Monday, September 7, 2020

In a Vase on Monday: Escapees from the brutal heat

Unfortunately, the weather forecasters were right last week when they predicted a miserable record-breaking heatwave.  For two days prior to the heatwave's arrival I spent early mornings and early evenings hand-watering sensitive areas of my garden.  Even so, I was still scrambling on Saturday and again early Sunday to cover areas I'd missed on my initial rounds.  As Sunday was supposed to be particularly nasty, I cut flowers for "In a Vase on Monday" early Saturday morning rather than Sunday as I normally do.  In retrospect, I only wish I'd cut everything that was in full bloom in my cutting garden.  Our temperature didn't drop overnight on Saturday - when I went to bed near midnight, it was still 100F (37.8C), down from a mid-day peak of 106F (41C), and when I got up in the morning the temperature was the same.  It quickly rose over the course of Sunday morning and got stuck on 108F (42C) for most of the day.  Other areas, like our inland valleys, had it far worse, though.  The inland valley I grew up in peaked at 121F (49.4C) on Sunday.

Luckily, on Saturday I'd cut both of the Dahlia 'Einstein' blooms in my cutting garden, as well as several Zinnia stems and selected fillers from other areas of the garden.

One of the two dahlia blooms was already a little past its prime on Saturday but there was no sense in leaving it in place to wither

Back view, featuring Zinnias

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Dahlia 'Einstein', Clematis terniflora, Coriandrum sativum, Gomphrena decumbens 'Itsy Bitsy', Melaleuca thymifolia, Polygala fruticosa, Prostanthera ovalifolia 'Variegata', and Zinnia elegans (mostly 'Benary's Giant Lilac')

The last gladiola in my cutting garden was already struggling so I cut that too and searched the garden for a few companions.  Another of my 'Bright Star' Yuccas was in full bloom and, although I wasn't sure how its stems would hold up in a vase, I cut two of those as well.

This is a photo of Yucca 'Bright Star' shortly before the heatwave began

The last stem of Gladiolus 'Vuvuzela' took center stage

Back view, featuring more Clematis stems

Top view

Clockwise from the upper left: Gladiolus 'Vuvuzela', Clematis terniflora, Yucca 'Bright Star', Liriope muscari, and Vitex trifolia purpurea

The first bloom of Dahlia 'Belle of Barmera' has been opening every so slowly in the cutting garden and I'd hoped to include it with this week's arrangements but, as of Sunday evening, it still wasn't fully open.

If it opens within the next day without shriveling in the heat, I may create another vase mid-week

The heat isn't expected to abate significantly until Tuesday and even then it'll remain above average through the balance of the week.  We haven't had a power outage thus far but our air conditioning has been running continuously.  The window shades are down throughout the house so it feels a little cave-like.  I've ventured outside several times but it isn't pleasant.

Even my cat, Pipig, who hates air conditioning, wasn't willing to stick things out lounging in her screened catio and took refuge in a corner of the living room

I hope your weather isn't as brutal!  For more IAVOM creations, visit the meme's host, Cathy at Rambling in the Garden.


My late addition:


Featuring Dahlia 'Belle of Barmera', a late arrival, and Zinnia elegans 'Queen Lime Blush'



All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party


30 comments:

  1. Ugh! Can't imagine going out in heat like that. The dahlias are gorgeous but gotta wonder who stuck that horrible name on the glad. It is raining/snowing here with heavy frost tonight so am saying good-bye to another gardening year. Boo.

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    1. It's incredible that you're seeing snow already, Elaine. A friend of mine, currently staying with her daughter in Colorado, reported that the Denver area is facing its first snowstorm of the season this week as well, despite the fact that their current temperatures are in the 90s. I'm sorry that the weather shift points to the end of your gardening year.

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  2. 106? 108? 100 at midnight? That sounds like a horror story! That's hotter than here in the Sacramento Valley! I hope you were able to stay cool inside the house.

    BTW, your bouquets look like a perfect 70°F!

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    1. The fact that we apparently got no overnight cooling on Saturday doesn't bode well for the overall health of the garden. The dahlias I didn't cut incinerated, although the Zinnias held up better. I was surprised that the dahlia bud in the early stages of opening actually made it through Monday morning relatively unscathed but smaller unopened buds burned up.

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  3. Your flowers look so fresh and beautiful that it is hard to believe they have blossomed in such intense heat. I am full of admiration for them and YOU! The watering twice a day is a mission in itself. The plants must see you coming with your watering can/hose and sigh in relief. Both vases are just delicious and lovely, and I especially love the first one with the clematis looking as fresh as a daisy! Amanda https://therunningwave.blogspot.com/2020/09/a-september-song-in-my-vase-on-monday.html

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    1. Cutting the blooms in the first two vases early Saturday morning before the heat soared into the 90s and above made a big difference, as did the deep watering I did in advance of this heatwave but I've already discovered some things, like the small dahlia buds, didn't make it through the worst of the heat. I suspect I'll discover more losses over the next week. Our lemon tree on our neglected back slope was already dropping its fruit on Sunday morning and I suspect the rest will drop before the week is out.

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  4. Gosh, it seems so stramge to hear you talking about your weather as 'brutal' - but I certainly can't conceive what it must be like to live through temperatures like thi, especially those at night-time. Does everybody have air conditioning, or is it the preserve of the better off? I especially like your 'blue vase' where the additions complement the gladiolus perfectly. The dahlia makes a good focal point for the first one and I love that shade of zinnia _ I wonder if it is available as a single colour in the UK?

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    1. Climate change has left its mark on California, leading to intermittent droughts and periodic floods, as well as more extreme heatwaves and more intense and frequent wildfires. Anecdotally, I witnessed the slowly increasing intensity of summer heat as I grew up in one of Southern California's inland valleys. By the time I was in high school, I didn't leave the house much at all when school was on break during the summer season and, even after we finished college, my husband and I avoided summer visits to the valley. We lived in beach cities, where it was cooler, but even those traditionally comfortable spaces are less so these days. We didn't have AC in our last house and most of my friends who live in that area, still don't; however, AC is considered a necessity in inland areas and even on the peninsula we live on now.

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  5. Fantastic, Kris. I looked back and you added the ‘Belle of Barmera’ Dahlia arrangement with the Zinnias ‘Queen Lime’. It is amazing that these pulled through the heat. I like all 3 arrangements! I think you have used the Gomprena ‘Itsy Bitsy’ in recent past arrangements, and I ordered Gomphrena decumbens ‘Airy Bachelor's Buttons’ from Annie’s and it should arrive on Weds. The Yucca flowers with the gladiolus is beautiful. Yucca ‘Bright Star’ with its beautiful leaf colors as well as its flowers is simply a winner. I have never had a Vitex before, and the use of it along with the Clematis is striking. I have seen your use of the Clematis terniflora many times, and have seen it on your arbor. It may also have to go on my plant list. Have a safe day! Seeing ashes throughout the yard means it is an inside day for me.

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    1. I thought 'Belle of Barmera' was a goner, Kay, and was frankly flabbergasted that it made it through Sunday's heat - the mature blooms of 'Mr Optimist' weren't as lucky. Oddly, larger dahlia buds and partially opened blooms seemed to manage the heat relatively well while more mature flowers and small buds fried.

      As far as I can tell, there's no difference between Annie's "Airy Bachelor Buttons" and what I purchased years ago as 'Itsy Bitsy'. I hope it does as well in your garden as it's done in mine.

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  6. Pigpig looks happy. I've been hearing about your terrible heat--so sorry! But your plants and flowers look fabulous in spite of it. We had a very hot, dry summer here, too--although not as hot and dry as you, but the humidity made it rough for a good portion of July and August. Now we appear to be taking a nosedive into autumn, which seems too early. It seems the weather extremes reign these day. Lovely vases, as always, Kris!

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    1. While we experience different types of climate extremes, it seems that we're all riding the climate change roller-coaster these days. Take care, Beth.

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  7. Seems like Eureka is the place to be this weekend ! Their heat wave is the high 70's. What I need is a north coast beach cottage to retreat to. Those hot nights sure bring to mind the old days when I used to hang out in Palm Springs. Your Dahlias look great !

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    1. Cutting the dahlias at the right moment, generally in advance of the worst heat, made a major difference, Kathy. I regret leaving several mature blooms of Dahlia 'Mr Optimist' in the cutting garden when I cut those of 'Einstein' - the blooms of 'Mr Optimist' were incinerated!

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  8. Those are scary temperatures Kris. I am amazed that you found anything to put into your vases. They all look so pretty. I am afraid I would melt.

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    1. This heatwave was among the most intense I've experienced since moving to this location, Lisa. Even worse was the heatwave that hit without much advance notice a few years ago, where our thermometer hit 110F and got stuck there, accompanied by Santa Ana winds - while outdoors dousing plants with water in the dark then, I felt as though I was stuck in a hair dryer with the heat and blower turned up to "high." I lost a LOT of plants that time, partly because I didn't get much deep watering in before the heat arrived.

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  9. I'd heard about the record-breaking heat on the news. Simply awful! I hope your garden isn't too badly damaged. That is brutal heat.
    I feel a bit guilty as our weather has been September-perfect the past few days, however summer temps and humidity are due to return tomorrow. Since I know what is coming in a few months, I don't mind.
    Glad you were able to make several vases this week, despite the heat. Your dahlias are esp. nice. I like 'Belle of Barmera', she's a beauty!

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    1. I probably won't know the the full extent of the damage done by the heatwave for a week, especially as it isn't entirely over. We're expecting another temperature spike along with the arrival of Santa Ana winds on Wednesday. In the cutting garden, it appears that all the small dahlia buds and a few mid-sized ones were scorched, although buds just starting to open or nearly there seem fine thus far. I've cut back most of the stems bearing buds that were clearly damaged in the hope of encouraging new stems and buds.

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  10. Hi Kris, I have been reading about the ferocious heat and fires in California. With those kinds of temperatures, it’s a wonder anything is left in your garden and you must be exhausted with all the twice a day watering. No one would guess, looking at your beautiful vases or from the green and tranquil view of your garden!

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    1. The watering wasn't as onerous as it may sound, Jane. I didn't water the whole garden on each occasion but rather deep watered several segments at a time, confining my efforts to the cooler hours early and late in the day so I didn't lose all the soil moisture to evaporation. I cut most of the flowers shown in this post before the serious heat hit us beginning in late morning on Saturday. I think the extra water helped but it's still clear I'm going to lose some plants - some already look as though they were incinerated.

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  11. Excellent flower saves Kris! Thanks for the bonus pic of Pipig.

    Our wild weather ride started yesterday with an epic windstorm that brought in the smoke from fires in Eastern OR and WA. The wind is nasty and dangerous since deciduous trees are still holding their leaves (our worst windstorms generally occur in the wintertime). We were without power last night for several hours and the garden is a mess...

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    1. We had ash falling here yesterday but I was never able to determine its source as all the "local" fires are a significant distance away - your report demonstrates how far ash and smoke can travel, however. We're expecting Santa Ana winds tomorrow. Our power is out now but we have a generator that supports part of the house, including the fridge and my computer.

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  12. Is this the end of time? The temperatures you describe are not livable. The rampant fires everywhere... smoke covers Seattle as of last night, a result of strong winds blowing it from Eastern Washington. My heart goes out to brave fire fighters, wherever they are.
    Your vases feel like a breeze and a breath of fresh air!

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    1. It feels like it some days, doesn't it! We woke to a blanket of ashes yesterday and a 4-hour power outage today. Our Santa Ana winds are expected to blow tomorrow, raising our temperatures again as well as increasing the danger of new fires and making the existing ones harder to fight.

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  13. Beautiful Dahlias and arrangements. Thinking ahead you were able to save them from the heat. We need more of that thinking ahead stuff in 2020

    Yeah, horrific. Lots of scorched plants in the garden here, but I am just super grateful the A/C did not fail and the power stayed on. It was so hot Sat-Sun I think we would have fainted without A/C.

    Whew.

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    1. We lost our power this morning for 4 hours. Fortunately, it was much cooler today than it was this weekend. After a long history of power outages here, we bought a generator the year before last but it only keeps the bare necessities like the fridge going, not the AC.

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  14. Wow - that is HOT! Thank goodness for air conditioning! I recall growing up in the 70's with only one of those window AC units in the family room. I would stand in front of it to cool off when my room got too hot - although it was nowhere near that hot. Well, your arrangement looks lovely and fresh - and I'm sure it's a welcome sight when you come in from furnace outside.

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    1. My brother, who lives in our former childhood home in that inland valley location that hit 121F on Sunday, only has a "swamp cooler" like the one you described. It didn't even hold up well against summer heat in the old days when we were in high school. My husband and I didn't have AC in our old house but that was in a beach city that seldom got truly miserable. We couldn't manage in our current location without central air.

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  15. Dear Kris, your heat must be such a strain on the nerves, especially for a gardener like you. And yet you still manage to grow such beautiful flowers and your dahlias are simply gorgeous. The pink vase is so lovely. I must admire not only your green fingers but your determination to keep your garden going in such a brutal climate. Hope the heat has declined by now. Stay cool indoors!

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    1. Thanks Cathy. The temperature did come down and, although our merciless Santa Ana winds were expected to drive temperatures back up mid-week, their effect was more modulated, at least here in the southern part of California. The return of our marine layer played a role, although the haze created by fires surrounding us may also have had an impact.

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