Thursday, August 9, 2007

Hot Weather Makes Me Ill

Tuesday's High: 99
Wednesday's High: 101
Thursday's High: 102

Rain Since June 1st: 2.5"

(Linguistic Note for Non-Southerners: In common parlance down here, "ill" is synonymous with "cranky, irritated, and generally pissed off." It is pronounced with two syllables. A person in this state should not be trifled with.)

Every day that I arrive home before dark, I walk around each of my flowerbeds to see how things are doing. On Tuesday, the rose looked fine. Today, I go out and find every leaf brown and brittle. This is a rose that has thrived on neglect for years in the hottest part of the yard. Was this week just the final straw?

Weather like this makes me wonder why I even bother. I come home and find my plants dead or dying because I lack both the time and the money to soak them with water every day. Then I spend what few hours I have between work and bedtime standing out in the jungle heat, holding a hose and getting bitten by mosquitoes that are probably carrying West Nile virus, just so I can keep my few remaining plants that look like this...

from dying.

Maybe I ought to just give up gardening, cocoon myself in air-conditioned comfort, lie on the sofa eating Chee-Tos and watching stupid television shows like the rest of America, never setting foot outside except to go from house to car to Wal-Mart. A lot of people seem perfectly happy doing that.

But no, I'm that idiot with the watering can, trying to coax plants back to life, promising them, swearing to them that if they can just hang on a bit longer, a cloud will appear in the sky and their roots will again know the taste of rain. They no longer believe me.


Carol said...

I know how you feel, I feel it here sometimes, this week especially. Get yourself some sprinklers, smaller ones for flower beds if you don't have any, so you don't have to just stand there with the hose or the watering can and get bitten. This heat wave is certain to end soon, isn't it?

Carol at May Dreams Gardens

Annie in Austin said...

Hello David,

Last summer was a devastating one for gardeners in Austin - I spent a lot of time watering just to keep things alive. This spring and much of the summer brought record rain, instead.

Have you seen the Austin gardenblog called Zanthan Gardens? MSS is a pioneer garden blogger, and her site has been online since fall 2001. She made a very short video of what happened to her long-established garden last summer:

Zanthan in the Drought.

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Wrenna said...

There is no price I can really put on my soaker hoses. They are a great little investment. Just spend some initial time laying them out, and then all you have to do is turn them on.

Sprinkler hoses are great for flowerbeds too, and places where you need a little more coverage than a soaker hose gives you.

The next thing you need is some OFF! Yes, it really works.

David in Greensboro NC said...

Carol--I do use sprinklers sometime--I'm bad about forgetting that they are on, though and end up wasting water. (Usually because I'm on the computer either complaining about my garden or coveting the plants in yours!

Annie, No, I hadn't seen that video. It's awesome, in a morbid sort of way. (As I write this, I'm hearing rain on my windows!!!) Thanks for sending me the link.

I had some soaker hoses that I inherited, Wrenna, and they didn't work well, so I've been kind of turned off by them. Plus, by the time my plants need a lot of watering, Greensboro has mandatory water restrictions. I do have some repellent (Deet-free and it actually works...when I remember to put it on!)

Thanks for listening to me gripe, everyone. Overall, my garden is surviving beter than it sounds. Stay tuned!

Catherine said...

I'm that idiot too..holding the hose and getting bit by the mosquito's...and making trip after trip carrying wattering cans..this week has been soooo breeze..what I'd give for a soaker hose!!The air is sooo heavy..but it's worth it when you look back on your flowers and garden, on the beautiful least that's what I keep telling myself to motivate me to get out there in that heat and be the watering idiot..:) enjoyed my visit as usual!!

David in Greensboro NC said...

Glad to know I'm not the only idiot, Catherine!

Carolyn gail said...

There's a great above ground irrigation system that conserves 70 per cent water. It's called Mister Landscaper and they have a website at This system is so easy to put together even I did it and I'm not that handy. It can be attached to a timer as well. It is also relatively inexpensive to put in a complete system.

This may be the answer to your time shortage. It's not really good to stand around with the hose and merely sprinkle a little water on the plants. Best to water deeply but infrequently.

David in Greensboro NC said...

Thanks Carolyn Gail, I'll check out their website. Actually, most of my plants are very drought-tolerant--I just have a bunch of new things I planted this spring that I'm trying to keep alive, and so I've been watering deeply...with the hose or watering can and without remembering insect repellent. I've left my established plants alone, and with the exception of the rose, they actually look pretty good, considering the drought.

Mary said...


I share your concern. Every day I get home from work and wonder what else has bitten the dust. I'm just north of Charlotte and you know what it's been like. I haven't opened my windows since May.

David in Greensboro, NC said...

You wonder how long it's going to last, don't you, Mary?