it isn't quite working this year.

July 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Deb,A break from the daily routine of watering is always welcome. Your Agapanthus with raindrops, picture perfect. Unfortunately our Agapanthus plants which bloomed so well last year are now suffering owing to my constant habit of over planting and crowding out.
Your dog in shades looks pretty cool. .

July 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAlistair

interesting bark silhouetted against your so green garden.

July 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

Dog Days indeed! Ashamed to admit it, but I'm already yearning for September!! your garden is so beautiful, and honestly looks like it is enjoying the refreshing showers. I must get myself some Agapanthus....

July 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterStarr White

I've started getting up early to get time outside before the oppressive heat and humidity sets in.

Interestingly (since our climates are fairly similar) I've barely watered at all this year.

But then drought tolerance is one of the primary traits I look for in selecting plants and I don't mind giving my plants a little 'tough love' in terms of fending for themselves.

This year, I've only watered a couple of times period -- although I may get out and water some at the crack of dawn tomorrow if we don't get rain this evening. (We were supposed to, but it's not looking promising.)

PS - Cool mushroom!! It looks almost ceramic :P

July 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Dalton

Your garden looks so inviting after that cooling rain. Love the raindrops on agapanthus and white pine especially.

July 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJean

Today the temperature was only in the 80s but the air was so humid if felt much warmer. Those are some great photographs - the flowers of course but also the mushroom and the Magnolia seedpod. Enjoy the dog days, if you're like me you'll miss them when they're gone.

July 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJason

I can almost feel your steamy heat from your photos, but your garden is still looking delightful despite the hot conditions. I can bet that it isn't just the dogs lazing around during the day, I would be joining them!

July 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

There's just something about the look of raindrops on flowers. Just gorgeous! I wrote a similar post, because we've had no end of rain this summer. It's been nice not having to drag the hose around, but I still prefer the sunshine.

July 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRobin

Beautiful photos of your lovely garden, but the dog was definitely the best in show! I also envy you the rain, I wish we could have proper rain for a few days here in London, would have done wonders for my garden. Loved the agapanthus photos, mine is flowering for the first time right now, my goodness they take a long time from first crack of the bud to fully open!

July 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterHelene

Your garden photos are beautiful and everything looks so green and lush.The dog days of July with heat and humidity have hit here as well over the past few days.after a pretty cool summer so far.

Just reading your description of the heat makes me sweat. I am glad we don't have your heat. The dry is bad enough here. The mushroom looks cool though. Nice collection of images, Deb. I really like the doggie photos.

July 23, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

'Recent thunderstorm' sounds so nice to me now, after two months without any rain!
Your garden provides so many great picture opportunities! I love the luscious background and lovely touches as a cute bunny, little bridge... Your doggy is a star!

July 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTatyana

Thanks for the photography tips I got while reading this post. Now, a stupid question. Did the sailor dog have his very own sunglasses or were they borrowed from his master? I never spend any time in pet stores even though I have two cats....

July 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLinda

Hello everyone! I appreciate all your comments! Linda, first, there are no stupid questions. Second, the sailor dog borrowed the sunglasses from her master, but as you see, they were a perfect fit! Best wishes, Deb

July 25, 2015 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

Fabulous shots Deb....gardens seem to look even better dressed after it rains....we do need rain in the garden now...hard to believe after 21 inches in June....bone dry now.

July 25, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDonna@Gardens Eye View

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>