Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The heat is on

After a couple of weeks with cool, fall-like weather, the heat turned up again last weekend.  Actually, by comparison to Monday and Tuesday, the weekend was tolerable - it was at least possible to work outside in the early morning and late afternoon.  But, on Monday, the temperature here reached 102F (39C) and, even with humidity in the single digits, it was miserable.

Despite my best intentions to hold off on any fall planting for awhile yet, I'd fallen prey to a pretty new aster, Symphyotrichum chilensis 'Purple Haze'.  I planted it only days before the heat struck.  On Sunday, even before the heat reached fever pitch, I noticed that the plant appeared to be melting under the sun's intensity.  I gave it an H
2
O
 infusion and used a broken umbrella to give it temporary shade.  It helped - I think the plant will survive.

I stuck a broken umbrella spoke into the ground on one side and staked the handle down on the other


On Monday, I didn't even venture outside until late afternoon when a fire truck appeared just down the street.  I saw the firemen speaking to a neighbor before their truck roared off, its sirens blaring.  I went outside and immediately noticed the tell-tale smell of smoke.  We live in a high fire-risk area so any sign of fire is a frightening event.

You can see the smoke in this photo taken from our front garden


As it turned out, a downed power line started the fire, 3 doors down from us behind a neighbor's home.  After some initial difficulties accessing the area, the fire was rapidly extinguished without damage to structures or life.  We joked cynically about whether our power (and air-conditioning) would be cut off next (outages are remarkably common here) and, sure enough, less than an hour later, our power shut off.  The outage was shorter than most of those we've experienced since moving here - less than an hour - and we ran our air-conditioner late into the evening.

Temperatures remained in the mid-to-upper 70s overnight and the power went out again.  I was up extra early Tuesday morning and ventured out to check the garden before the heat climbed back to stratospheric levels.  With no marine layer and a scattering of clouds, I caught the nicest sunrise I've seen in a few months, perhaps the only upside to the current heatwave.

Paraphrasing Homer, Dawn extended her rosy fingers and the color was mirrored in the water below, lighting it up.  I'm offering this as my Wednesday Vignette.  Visit Anna at Flutter & Hum for the images that grabbed the attention of other meme participants this week.


As soon as the sun was up, the temperature jumped again.  I spent yesterday darting from air- conditioned house to air-conditioned car to air-conditioned buildings and back again.  Still, Tuesday was nominally cooler than Monday and today is expected to be cooler yet.   Temperatures are forecast to be near "normal" again by the coming weekend.  I'm hoping the forecast is correct.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

20 comments:

  1. Oh what a fabulous sunrise. I' m glad to hear your power cut wasn't too long. The umbrella over the aster, that' s what I call dedication and devotion to your plants. Eccentric too, but that' s what is so endearing.

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    1. My husband and a couple of neighbors think I'm nuts but that's okay.

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  2. I am laughing so hard I'm about to fall off my chair. This is all so true. My son always comments that even in southeast Asia where he is currently working, the power is more dependable than here in Monterey Park or now it seems Palos Verdes Peninsula. I keep food and water stored under a bed.

    I love that kind of aster. I hope it works for you. I'd have masses of them if I could. That picture with the umbrella is so great.

    This current heat spell is really bothering me because the nights have been over 70 and don't seem to get cool enough for sleeping.

    Good that your fire department got the flames out so quickly. How frightening.

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    1. The power problem here is something I never expected when we moved here, Jane. We had maybe 3 outages within 10 years in our former location- I think we had that many within 6 months here.

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  3. Thank goodness the fire was put out quickly. I'm sorry it's been so hot again. That sky looks like it could melt as well.

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    1. I wondered if there was a correlation between the intensity of the sunrise and the heat - it sure seemed like it.

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  4. Nasty heat, beautiful sunrise. Good idea to shade the new plant.

    Saturday night the low here was 76F, at 3:30am. It was 80F at dawn. Monday, 74F, also at 3:30am. This morning at dawn it was a chilly 71F. I can take the daytime heat, but who can sleep at night when it is that hot?

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    1. I think you must be even warmer than we are but our nights have suddenly become uncomfortably warm as well. I don't like sleeping with the AC on but I have the same trouble you do sleeping with temps in the mid-70s. We've been compromising by running a fan at night - it helps a little but I still feel like a walking zombie.

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  5. We had our lengthiest stretch of hot days this week as well. It broke today. However , the nights were in the low 50's so mornings were very nice indeed.

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    1. I thought we'd gotten beyond the hot summer nights a few weeks ago, Kathy - until this current heatwave hit. Our forecast is for a gradual cool-down until we return to "normal" this weekend.

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  6. Ugh - another heat wave... Love the idea with the umbrella. I did the same trying to protect a Chinese Mayapple, after I took out the large shrub that shielded it. It worked alright, and now summer is over, and there is STILL nothing planted in the place of the shrub to protect it next year. Sigh... Your sunrise is quite magical, but the one thing that caught my eye is the red-flowering somethings above the hedge. Do you know what they are? They look fantastic!

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    1. That's a very large Bougainvillea. The neighbor (or rather her gardener) maintains it (sort-of). Technically, it's on our property but, since prior owners installed the hedge where they did, it's nearly impossible for us to access that area without either cutting a hole in the hedge or tromping through the neighbor's property.

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  7. So what was a welcome return to the upper 80's here, translated to much warmer for you...sorry. I do hope there are cool sleeping nights coming up soon!

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    1. Cooler weather is expected by the weekend, or so the forecasters keep saying. It's still toasty outside now.

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  8. I'd read that CA was in a heat wave again. It must be so frustrating. Brilliant use of the umbrella. With your climate, gardeners should have a broken umbrella recycling program!

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    1. I can't imagine what my neighbors will say if they see umbrellas popping up all over the garden! My husband, who seems to be particularly hard on umbrellas, also holds on to the broken ones for reasons I can't fathom but his pack-rat behavior was useful in this case.

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  9. You know, there's an abundance of umbrellas here in case you'd like some more.

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  10. But it's a dry heat! I know, that hot is really hot regardless. It shouldn't be too much longer until the heat breaks and your poor plants recover.

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    1. We've had higher humidity than usual the past couple of summers and I admit that makes the heat a lot worse but, when the temperature climbs above 90F, even the dry Santa Ana winds can't make it pleasant. The winds wick up the soil moisture too - can you tell I'm ready for this heatwave to be over?

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