Six on Saturday: Some Like It Hot!

The climate here is mild. Winter chill is insufficient for some peonies and apples. Summer warmth is generally tolerable, particularly since humidity is generally low. Nonetheless, the weather occasionally gets quite warm. Fortunately, when this happens, it does not last for too long. It started to get unpleasantly warm on Wednesday, then remarkably hot on Thursday, but was then comfortably warm for Friday. I know that it is not much to complain about; but even brief warmth can damage the landscapes here.

1. Astilbe is something that I have wanted to grow since about 1987. I just never found a good excuse to do so. This is not mine, but was added to two of the landscapes at work on Wednesday.

2. On Thursday, a few of the fresh new astilbe looked like this. The weather got too warm, too fast. Gads! This is my first experience with astilbe. Fortunately, they are green and viable within.

3. Shade is certainly not a rare commodity here. Redwoods are the tallest trees in the World, and many live in and around the landscapes. It would have been even warmer here without them.

4. When I say that redwoods are tall, I mean that they are ‘tall’. This one is known as the woodpecker tree because woodpeckers store acorns in the perforated bark. Its shadow reaches Utah.

5. Anyway, this is how hot it almost got. The actual temperature was likely slightly less than this, but enhanced by the metallic roof above. What difference does it make? It was hot regardless!

6. Rhody knew what he wanted to do while it was so unbearably hot. He went out and laid in a sunny spot on the hot asphalt. He rolled around a bit too. He went for a swim in the creek later.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:

https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/six-on-saturday-a-participant-guide/

Summer Turns Up The Heat

90626thumbDoes the heat seem to have come on suddenly this year? There was all that rain through winter, then a quick but delightful spring, and now it is suddenly over a hundred degrees in some places! What happened?! There is certainly nothing abnormal about such warmth in the middle of June. It just comes as a surprise when it arrives so suddenly after such pleasantly mild spring weather.

At least warm weather here is not as dreadful as it is in other climates. It cools down a bit overnight. Humidity is typically (although not always) low. There is typically at least a bit of breeze by late afternoon, just after the worst of the warmth. We need not contend with the sort of dankly humid heat, that lasts all day and into the night without even a slight breeze, that so much of America gets.

Of course, that is no consolation now. By our standards, it is hot. Gardening is no fun, and some of it gets neglected. We become more aware of where shade trees should have been planted. We might also notice wilted or pallid plants that are not getting enough water. Pruning that was delayed while new spring growth matured may need to be delayed a bit longer, until the weather cools.

Unfortunately, the minimal humidity and occasional breezes that make the weather more comfortable for us make it more uncomfortable for the plants in the garden. Plants can realistically tolerate more heat than we can, but prefer it to be in conjunction with humidity. Otherwise, they can lose too much moisture to evapotransipiration (evaporation from foliar surfaces), and wilt or desiccate.

Automated irrigation obviously needs to be adjusted accordingly. Potted plants need more of an increase than those in the ground. Those that are overgrown, in hanging pots, or exposed to the typical evening breezes will be the most consumptive. It is not always easy to know how much they need, but one can be certain that if they are wilting, they need more than they have been getting.

Pots exposed to sunlight can get uncomfortably warm. If cascading or bushy growth does not shade the south sides, smaller potted plants can.