August 18, 2011

Record Heat, Record Drought, and Schadenfreude


You've no doubt noticed I've been hiding lately.  Cowering is more like it.  But not in the garden, where I usually go to escape life's woes.  Oh no.  I've been cowering INSIDE with my best friends, Fan and Air Conditioning, from what the local newspaper describes as

"not only the the hottest July on record in Oklahoma,
but the hottest July anywhere in the contiguous 48 states
since record-keeping began in 1895, according to the National
Climatic Data enter."

Now isn't that special? 

And despite some lucky and semi-miraculous small thunderstorms of late, August isn't shaping up to be much better, nor is the longer term forecast into next year.  As I write this, my weatherman is telling me today is day number 48 of days over 100 degrees this summer.  And boy, are our gardens showing the wear and tear (as is this gardener and probably most of you,  I might add...)


Everything in our landscapes is showing stress.  Certain plants (yews, Japanese maples and lots of cedars come to mind) are particularly affected by these extremes, and won't live to see the fall.  Especially heart-breaking to me are the many sections of my beloved potager boxwood hedge that are brown and crisp and just plain worn out.  I dare not prune out the dead sections, for fear of exposing unseasoned foliage, or forcing tender new growth, unable to tolerate Mother Nature's ill humor.


L'il Sis and I were talking about this blog and so many others that often serve as a break from the unpleasantries and brutalities of our day-to-day lives.  Little respites of lovely tips and tokens and images and ideas and creativity and possibilities and, yes, denial. This, she told me, is what readers want.


Yes, it is.


But we Oklahoma gardeners (of every variety and on every scale) are really heartbroken once again over this brutal Sooner weather, and we deserve to participate in a certain kind of collective grief.....or collective Schadenfreude if we must, to know that we have not been singled out, that we are not necessarily doing anything WRONG, that it is impacting ALL of us  (the novice and experienced horticulturist alike) and that we are not alone in our frustration and sadness over another lost season. 

 We have earned the right to feel demoralized and a little beaten up.



So before we move on, tearing out the dead and tired shrubs and flowers and vegetables...sit with me and let me play therapist and consoler for a moment.

I hereby recognize and acknowledge your pain and your loss and your frustration and your sky-high water and electric bill and your being sick and tired of hauling a rubber hose around.

(Did that help at all?  Just a little?) 

Take comfort in the knowledge that my garden looks as rotten or worse than yours.  (Though as a concession to L'il Sis I will spare you any depressing photos.)

Attempt to at least feign a pioneer spirit for a bit longer.

If you can, so can I.  

We are, after all, in this together.


Please join me on KFOR Channel 4 tomorrow at 4:30 with Linda Cavanaugh.  I'll even try to be perky...




5 comments:

  1. If only all our gardens looked like yours after a dry season Linda.

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  2. Thanks Susan! But like I said.....I spared you all the depressing pics! :)

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  3. I wish you WOULD post pics. Then I could experience a little schadefreud of my own. Or at least if I know yours looks bad (of all people) then maybe I'm not such a failure after all. Oh & did I mention we are going to be on the Hort Society's tour next month? I'm counting on lots of sympathy from gardeners who have lived through this awful summer!!! I'm starting to prune too. I guess I should wait? It's too depressing to look at burnt up crispies.

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  4. Your garden looks amazing! You should see my garden at the end of an Australian summer...crispy brown! That's all!

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  5. So as not to misrepresent......the pics here are not from this month, but earlier in the year in their pre-baked state. I'll post some dead images since many of you emailed me and asked. :)

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