A friend of mine seems able to pick a color of the day any day and then post a collage of blooms right out of the garden to celebrate. Me on the other hand, I’m far from there but on a day like today when the garden bakes under a hot sun, anything which might lower the temperature is fair game. They say adding white flowers to a garden can cool a hot palette but as I trudged around the garden in 97F(36C) afternoon sun I’m not sure it mattered. We’ll give it a try though since the only truly cool white would have been snow, and it will take months of heat before I wish that on anyone 😉
Heat and cicadas, that would have been a nicely mid-Atlantic June day, but as of yet I haven’t seen more than a few wings and munched torsos. Maybe a road trip is due? The younger child (now nearly a full month into her teens) says yes, and the first flowers of the Regal lily “smell like Longwood”.
I’d be happy with just a break from lawn mowing, and this heat should do the trick. My neighbors are looking at mostly brown already since they’re more gung-ho about their grass knowing its place and it’s height, but here I give it a little more freedom as the temperatures rise and the sun beats down. Longer grass withstands both the heat and drought better and recovers faster when the weather breaks, and I’m sure when that break comes and temperature drop with a rain shower or two there will be plenty of time for me to catch up on my love of lawn maintenance.
I think cooling white counts even if it’s on the gray side.
I was lukewarm to the dusty miller(Jacobaea maritima) which went in as an annual last summer but I quite like the bushier perennial version which returned this spring. If the summer stays dry and the border doesn’t get too lush and crowded I think it will do well all season.
Gray foliage but on a much less soft and felty side would be the Scotch thistle. This will probably be the last photo of this weed which I subject you to, but fair warning: the Cardoon has yet to bloom, and that’s another weedy thistle which I think is just wonderful and I can’t hide my excitement over 🙂
Gray foliage doesn’t have much in the way of scent, but the Phlox paniculata is starting and that has an excellent summer fragrance. I will avoid complaining about how ungrateful they seem this year, as they’re growing poorly enough that you wouldn’t suspect I transplanted and fertilized, but sometimes you have to give a favorite plant some leeway… unless of course it gets demoted to a former-favorite plant… that would be something which such an ungrateful plant might deserve but then who knows what July will bring.
Weeds and wildflowers are never ungrateful. Overly enthusiastic maybe but you never have to beg them to grow.
Sometimes you don’t even have to water them. Actually watering weeds is a crazy idea… unless it’s fleabane or larkspur. Both might be worth a little spray to get them over a hump.
Here I go talking about weeds again. One more though. Common yarrow has shown up in a few spots in the meadow and I wonder how these seeds find their way.
White flowers in a dry meadow won’t cool anyone, but maybe the patch of variegated giant reed grass out front can help. For months I’ve been saying someone ought to chop out some of the clump, since it really is too big, but it appears the message fell on deaf ears and it’s just as big (actually bigger) than last year. Probably too big. Alas.
It’s way too hot to be out there in the blazing sun hacking inch thick, strong as steel grass rhizomes so that’s one more year for the grass to root in deeper and spread further. Maybe next year, right? Shade is a much better option. White hydrangeas in a dappled shade both looks and sounds cool.
Hostas also make the shade even cooler and many people know this. Some go to extremes. I only dabble.
There’s another kind of foliage plant which I plan on going overboard with this year. Caladiums. I forget how much I’ve already revealed about ‘2021 the year of the caladium’ but it’s going to be big. Not the empty kind of ‘big’ or ‘huge’ or ‘better than you can imagine’ that politicians have promised in the past, but a big five pound box of mixed tubers which was potted up weeks ago and is now soaking up the heat and starting to grow. As you know, it’s not often I get excited about a new plant, but waiting for each leaf to unfurl is like waiting for a new plant to unfurl a new leaf and I just can’t think of anything more exciting than that.
So there you have it, the cooling effect of white. I’m all excited about caladiums now but maybe the white helped calm someone else and take the edge off the heat for a minute and that’s a good thing. That and air conditioning. Or ice cream. Or a tub of cool water… whatever it takes to get through this because as you may remember, something called July and August are still on the way and I don’t think you’re going to hear much of ‘boy it’s looking cool next month’ or ‘golly did that temperature drop’ as much as you’re going to hear ‘relentless’ and ‘not a break in sight’.
Or I’m just being pessimistic. Order some caladium bulbs. There’s still plenty of time and at least they love the heat even if you don’t. And even if you’re anti-caladium I hope you have a great week 🙂