This summer of 2013, which started out so promising with rain and cooler than normal temperatures, has suddenly turned hotter than average here in Texas. As much as ten degrees above normal--a big difference when normal is 95-97F/35-36C. We're predicted to reach 106F/41C today.
An hour later I finished watering and headed out with my camera to take stock of the garden. The plants in the circle garden are managing well enough. The flowers are fading in the sun and there have been a few losses but it's going to be fine.
Along the north side of the house Salvia madrensis, a shade loving fall bloomer, remains wilted even with a good watering.
The ruellia continues to bloom each morning even while wilting.
The lemonquat is blooming for the third time this year even while earlier fruit is ripening.
A prairie verbena spring wildflower blooms among the crispy horseherb ground cover in a spot of shade.
The buffalo grass lawn goes dormant naturally as a defense against the heat and drought. It will green up quickly when rain and cooler temperatures return.
The weather report gives us a 20% chance of rain over the weekend which is not enough to even get our hopes up since we've heard this many times before. At any rate the high pressure which has remained stationary over us for more than a week should be moving out which will at least allow for a drop in temperatures. It will also bring in tropical humidity.
The sun is beginning to burn off the morning clouds and the air will heat up quickly now.
I head back inside for the day, but not before I check the thermometer on the deck and am surprised to see it's only 82F at 10:30 am because it feels so much hotter. We've more than 20 degrees to go this day and it will probably be that many hours before we see such a low number again. Indoors we try to stay cool without pulling the plug on the entire state due to record-setting power usage numbers this week.
Those of you who live in cooler climates probably wonder why we put up with this. Ask the same question in February when we are in the garden all day instead of shoveling snow. Even though most of my existing plants are surviving overall, I spend my afternoons taking stock of what works and rethinking my idea of drought/heat tolerant plants while planning changes for my garden this fall.
Fewer perennials and more cactus is what I'm thinking now.