Without question, in my mind, this is absolutely the ICKIEST time of year. I am on record in a great number of places, including this blog, to that effect. The ants and fruit flies and fungus gnats come in, the a/c goes out, the electric bill goes up, and my mood takes a nose dive. The constant drone of the cicadas is maddening, the heat destructive and intolerable, and heretofore happy plants are suddenly crying uncle and giving up on me. I find myself wishing the hours away in anticipation of fall and cooler temps. While on the treadmill this morning, feeling irritable, sweaty and out of sorts...
I was finishing up the August 2015 issue of SOUTHERN LIVING, and on the last page came the inimitable Rick Bragg's Southern Journal entry, 'The Heat Monster'. In my opinion, his absolute best yet; reason enough to subscribe to the magazine. A couple of passages with which to identify, commiserate......and fall in love..
"This was the creature that came in the worst of summer, the boiling eye of it. It was the stunted field, the cracked earth. It was the cloud in the white hot sky that gave no rain....the Greeks and Romans believed Sirius, the brightest star in the constellation Canis Major (Great Dog) ushered in an evil season in late summer, one that boiled seas and soured wine and sent people and livestock into fits....The gardens withered.You got either quick, violent storms or no rain at all Mud holes vanished into pieces of hard clay...Only the insects reveled. Flies and gnats swirled. Mosquitoes danced. And there was nowhere to hide."
To which I say, my sentiments exactly. Even WITH air conditioning.
I also say, thank God for my humble white cosmos, that are, as I type, defying the brutality of late summer and, in the process, helping keep me from going completely heat-mad and sun-crazed in the process. They spit in the eye of these rabid, white-hot dog days...with airy delicacy, diffidence and feisty toughness. They practice their own modest, elegant civil disobedience... against our violent temperatures, searing, scorching sun and the ruthless, unrelenting brutality of the Southern summer.
They cool a girl just to look at them. All the while, flirting with goldfinches, dancing with butterflies, and floating daintily in the occasional breeze. Standing tall and bright against garden green backdrops, quite willing to be cut for the vase, to return to the garden...cut and come, cut and come again.
I am happy to stake these lovelies, if need be... but better to plant in colonies where they can support one another and find strength to stand in numbers...so
strong and tender are they. With their thread-thin leaves, small starry buds, tissue-paper petals..
and femininity...especially when paired with the slightly more masculine daisy.
Next year I plan to plant many more of both 'Sonata', the more compact, shorter version...along with many more 'Sensation', the 3-4 ft. version of Cosmos bipinnatus. Find both varieties, and many more at Swallowtail Gardens, here. If I am lucky, I also hope to procure and plant a double version,
DOUBLE CLICK SNOW PUFF SEEDS, to complete my white cosmos triumvirate. In full sun, in situ, in all their glory.
Strength through quiet delicacy. Take THAT you dog, you.
Labels: annuals, Cosmos, dog days, late summer, Rick Bragg, seeds, Sensation, Sonata, Southern Living, white