Gardening in the Heat
by Julie Carpenter
It’s June and while northern gardeners are just reaching the dizzying peak of summer blooms, here in the south we’re rapidly creeping towards sunstroke territory. My hydrangeas are already acting like drama queens. I firmly believe they droop their leaves a little lower if they see me looking at them. We’ve had a fairly wet early summer with afternoon thunderstorms that leave the garden feeling more like a steam bath than a garden, fogging up windows and the gardener’s glasses. As bad as it is, I have to remind myself that it will get worse. By July around here an afternoon thunderstorm will feel like the sauna on the devil’s back porch.
You might think that high summer is not my absolute favorite time to garden. To be honest, I have to say that you’re more likely to find me working frantically in the spring, digging and weeding. Every bud and sprout feels like a gift from the fairies and I’m anxious to help them along. In the summer, on the other hand, I love the garden. Gardening not so much.
I love walking out in the early morning without a jacket and feeling the sun on my arms. There’s nothing like sitting out in the evening after the chill of air conditioning and having a cold beer or lemonade. I love the hot silky air at night, and the smell of hot earth and grass on a summer afternoon. I like the sound of airplanes as they buzz through the deep blue bowl of sky, reminding me that summer is (normally) the time for travel with family and friends. There’s something about summer that brings back all the memories of childhood, lying in the grass with a cold dog’s nose pressed on your arm. Picking blackberries and honeysuckle. Blowing soap bubbles and looking for rainbows when the afternoon thunderstorm has passed. I can almost feel what it was like to be a teenager again, riding around in the old 1972 four door Chevelle full of friends, with windows that would never quite roll up all the way and no air conditioning, wind blowing my hair into indecipherable knots on the way to the lake.
Nevertheless, I do have gardening to do and I can’t spend all day every day contemplating life and taking things easy in the heat. So how does a southerner garden in the wicked heat and humidity? Here are some things that I find helpful.
If you want a nice summer garden in which to contemplate life, unfortunately you’ll have to garden in the heat. However, you can make it a lot easier on yourself, and making things easier on ourselves is what we do best here at Sacred Chickens. Have any great tips for gardening where you are? We’d love to hear them.
Julie Carpenter is the creator of the Sacred Chickens website. She is dedicated to telling stories and making sure that indie writers and publishers have a way to be heard. She uses narrative, her own and others’, to help interpret the world. She has a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Memphis, with an emphasis in Composition Theory. She wants to bend reality one story at a time. Julie’s work has appeared in Fiction on the Web and will be included The New Guard. She is currently working on a novel.