p o t a g e r NEWS

Please be on the lookout for the June 2016 issue of SOUTHERN LIVING MAGAZINE and a five page story on the evolution of my back gardens. I am excited to tell you I wrote the story (in addition to pruning all the boxwood, WHEW!). Subscribe here or look for it on newsstands and in stores on May 20, 2016.

July 19, 2011

Sisyphus, Record Heat and Botox for the Garden

Some people check the obituaries every morning, a practice I have always thought  rather moribund.  I, on the other hand, routinely check the weather section of the newspaper to see if, once again, Oklahoma City is the hottest city in the USA.  A practice that is masochistic if not moribund. 

Mike Morgan, the weatherman at KFOR where I do my gardening segment says "29 days over 100 in Oklahoma City.  110 being the hottest so far.  We have broken or tied several daily high temperature records.......and that 110 tied the hottest July temperature on record.  How is that!!!"   Oh, and he added "Yuk".   Now if even the weatherman is not trying to sugarcoat this horrific heat, who am I to try and gloss it over?  

So if you, my fellow Oklahoma gardeners, are, like I, sick to death of this sweltering heat and one catastrophic gardening season after another, you will be forgiven if you feel a little bit like the mythical Sisyphus, who was doomed to push a boulder up a mountain, only to have the boulder roll down again....and the process repeat itself over and over again for eternity. Or at least one Oklahoma gardening season after another.  (If you are in another area of the country now sweltering along with us,  please feel free to feel Sisyphean as well.  Who am I to deny you?)

And, no these are not in bloom now, I just inserted them here to cheer you up.

As we all know, however, our poor suffering plants still need tending.  Copious (and probably irresponsible in some cases) amounts of water are required to keep our poor babies alive, if not thriving.  Some, now hanging on by a thread and gasping in the heat, will eventually succumb and not see another fall.  

We gardeners valiantly (or stupidly)  continue to fight it.  Mowing higher and earlier than ever.  Mulching much more and deeper than ever.  Then running back into the blessed air conditioning to revive ourselves physically and mentally.  

(And do be careful, my dears.  My neighbor ended up in the emergency room a couple of weeks ago after working too hard in this heat with too little water...)

So I was thinking earlier this week, after mowing up all of the dead leaves from the drought and heat-stressed trees, clipping out dead foliage here and there and then watering in the cooler morning hours...

and as I stepped back examining things from this angle

and that (in the softer light as well), that

considering the blistering heat and all

things didn't look all that bad.  Of course, it was morning still.  Pre-swelter.  Pre-hi temp for the day.  If I could just capture the moment (and not in a Kodak way) and make it last just a little while, maybe a day or two.  Freeze-frame, you know?  Knowing it won't last, but enjoying the effect for a bit.

Why can't someone invent some kind of Botox for the garden, hmmmmmm?


  1. Oh gosh, you are saying the same things I've said in the last few days. We have broken every possible conservation rule when it comes to watering in the last month. We had most of our backyard sodded right before the heatwave started. We've been watering once or twice per day....still my hydrangeas, coleus plants, and lots of other things are totally wilted in the afternoons.

    Our City of Edmond bill came today. It was $573.00. I can't believe I'm saying this but it wasn't as bad as we were afraid it would be. Sheesh!

  2. I know, Stacey. If we don't water, we lose a tremendous investment of time, labor, finances. If we do, we face huge water bills, huge environmental guilt (!)......all this, and it doesn't even look good.
    And we still have weeks/months of this ahead. Razor blade, anyone?


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