It was really hot here today. It has been pretty hot for a couple of days, and while I know that we here in the Pacific Northwest have been very unaffected by the heat this summer relative to the rest of the country, it still impacts what I do when it shows up. The heat makes me tired if I try to garden in the middle of the day, and it has been hurting plants, especially those that have been planted recently. I went outside to water last night and found a beloved Rodgersia limp from the heat, and on the verge of getting crisp. I don’t think that it is going to die, but it doesn’t look very good. A Clematis was similarly affected, just another in a long line of clematis disasters. It may not be my best plant, but I am going to keep trying with them because I love them.
So, when I got up this morning I was in a less than chipper mood. I knew that gardening time was going to be dictated (reduced) by the weather and by other factors, and I knew that I had to get out as soon as I got up, not dawdle around doing chores. I had been hoping to get out by six before the sun rose, but I overslept, so it was pretty sunny in spots by the time I got going. I also didn’t really have much of a plan, since I daren’t plant anything in this heat, and the area I have been clearing was in blazing sun. I’m pretty dedicated, but not that stupid. Weeding in direct sun for two hours is a recipe for making the rest of the day really miserable. So, my only thought by the time I got out the door was to start watering and keep that going for my two hours.
As soon as I got outside, though, other choices presented themselves. There were comfrey plants that needed to be dug up. I decided that two Veronica in little pots were getting so stressed that planting them was probably the lesser of two evils. I mulched the Rodgersia with coffee grounds and put the Clematis pot in a saucer full of water. Everywhere I went I weeded, and my son followed along and dumped the weeds into the compost for me. He also finished loading up the yard debris container with comfrey so that it could go away. I love yard debris day! I dug up a dwarf oakleaf hydrangea because a comfrey plant had so thoroughly insinuated itself into the hydrangea’s root structure that this was my own hope for extricating it. The hydrangea was also getting elbowed by an encroaching Viburnum davidii, as well as a Picea abies ‘Little Gem’, and a huge (fittingly!) Stipa gigantea, so finding it another home is a pretty good idea anyway. I scrubbed and sun-dried pots to re-pot some house plants that have been homeless for a really long time. I laid a large, flat stone to help me cross from one temporary path to another without compacting the soil. I moved some donated Vancouveria into deeper shade so it wouldn’t drop dead before I potted it up. And I also watered and watered and watered. I had an appointment at 10:30, so I had to stop, but I could not believe how much my mood had lifted. Even in unusually difficult conditions I had found jobs to do, and made visible, if minor, improvements here and there. It never fails, yet I never seen to trust it. Just go out, just wander around, just do something. One action triggers the next, and before you know it two hours are gone, but so are a lot of weeds and a somewhat cranky mood.