It's no fluke that it's hot. In fact, the period from July 27 through August 20 is historically the hottest part of the summer in these parts. So far, it is living up to its reputation.
I have to pick my moments carefully in order to get work done in the garden now. For most of the day, it is pretty unbearable out there. The best time of day to work would be early in the morning, but I'm a late-to-bed, late-to-rise kind of person and I don't seem to be able to change that habit, so I lose the optimum time for gardening.
My strategy is to work in small increments of time throughout the day and to spend my largest chunk of time outside in the late afternoon, when things have cooled off a bit. In this way, I've actually managed to accomplish quite a bit this week.
Last week, I worked mostly in the front yard, so this week has been spent in the backyard - weeding, deadheading, pruning, replenishing mulch, and, of course, watering. It is the never-ending cycle of the gardener. I confess I love it!
When things get really hot, we quickly learn which plants have the mettle to take the heat and keep on performing. Here are some of this week's winners.
Of course, it's not just the plants and the gardener who have to learn to tolerate the heat. There are other critters in the yard who must deal with our climate. The green anoles, for example.
This year's baby green anoles have just hatched. Everywhere I turn these days I seem to encounter one of the tiny creatures, some of them just two-and-a- half or three inches long, obviously just out of the egg. The adult anoles are seldom seen at this time of year, but when it gets just a bit cooler, they will be back, too.
And then there is the backyard box turtle, Sammy.
I do enjoy sitting on my patio at the end of the day as activity in the garden winds down and the sun sets behind my neighbors' trees to the west. The frenetic activity of the birds slows down until, usually, the only birds left at the feeders are the cardinals who like to get in one last snack before sunset. The hummingbirds, too, whiz around, visiting all the flowers and storing up energy for their high metabolism bodies to get through the night. Things get quieter. The southern breeze ruffles the leaves and the sun slowly sinks.
The sun sinks a little earlier and a little farther south each day. A month ago, it set on the north side of a particular large pine tree in my line of vision. Now it has passed all the way to the south side of the tree's trunk and in another month it probably will have made the trek all the way to the next tree in the line. By the time the winter solstice arrives, it will have passed far enough south to be out of my direct view when it sets.
And so we mark the passage of time, our journey through another year. I have a birthday coming up soon, so the passage of time is on my mind. But it is not a sad thing. Everything has its season and the season yet to come is maybe the best one of the year for us. Autumn - something to look forward to during the hot, miserable days of August.