7/01/18: Coping with the Furnace 

The last few days have been scorchers! It’s important to soak the ground very early in the morning, especially around sunnier, hot spots.  I have two grassy areas right at the huge maple’s drip-line, on the front lawn, that are yellow; put simply, I wasn’t watering nearly enough. The tree’s rootlets were stealing the lawn’s moisture. It looked half dead. That’s changed. Tripling hydration seems to be working. I see little green shoots amid the straw, but these 96-degree days are a reminder that constant, massive support is vital for garden and lawn survival. 

(How DO golf courses survive?) 

Bryn walks very slowly, panting. She finds the pavement too hot for comfort, so we stick to grass as she does her business and hurries back to cool Sunnybank House. 

I will close the garden during this intense heat wave. So many feet on the lawn in the main secret garden stresses the already gasping lawn, which, by the way, I always leave quite long- 3.5 inches. Keeping the edges trimmed neatens up the picture, without stripping the lawn of protection from the furnace. (Imagine being in the desert with a butch haircut, as opposed to having longer hair…)  

The big hydrangea and my thalictrum (a bog plant whose tall, completely hollow purple stems must stay filled to the brim with water to support the developing flowers) will need intensive help.  I’ve developed a new method of coping; a directional sprinkler will bathe them gently, but constantly, for the four hours the plants are under the spotlight; I think I can keep them alive. The best time to begin is very early in the morning.  Moisture penetrates, instead of mostly evaporating, giving me a head start.  

Have you noticed how water rolls off the parched garden earth, instead of sinking into it?  But because I’ve mulched deeply in June, this isn’t happening. NOW is when using cocoa shell mulch pays off. Water is completely absorbed by the soil underneath; my plants stay moist longer. 

There are two full months of flower-cheer left, IF the garden survives the next 3-4 days. 

I’ll keep you posted on how they, and I, have coped.  


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