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Hot Summer in the Garden

It's miserably hot and humid. I am sweating like an oil rig worker within moments of walking outside. I wear lots of sunscreen, so the broiling effect is enhanced. 

I should not complain. This is completely normal weather for Alabama in August. I have lived here all my life, so I should be used to it by now. Overall, our summer has not been a bad one. The good news is that September is coming.

Meanwhile, most of the garden looks something like this, with little color other than shades of green. Interest comes from various textures and the play of shadow and light:

A little pink shows in the tropical bromeliads plopped down beside a woodland garden path:

A bowl of succulents also provides some subtle color:

Many flowers don't fare well in our August climate. Lots of them look like this:

Bright pink Pentas are an annual that revels in the heat, though in its hanging basket it does need to be watered regularly. It attracts many butterflies and other pollinators, except when I wanted to take a photo! I had to settle for this decorative iron hummingbird:

I have several dwarf butterfly bushes (Buddleia), and they have also been a butterfly magnet through the summer:

Here are more flowers that bloom reliably through the hottest part of our summer:Clockwise from top left: Helenium and purple Veronica; Tropical Hibiscus; Delicate white bloom of Persicaria 'Red Dragon'; Annual Angelonia with yellow marigold in the background.

In the woodland garden I placed a ceramic mushroom on a stump. Its cap wiggles in the wind. This one is understated, but ornaments are a good way to add a bit of color to a green garden:

Finally, Tradescantia zebrine, also called Striped Wandering Jew, is an easy-care annual hanging in a shady area near the arbor garden. I love its beautiful variegated foliage. I have lost more than one plant in a hanging basket this summer. Not this one.

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Reader Comments (7)

It's true - the focus of our most recent posts are aligned, Deb. We're more humid here than we used to be, although I suspect we're still running well below the level you commonly experience. We had a remarkably pleasant weekend but the forecasters predict that temperatures will be ramping up again this week. I hope you get the break you're yearning for in September as expected. We can't comfortably count summer behind us until late October. Our rainy season may be delayed too, according to some prognosticators. I hope they're wrong.

August 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

I hear you!

I'm melting in the humidity here too. Feel like I sweat a couple gallons of water when I try to work in the garden - even if I go out in the early morning or evening. Dewpoints have been at near-Florida levels lately. Ugh.

Trying to keep my cool and look forward to lower temps and humidity levels (hopefully!) next month.

Meanwhile, still quite a few blooms in my mostly sunny garden. Lots of partridge peas of course (although I've been pulling them out by the handfuls because they self-sowed everywhere), plus crape myrtle. Butterflyweed was blooming until recently, but now it has focused on making seedpods. Zinnia and cosmos are going strong.

August 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

My garden can feel spring approaching, there are buds rising from the bulbs.

August 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

This is a good time of year to visit Wisconsin, so I don't want to wish away the next few weeks. (Ask me again in February. ;-) ) We are warm, but not hot lately. Although some years we have major heat waves in July and August. Your garden looks amazing no matter what. Thanks for sharing the photos of the wider garden and the butterflies and plants. :)

August 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBeth@PlantPostings

You can have some of our weather Deb. This morning it was cold and I could sense the beginning of autumn in the garden.

August 14, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

Sounds like this is a good time to appreciate the garden through a picture window. We went through an oppressively hot period, but lately the weather has been remarkably mild.

August 16, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJason

Deb, thanks for pointing out the batface cuphea. It's always a favorite when you point out the cute little faces, especially for children. I find that all the members of the cuphea family are awesome hummingbird attractions, but the bees have invented a way to also get the nectar that hides in the tube shaped blossoms. Since they aren't blessed with the long tongue the hummingbird sports they take a different approach. You will most likely find some of the batface blossoms are chewed open near the bottom of the flower. This is the remains of bees taking a shortcut to the nectar. Where there is a will, there is a way.

August 26, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAlice Marty

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