I love the sky of high summer: the mountains of cumulus clouds that drift overhead like sleepy giants; the washed-out blue of the sky. It begs me to sit in the shade and read, and I succumb on many afternoons. I’m accompanied by birdsong, long flower borders, and breezes that cause my wind chimes to punctuate the air with mellow notes. Ahh…heaven.
It’s been unusually hot and dry this year. I practice tough love with my perennials—they’ve managed to limp along with minimal watering and afternoon shade. I figure if they don’t die, they’ll be stronger in the long run.
Perhaps this is good training for writing characters. Let’s say my garden phlox is the protagonist. Normally a robust and outrageous bloomer—a show-off in flashy purple or pink—she’s the princess of the garden. Enter the heat and Dastardly Drought. Conditions deteriorate. Miss Phlox is thirsty, she’s discouraged, she’s praying for her Rain-hero. Will he arrive in time to save her?
She loses weight and luster, her lower leaves turn brown. For the first time in her life, she feels ugly. At her darkest hour (about 2 pm in mid July,) she decides to buck up and be a survivor. So what if her blooms are small, her foliage limp, her knees bare? She’s gonna survive to bloom outrageously another year. Take that, old Drought! And by the time Rain-hero rides in on a west wind, he’s greeted with a saucy wink and a “What kept ya, big boy?”
Sigh. I love a happy ending.